Creating Tools that Don't Exist' Yet!

Like many things in life, we are led by passion and chance. This is exactly how Audiokids was formed and Undertone released. Audiokids, known as Davide Favargiotti, Fabrizio Cheloni and Mattia Persico, began because as sound editors, they needed certain tools to be able to do their job better, only they didn’t exist.   


Davide Favargiotti, Sound Editor and Designer for Undertone, known for his work on Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Call Me by Your Name, Swallows and Amazons and Military Wives amongst others cut his teeth on short films, advertising and indie films whilst working in Torino Rome. “I moved to Rome 15 years ago and I had the pleasure and luck to start working with some experienced and talented editors and mixers that really inspired me and showed me the art and craft of sound for moving pictures.”


Favargiotti has had the pleasure to work on some exciting projects in the last couple of years. “I’ve been working on Luca Guadagnino’s projects since ‘A Bigger Splash’. I worked on all his major work since then (including the stunning ‘Call Me By Your Name’), and his new project is coming up in the next months. One crazy and fun project I worked on is ‘Bandersnatch’, the interactive film in the Black Mirror universe, written by series creator Charlie Brooker and directed by David Slade. Another completely different film I worked on that I really liked is Kenneth Branagh’s ‘All Is True’. Over the years I had the pleasure to establish a network of sound professionals (and friends) all over Europe and I’ve been lucky to work with them in London, Paris and Berlin.”


Fabrizio Cheloni, Re-Recording Mixer and Coding and Design for Undertone, known for his work on Medici, The Kings Musketeers and Piranhas has always fascinated by telling a story using sounds and music. He graduated from Roberto Rossellini (state institute for cinematography and television,) as a sound technician and went on to specialise in audio post-production.  Having met Davide (thanks to Mattia) he has worked tirelessly to bring Undertone to life.


Mattia Persico, Sound Editor and Coding and Graphic Design for Undertone, known for his work on Shadows, Romulus, The New King and The New Pope began his career at InHouse Post and has since gone on to join Invader Studios an Italian video game company as sound designer.  


Undertone is Audiokids flagship plugin. Undertone is a fill and texture generator, a drone machine, a background creation tool, a sound design toolbox and much more.

It is based on granular (and convolution) synthesis and (controlled) randomisation. After a sound (as short as 300 ms and up to 30 seconds) is loaded in Undertone, the sound can be extended indefinitely while preserving all the textures of the original sound, but with tiny variations to avoid loops or repetitions. It is the perfect tool to create fills for dialogue editing.


“Undertone began its life just as that: a very good and easy-to-use fill creation tool. I have been using this kind of fill creation workflow for years before developing Undertone. It started as a patch on Symbolic Sound Kyma and then as a complex chain of plugins inside Pro Tools. Undertone is much better and faster to use than any of that said Favargiotti.”


While playing with early builds of Undertone, they realised that they could use it for much more than just fills. “The advanced mode (Multi Mode) is where all the possibilities of Undertone really come to life. In Multi Mode, multiple sound samples are randomly selected as the source of the granular synth, each with its own settings of level, pitch, reverse, granular size. It can be used to add variations (or random noises) to a fill. Or to create ever changing elements for backgrounds and fx, as a very powerful drone generator and much more.”


Undertone was launched in September 2020, and so far the feedback has been incredible! “The feedback that our users gave us is awesome. As we develop it further we hope to make Undertone better, easier to use and even more powerful.” Audiokids has just released a free update that adds some powerful features, including panning control for each grain: it is now possible to control and create complex sound on multichannel tracks with complete spatial control of the sound sources.


Some key features of Undertone include the easy use of speed. “This is something that we felt we needed and we’re trying to improve on each release. With a compressed schedule, we felt that Undertone should be straightforward to use and fast: just a few clicks can lend to very believable backgrounds that seamlessly match the original sound.”  Thanks to the algorithm, the sound generated is very natural, believable and never static (unless you want it to be!), as nature and real life are always changing and evolving. Audiokids wanted to create a playground to let users explore and generate ever changing sounds, from simple (or complex) source material, to be used as building blocks in their creative work. “We’re committed to expanding Undertone’s feature set: we have some really exciting features coming in the next months that will totally (and we mean it!) change the way Undertone can be used. And our wonderful community of users is always coming up with small and big improvements that we’re trying to implement as soon as possible.”


Audiokids also have other new software being worked on, and they hope to release another new plugin soon. The company’s philosophy is to create products that sound editors/mixers/geeks want in daily work, trying to imagine the creative tools that don't exist yet but are desperately needed.