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Radium Audio Ltd Designs Sounds for Harry Potter on EA Games

Insight into how Radium Audio Ltd created the sounds for the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince microsite.

When designing sounds for a high profile brand and popular entertainment star such as Harry Potter, its important to keep the sound elements as magical as possible.

This means using all the tricks in the book to gather as much source material and elements to make the world sound rich, interesting and of course exceptional.

Our involvement was to create the sound design for the new teaser website Harry Potter EA Site. Our task was to make all the elements on the teaser site work within the world that it is set. In this case its an imaginary potion room at Hogwarts, full of spells, a bubbling cauldron, roll overs, hidden easter eggs. Originally, the clip shows a small mouse who when disturbed runs from behind one of the many bottles within the room, however this mouse is now missing from the final site. - to listen to the Mouse

When we create sound for an imaginary world we look to keep the world as organic sounding as possible, this means that the material that we use to create each of the objects within the project, website, game trailer, or world sound interesting enough to be a bubbling cauldron, a spell, or a mouse for example. No matter how imaginary these elements are we always strive to create a realistic world.

We do this by recording real world objects, with different types of microphones, such as contact microphones which record, amplify and pick up the vibration of an object. The name contact comes from actually placing the microphone in contact with an object such as water pipes, washing machines, glass surface. The sound you can record from these objects are very details and very close.

Some of the larger sounds in the world, such as the bubbling cauldron and the potion room ambience are created by layering different sounds to create a detailed, spacious and active sound design layer which accompanies the cauldron and sets the scene within the website.

The cauldron is made up of lots of layered sounds, such as aqua lungs, lava flow, and a Jacuzzi recorded underwater. This again layered with bubbling thick soup, and wall paper paste being made to pop, by blowing bubbles through a tube.

The atmosphere of the potion room is created through using atmos tracks from various caves, old windy houses, and again rumbling from a contact microphone recording of the boiler at our old studio.

We created the mouse scurrying buy using spider monkey squeaks pitched, and the claws were from false nails on hard ceramic surfaces. We used tall glasses from Ikea to produce the sound of the bottles clanking and layered this with volume and reverb automation to produce the effect of the mouse scurrying away from location.

All in all a great project and fine execution of good sound design, which was approved by Warner Brothers, and our client Collective.

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