Today we chat with Watson Wu, a professional sound designer and sound effects recording artist who has worked for big names in the film, TV and video game industries. He’s also a big fan of Pro Gaff® – let’s find out why!
Hey Watson, thanks for talking with us today! You share all kinds of amazing projects on your social media. Do you have any links you’d like to share with our audience?
My website: watsonwu.com
Facebook: Watson Wu
LinkedIn: Watson Wu
What do you do as a sound designer? What are you passionate about?
Companies and other sound designers in the video game, film, and TV industries hire me to either design sound effects or record hard-to-get sound effects for their products.
Most of my requests involve capturing extremely LOUD sounds such as race cars, live firing of weapons, explosions, etc. extreme items.
I’m a recording and recording gear addict. Testing out certain microphones, recorders, audio plugins, etc are essential for my work.
How did you get into professional sound design?
I went to both Miami-Dade College and Florida International University for Music Education with a heavy concentration in Music Composition.
While writing music for a video game one day, my client asked if I could also design sound effects for their game. I gave it a shot and the client really liked the results!
Because sound effect libraries (where you can download sound effects to use in projects) back then were very limited, I decided to record my own for better performed sounds and at much higher fidelity. I had already owned various microphones and portable field recorders, so the transition was seamless.
What have been some highlights of your sound design career so far?
Some of my career highlights as a sound designer include working on prominent projects such as Call of Duty Modern Warfare, RIGS, Transformers, to Pennzoil and Mercedes-AMG commercials.
I consider these highlights personally because “sound” was in the foreground of each of these projects, rather than a detail forgotten in the background.
Other highlights include being invited as a guest speaker for Sega, EA (Electronic Arts), Clemson University, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and MIGS (Montreal International Games Summit).
Which Pro Tapes® products do you use in your sound design work?
I mostly use Pro Gaff® gaffer tape. It’s able to secure my microphones and microphone cables on speedy race cars going well over 150mph. Moreover, Pro Gaff® can be removed without damaging expensive paint from vehicles of all types. There is nothing better than Pro Gaff®!
I also use Pro® Spike Tape (which comes in several bright colors) to label the end of cables with what brand and model the microphone is and what recording channel to plug it into. This is quite useful when all the cables are the same black color, LOL!
Are there any memorable sound design projects where Pro Gaff® made a big difference?
When I was hired to fly into Vancouver to record a high-end Mercedes-AMG e63S car. Stunt sounds were needed to present the extremeness that the AMG car can handle. I knew I had to use Pro Gaff®. There was so much tire and brake smoke from drifting, cornering, and other maneuvers, but the Pro Gaff® never fell off, keeping my mics and mic cables secured on the car!
One other memorable project was for the video game, Planet Coaster. I was hired to record various roller coaster sounds. Frontier Developments wanted to capture sounds that would fit a 1st person (rider’s perspective) and 3rd person perspective. Pro Gaff® was definitely needed to secure mics and mic cables on the rides, especially the fast-spinning ones!
What advice would you share for other sound designers on how to use Pro Tapes® products to enhance their work?
Think of how orchestras do many rehearsals before a concert. Try applying Pro Tapes® adhesive tape products on various mics and mic cables, and see how well the items stay on the subject. Remember, safety is number one!
Thanks for your time Watson! Do you have any exciting plans for the near future that you can share with us?
I recently recorded another fast and LOUD race car for a game. It was comical how much tape I had to apply on the car’s side to capture exhaust sounds! I’ll be sure to share more when the game releases.
Again, safety is number one, so always use more Pro Gaff® tape!!