MUSIC+SOUND AWARDS TALK TO...
CEO + Founder
Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Krotos develops innovative technologies that fundamentally improve the way sound is made and performed.
Krotos’ flagship software, Dehumaniser, is a unique sound design tool that produces studio quality monster and creature sounds in real-time. Dehumaniser wowed Hollywood and the video games industry when it was used to create creature sounds in blockbusters like Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Jungle Book, Far Cry 4 and Doom.
Reformer then made it possible for game audio professionals to perform a library of sound effects in real-time. Paula Fairfield, sound designer on Game of Thrones said Reformer is “insanely awesome”, and told Vanity Fair that when designing the Game of Thrones’ dragons, “she wasn’t sure how she would have done all this if Reformer hadn’t been released”.
Also in 2017, fuelled by accolades from its growing customer base, Krotos acquired funding from games industry luminary Leslie Benzies, assembling a world-class team of developers.
2018 marked the release of Weaponiser, offering the ability to import, customise and layer weapon sounds more easily, efficiently and creatively - all from within one plug-in; and at the start of 2019, Igniter was released, allowing users to create any real-world or sci-fi vehicle and engine sound effects with ease.
Now the company is entering its next phase with a remarkable line of new products and a re-defined vision for the future.
Let’s hear from CEO and Krotos founder, Orfeas Boteas…
Can you tell us a bit about your background in sound and what led to you founding Krotos?
My first degree was a BSc in Music Technology and Acoustics. After my graduation, I worked for a few years in Athens doing audio post-production, on location recordings for commercials, documentaries, TV-shows and short films. Additionally, I did music composition for commercials.
I decided that I wanted to do something more creative and get involved more in the game and film Industry. I moved to Scotland in 2011 to study an MSc in Sound Design at the University of Edinburgh while doing some freelance projects.
For my final project, I developed a vocal processor for making monster and creature sounds called Dehumaniser. After posting a video demonstration online, sound designers started showing great interest in the project, so I put it on my webpage for free download. Afterwards, I started receiving e-mails from recognised professionals in the industry that used the software for several films and games all over the world. I was excited about the response and after getting such positive feedback from all these professionals, I started working part-time on the commercial version while doing other freelance work. When Dehumaniser Pro was ready, I incorporated Krotos ltd and after a successful release I decided to do that full time.
Can you give us the low-down on Krotos’ software offerings and tell our readers how it can help in their work process?
Krotos develops innovative technologies that aim to fundamentally improve the way sound is designed and performed. Our products take a complex creative process and simplify it, allowing users to design and customise what they have in their mind faster and in a performable way.
Our flagship vocal processing software, Dehumaniser, was first released back in 2013 and is a powerful, flexible sound design tool that puts all the resources you need to create a wide range of complex and dynamic vocal effects into one plugin.
Our second product, Reformer Pro, makes it possible to perform any library of sound effects in real-time and delivers the authenticity of real sounds without hours of editing and layering. For example, if a film needs the sound of a wild bear doing multiple expressions, that would traditionally require hours of bear sounds, editing each until they fit the visuals perfectly. Using Reformer, it can be done instantly by performing our Animals Bundle in real-time with your voice or any other live input. The same applies to more complex sound design like electronic effects, water, surfaces, rocks and foley, and if you are a musician you might want to use your microphone, guitar, keyboard or controller to trigger any of your own sounds. You can also throw multiple sounds from your own library into our Analysis Tool (which is included with Reformer Pro) and perform them in real time. The software also allows you to perform impacts and add extra definition using our unique Transient Engine. It’s an exciting and new way of working with sound.
As the name suggests, Weaponiser also makes it easier to improve customisation, variation and ease of use when creating and layering weapon sounds. There are some great commercial weapon libraries on the market, but you usually have to edit them and it takes a lot of time to create variations. Weaponiser is also great if you want to create a unique sound and avoid replicating other sounds professionals have used already. These functions make Weaponiser a very unique piece of software which is what was missing from the industry.
Also for use with Weaponiser is our Battle Bundle, which was designed in partnership with Red Libraries and renowned sound designer Stephan Schutze and was a lot of fun to make! It’s one of the most comprehensive libraries of combat-related sounds ever recorded for TV, film and video games, and features a staggering 5854 high-quality combat sounds - from sword attacks and rapiers to chainmail, shields, metal, hand-to-hand combat, body falls and impacts, plus much more.
You recently released Igniter and The Sound Design Bundle 2. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Yes we did and we’ve been humbled by the response we’ve received so far! Vehicle sound design is often very complex, with many layers of different sounds creating the overall sound you hear. These layers change continuously based on what the vehicle is doing and where you are positioned, relative to it. Given that audio professionals are always looking to improve their workflow, Igniter aims to make the process more elegant and creative, empowering them to perform, automate and customise any vehicle sound they need whilst saving them hours of editing. It’s also the only solution of its kind to come jam-packed with over 20 performable vehicles and 1,943 audio assets from vehicles including Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche, Tesla, Harley Davidson, Huey UH-1H, Agusta Westland 'Apache’, CH-47D Chinook, Bombardier Challenger, Cessna 560XL and much more. Recordings come from Watson Wu, The Recordist, Sounding Sweet, Georgle Vlad, Echo Peak and Flysound.
We also wanted to give people the opportunity to buy all of our software and main libraries or upgrade at a discounted price, so we introduced The Sound Design Bundle 2 at 30% off, making it the most powerful sound design solution available at great value.
What productions has your software been used on?
Our software has been used on many great productions, spanning both the film and TV industries as well as the games industry. TV and film productions such as Game of Thrones, Stranger Things 2, Alita Battle Angel, Maniac, Future Man, and The Jungle Book have used Krotos products for their sound design needs and have also been used in a wide range of major games such as Killer Instinct and Far Cry 4.
Being an innovator in the audio industry, how do you see the technology evolving in the future?
AI, Machine learning, AR, VR and MR are the main areas of technological growth that we see now and that will grow significantly in the next decade. Being able to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for music, sound creation and manipulation can transform the industry.
From new musical instruments to DAWs, acoustic simulations and everything in between, we will see a transformation of the industry with significant automations and workflow improvements. 5G will remove the need to store data locally which means that you will be able to stream software from a supercomputer using a mobile device. This can transform software allowing more flexibility and power. We will start seeing more people moving away from hardware to software and an increase in portability. Some sound designers working on a film or game currently only use a laptop and headphones. The next step might be moving away from the laptop to a headset and our voice and gestures to interact with the new realities.
Smart Assistants are already changing the way we interact with devices using audio and this will also grow significantly, offering more opportunity for voice and sound as a form of interaction.
Find out more about Krotos by visiting their website and downloading free, 10 day demos of all of their products: www.krotosaudio.com