Matt Jacobson, also known as MJ, is a sound designer who was born in San Francisco and raised in Palo Alto, California. His love of sound design began when he first heard the lightsaber sound in Star Wars, attributing Ben Burtt as a huge role model for his work. He started experimenting with sounds and timbre using his tuba in his undergrad at Northwestern University in Chicago Illinois; he graduated with a degree in music performance for tuba and an ad hoc degree in sound design and technology in 2012. He moved back home to San Francisco to attend a sound and music production studio called Pyramind Studios where he discovered his love of post production and surround sound mixing and recently completed the Vancouver Film School's Sound Design for Media program. He has six years of self-taught Pro Tools experience in addition to the Avid Pro Tools Post and Music Production Expert Certificates. He has experience with the vast majority of audio production jobs, from Boom Operating to Foley Recording; from Music Supervising to Dialogue Mixing. He is proficient in post-production editing with Pro Tools 11 HD and mixing using the D-Command and Control 24 control surfaces in professional theater environments. He has also mastered the middleware programs Wwise and FMOD for game sound implementation with knowledgeable experience of Unity and Unreal integration, as well as a basic understanding of audio scripting.
Inspirational Sound Designers
Ben Burtt, Walter Murch, Frank Warner, Skip Lievsay, Richard King, David Farmer, Randy Thom, Gary Rydstrom
The Lightsaber from Star Wars
The BB-8 Droid, also from Star Wars, is a close second. They used actual human speech and inflection re-recorded into a talk box
I also love the screech of the Nazgûl and their Fell Beasts from Lord of the Rings. It turns out this was the manipulation of two ordinary plastic cups grinding against each other coupled with the screaming of the director's wife!
I love Altiverb, especially the ability to record and design different impulse responses.
I'm also a big fan of Futzbox (McDSP), UA Teletronix LA-2A, NI's Reaktor (particularly Whoosh), and the classic TCE/X-form and pitch shifting plugins.
My favorite microphones to use are the Neumann U87 for dialogue, the KMR 81 for Foley or SFX, and the Rode NT4 microphone for stereo recordings. For field recording devices, I use Sound Devices 722 and also have a soft spot for my little portable Zoom H4n that I carry with me at all times...because you never know when a great sound will suddenly manifest!
“Mixing is a performance. You sit down at the console, alert, playing the parts in the picture, catering to the emotion and feel of the visual, giving it life. You're a robot, you're a door, you're a laser gun...and you get into it. You should be sweating and breathing hard when it's over with.”
Ben Burtt and his lightsaber sound from Star Wars was the very first time I had ever marveled at an instance of sound design, where the sound was noticed cognitively instead of unconsciously. The very second I had heard that unique lightsaber *shhhwoom* or *bihhhzzouwh* I searched for how the sound was made: “a combination of the hum of idling interlock motors in aged movie projectors and the interference caused by a television set on a shieldless microphone.” I was captivated with the thought process regarding the genesis of that sound. Little did I know how deep that rabbit hole goes! Music and sound effects in video games and movies have the unique power to emotionally move people. I’m enamored with the idea of psychoacoustics and music psychology, or the study of the way people perceive sounds and music on a psychological level. Seriously, the next time you watch a horror movie, just turn your audio off; the movie becomes innocuous. My biggest ambition in life is to change the world with sound.
I excel at post production editing and mixing with emphasis on thoughtful sound design and implementation coupled with a proficient grasp of composition, performance (brass), field recording, Foley, and ADR in both linear and non-linear forms of media in addition to a comprehensive academic background in sound. I am a certified Pro Tools expert and also have extensive knowledge in programs such as Logic Pro, Unity, Unreal, Wwise, FMOD, Finale/Sibelius, and Reason. I am knowledgeable in synthesis techniques using Kyma, Kontakt, and Max. My favorite process is to record crazy sounds everywhere I go and implement them, letting the sound guide the picture instead of the other way around. My favorite sound besides the iconic lightsaber would have to be the disgusting squelching sound of running your hands through pumpkin guts or mac n’ cheese: absolutely perfect for mud or zombies, I love it!
Full Credits List:
Kodos (2016, Student Game) - Audio Supervisor, Lead Sound designer, Sound Implementer
Roboseum (2016, Student Game) - Lead Sound Designer, SFX Editor
Game Audio Institute (2014) - Featured Sound Designer for Dynamic Music Implementation
Gempacked! (2013) - Associate Sound Designer (uncredited)
Bella Ciao! (2017, Drama Full Feature) - Dialogue Editor
Carpe DM Ep. 5 (2017, Podcast) - Dialogue Editor
The Sounds of Healing (2016, Documentary Feature) - Production Sound Mixer (Set 2)
Brenda the Exterminator Part 11 (2016, Student Film) - Re-Recording Mixer - Dialogue, Music Supervisor, Foley Artist
The Job Part 1 (2016, Student Film) - Re-Recording Mixer - SFX, Music Editor, Foley Recordist
Dr. Voodoo Part 11 (2016, Student Film) - Dialogue Editor, SFX Editor, Foley Editor, Production Sound Mixer, Boom Operator
Dr. Voodoo Pilot (2016, Student Film) - Production Sound Mixer, Boom Operator
Monster Music Factory (2016, Television) - Sound Designer, Re-Recording Mixer - All, Dialogue Editor, SFX Editor
Sense8 (2015, Television) - Actor, Intro Credits
MC Scammer (2014, Short Film) - Re-Recording Mixer - All, Dialogue Editor, SFX Editor
Kodos - Audio Supervisor and Lead Sound Designer (2016)
I was the lead sound designer, sound implementer, and sound supervisor for the game Kodos in a game audio collaboration at Vancouver Film School's Game Design department. I successfully administered all audio assets to be used in the game using the middleware program Wwise. I implemented over 900 voice over assets with varying degrees of playback controlled by RTPC parameters. I also managed a small four person audio team and delegated tasks on a bi-weekly basis, effectively communicating between the game designers and other audio colleagues. The collaboration was not for credit on his part and was entirely voluntary on top of a busy school schedule.
Hispanic Information Television Network - Monster Music Factory Series (2016)
I edited and mixed VO and SFX for five short educational videos for the Hispanic International Television Network (HITN), teaching hispanic children arithmetic, counting, and basic math skills in a fun and energetic way. Check it out!
MC Scammer (2015)
I edited and mixed MC Scammer, a comedic movie short about the woes of getting scammed. It premiered at the Hawaii Short Film Festival (HSFF) in the summer of 2015.
Not a sound gig, but actually a short acting opportunity. My friend that does photography stills for the Watchowskis asked me to do a fun project regarding a series of shorts for the Netflix original series titled Sense8. I was put on camera for a few hours as I shared an ice cream cone with a fellow friend...little did I know it would be in the opening credits of something pretty big! It was pretty awesome to get my "2 seconds of fame," so to speak!
Game Audio Institute - Featured (2014)
I was featured in a collection of students in the Game Audio Institute, a program dedicated to educate a new generation of game audio professionals. My Angry Bots level dubbed "Furious Bots" highlights the adaptive nature of layering music via means of aural intensity.