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How a piano was beaten and broken to create Halo Infinite’s sound effects

Piano lovers may want to avert their eyes for this one. To create sound effects for the upcoming Halo Infinite, the 343 Industries team used a piano. They didn’t, however, just play the piano. Instead, they drill into it, snap its wires, and stamp dry ice into it. By the end of the video, the piano is in pieces. On the plus side, the team creates some incredibly unique sound effects while destroying the instrument.

Yesterday, our Brendan Lowry covered an in-depth look into how 343 Industries created music and sound effects for Halo Infinite. Details about the game’s audio come from a lengthy Inside Infinite article. Within that article is the video of the 343 audio team pounding the piano.

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The article outlines how the team created and captured sounds from the piano:

While we are the subject of recording, not too long ago a good friend of mine was needing to get rid of an old upright piano so I gladly offered to take it off her hands. This was something I had been eager to do for some time, taking inspiration from the likes of John Cage’s prepared piano with finding ways to interact the instrument with various objects. This session allowed us to really experiment with a lot of different tools and gain a wide palate of material. We used 11 microphones on this day, along with some contact mics attached to various parts of the piano. Having all these different mics and locations really opened up many different sounds that the piano made while we were torturing it.

At different points in the video, the audio team places a subwoofer inside the piano, hits the piano with bats, golf clubs, and hammers, and snaps its strings. They even take dry ice run it along the piano’s wires to create screeching, sizzling, and more.

While sounds can be digitized, this throwback approach is also common for audio experts. It’s reminiscent of old-time radio broadcasts in which people had to create analog audio using all sorts of contraptions.

Halo Infinite is expected to launch in Fall 2021 on the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One consoles. It will also launch on Windows 10 PCs. Multiplayer for the game will be free to play, but the full game will likely cost $60. If it lives up to the hype, it should be among the best Xbox One shooters.

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Halo Infinite is sure to be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. We just can’t be sure when we’ll be seeing it all.

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This post was written by Sean Endicott and was first posted to WindowsCentral

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