QD & ME – AURÉLIEN BAGUERRE – LEAD AUDIO
QD: Please introduce yourself! What’s your name, where are you from, and what is your role at QD?
Hello, my name is Aurélien Baguerre, I’m the Lead Audio at Quantic Dream. I was born in eastern France, but I’ve also lived 20 years in the south and 8 years in Canada. I’m in charge of everything that has to do with sound in our projects.
QD: How did you come to work in the video games industry? Was it a lifelong dream, or did you luckily stumble into it?
I really fell into the video game industry by chance, about 20 years ago. I was working in the music industry at the time, and through an acquaintance I was offered to work on a video game for Ubisoft, Beyond Good & Evil. It was archaic, everything was rudimentary, digital audio technology was in its infancy. The profession of Sound Designer was very unknown and there were only a few of us. We had to be very creative, even in our processes and methods, because everything was long and tedious. Since then, I’ve never left the video game industry and I’ve seen my job and the tools evolve and change, which is quite exciting.
QD: Let’s talk about your job at Quantic Dream! Could you elaborate more on your role, and the role of your team?
My role is to make sure that the sound production and post-production go well during our projects, it’s a pretty broad mandate that touches on sound effects, mixing, software or hardware infrastructures, as well as briefing and exchanging with the composers, etc. It’s of course teamwork, each one has his strengths in one field or another, which makes us complement each other very well. There’s also the whole aspect of motion capture shootings where we take care of the live sound capture. When I arrived at Quantic Dream in 2015, I had already worked on several Assassin’s Creed and other open world projects, where the approach and sound work is more “systemic”, whereas on Detroit: Become Human, each action or animation is scripted and realised in motion capture by actors, which implies that each sound is almost unique, with a very precise placement. This is, in my opinion, a craft approach to sound design where it is more difficult to quickly create multiple versions of the same sound effect.
QD: Tell us more about the members of your team. Any fun story to share?
There are currently 3 of us in the team: I work with two sound designers (Alexis and Xavier), but during the more demanding periods of production, the team can be temporarily larger, if necessary, like on Detroit: Become Human where we were seven for the project.
QD: Can you describe to us a typical day for you? Does a typical day even exist for you?
There is no real typical day, you can do sound effects sessions as well as sound recording on the motion capture set, mixing or technical documentation, or installation. Or even attending recordings for music in the studio. It’s really different every day, that’s what’s interesting, there’s little to no routine in our job.
QD: What are your external inspirations that are reflected in your job?
I think so, maybe even without being conscious of it; I take a lot of inspiration from cinema in my work, its methods, certain artistic choices for the mixing, sometimes voluntarily by being really inspired by what I hear in a film and sometimes unconsciously. I sometimes apply to my work some specific mixing techniques I’ve heard or noticed in a film. Some of Edward Zwick‘s films like Glory or The Last Samurai, come to my mind for their sound and musical approaches, or Guillermo Del Toro for his fantastic worlds. I’m also a fan of M. Night Shyamalan‘s films, especially Lady in the Water, which I find very poetic and with an incredible soundtrack by James Newton Howard, whom I admire a lot. As for sound design, I’m of course a big fan of Ben Burt (Star Wars, Wall-E, Jurassic Parc…), who remains one of the great pioneers in this field! Steven Spielberg‘s films as well, like Saving Private Ryan, or Super 8 by J.J. Abrams, are very good sound references.
QD: Be careful, BIG question… What are your favourite games?
It’s hard to answer this question precisely; I can like the soundtrack or the visual treatment of a game without being a fan of the gameplay, but I have a few games that have marked me. Older games like Myst and ICO, more recent games like the Uncharted series or Unravel 1 & 2 that I find very poetic.
QD: Tell us more about your hobbies outside of work.
I am passionate about astrophotography. I practice astronomical observation since my teenage years, and I switched to astrophotography a few years ago. It’s very demanding, we spend nights taking pictures and many evenings enhancing the images. For some time now I have been using Remote Imaging technology which allows me to remotely control a telescope in Chile or Spain, to practice astrophoto in better conditions, without light pollution or capricious weather. It also allows me to have access to professional and well-tuned equipment for deep sky photography, especially of distant objects that are difficult to access with “more affordable” equipment. Here are two of my shots: the Rosette Nebula and the Eagle Nebula.
QD: All right! What does your perfect Friday night look like?
Having a drink and barbecue in the garden with my kids and spending the evening watching the sky!
QD: Do you have a message for our readers?
Don’t turn the volume off when you play! (please ^^)
QD: Final question! Chocolate cake or Fruit pie?
I’d pick the fruit pie, but I would like to have some chocolate cake if there’s any left…