Sound Designer Glenn Ricci Trusts Audio Meter to Check Loudness Levels For Popular Haunted House's Sound Effects
As Glenn Ricci, the sound effects designer for ScareHouse, named by the Travel Channel as one of the top five haunts in the country, will tell you, sound is just as important as the visual element when it comes creating a convincingly eerie, skin-crawling atmosphere. Helping him raise the hackles of ScareHouse attendees is the TM3 TouchMonitor from RTW.
Located in a supposedly haunted former Elk's Club lodge in Pittsburgh, ScareHouse treats visitors to Hollywood-quality sets, characters and special effects that lend a high degree of realism (and terror). Its primary attractions include an entire haunted town, a demented anti-Santa, an alternate, zombified replica of Pittsburgh and a very nefarious basement. Human actors portray ghosts, zombies, ghouls and other evil night dwellers, sometimes grabbing at visitors for an especially authentic fright. The scares just wouldn't be the same, however, without foreboding music, evil-sounding cackles and similar soundscapes setting the mood. Because of the importance these sound effects play, Ricci must ensure that the soundscapes he creates are smooth and the audio is on the level.
"I draw from a lot of different elements when I'm creating something for the show, so it's important to even out the loudness levels for each source to make it sound cohesive," Ricci said. "I might record or mix something using my own compositions, stuff from different sound libraries or even canned music, so I want to deliver a very smooth end product without uneven loudness in the final mix. I don't want to worry about someone hitting play and not hearing the sound because it's not as loud as the last thing they played. RTW's TM3 really gives me the peace of mind of knowing everything is crisp, clear and even."
Controlled using a touch-sensitive display, the TM3 features a 4.3-inch touchscreen and a stylish exterior allowing for horizontal and vertical placement. It includes a large number of graphical and numerical instruments showing single-channel along with summing-loudness bargraphs, PPM, true peak, SPL, loudness range (LRA), dialnorm and correlation. It handles analog or digital stereo signals and features a user interface allowing the selection of up to 10 presets quickly and simply with the swipe of a finger.
The TM3 also offers Ricci a way to ensure consistent loudness across the various software programs he uses. "What I like about having it here is that I never have to worry about what software program I'm using. I use a lot of software programs, such as Logic Pro and Abelton Live for some composition, and they all have different meters in them, so having one consistent meter that lives outside of it all is really helpful. It means I don't have to check of the meters from a separate plug-in, which saves me time."
"We love that RTW's TM3 meter has not only helped improve Glenn's workflow, but that it being used to smooth the sound for such an interesting project," said Christopher Spahr, U.S. director of sales and operations, RTW. "His work for ScareHouse is a great example of how the TM3, along with the entire line of TouchMonitors, can be used outside of a traditional broadcast setting, lending a hand to sound engineers working on their mixes in post-production. It's really a win-win for everyone involved."