FNE Film Meets Games: Q&A with Georgian Sound Designer Betkho

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    credit: Saniday credit: Saniday Betkho

    TBILISI: FNE spoke to Georgian sound designer Betkho about his experience and activities in the gaming and film industry. Betkho is the founder of Heima Production and works on the sound design of films, as well as games.

    Central and Eastern Europe is one of the most important locations for global games developers and studios, and artists in the region are increasingly working for both film and games. FNE looks at how these two sectors of the entertainment industry are converging and why this trend is important for the future development of both.

    FNE: When did you get into the gaming industry and start working as a sound designer?

    Betkho: I have been into video games since early childhood. It all started with DOS-games and I have always thought it would be cool to have something like that made in Georgia, so that I would be a part of it in terms of sound design and music.

    Even though I had been in the field of sound engineering, producing and music for quite some time, I did not have any experience working on video games because they simply were not produced here.

    My first ever video game was Smubble, which was created for the TBC Bank by Leavingstone, a Georgian advertising agency. Later on, I have been contacted by Lemondo Games, which commissioned me music and sound design for a multiple level game. This was a very interesting and exciting process because working on this type of game was the first ever experience not only for me, but for the creators of the game, too. I think we tackled the challenge pretty well.

    The name of the game was Turtlecopter.

    The music is available HERE.

    This is how it all started.

    FNE: What are the main activities of Heima Production regarding the convergence of film and games? What can you tell us about the relationship between the gaming industry and the film in your experience?

    Betkho: Heima Production represent a relatively new company where the biggest love of ours is the ambition to create unique sounds and music for all kinds of content be it films, games or commercials. Currently, we have been collaborating with one company that is creating small-scale games.

    We look forward to working with Georgian game developers that are creating big games. This is my personal desire.

    Judging from my experience, I can say that films and games have a lot in common. For example, both of these media should tell some story using actions, sounds and music. Both films and games are supposed to transfer us into totally different universes.

    I have created music for films and TV-shows, and I cannot say that the process of creating music for films was different from when I was working on video games. The process is especially pleasant when you love what you do and you do your best to take into account even minor details, and when you dedicate your whole self to the creation process.

    FNE: You also won an international competition in sound design for one of the Georgian games - Silver in Sound Design & Use of Music for Games 2020 at the Indigo Awards, in the Game Design of the Year 2020 category. Tell us about the project and the competition.

    Betkho: Medulla was one of the most interesting projects I have worked on. We worked on the project from three to four years. Beautiful illustrations and mystical atmosphere provided all the necessary opportunities to go beyond and to create ambience and music of the kind you rarely get to hear in the games of this sort. 

    As for the contest, I did not participate in the contest myself but surely, the fact that my music and sounds have been spot on and appreciated by other people which led us to winning the prize was extremely important to me.

    FNE: What is the situation in Georgia in terms of teaching sound design in Georgia?

    Betkho: This profession attracts more and more interest and there are now places you could master this profession.

    FNE: You also have the Tbilisi Retro Gaming event, where retro games are presented.

    Betkho: This was fun to hear. I have been collecting retro-consoles for quite some time. Around 2018 I decided to start organising retro-gaming events together with a friend. I wanted people to come and play all the games that reminded them of their childhood. We had consoles that were not available in Georgia in the 90s, and people were just amazed that we had them.

    Unfortunately, the global pandemic forced us to pause the activities, but we have been constantly thinking of renewing the events. Tbilisi Retro Gaming had its own independent events sometimes at thematic venues or bars or at various festivals, parties and larger entertainment events. 

    FNE: What can you tell us about the current state of the gaming industry in Georgia?

    Betkho: I know that a lot of young people are keen to create video games. One can encounter them at Georgian Game Industry meetings, where some of their games could as well be tested. High quality, large-scale games require a lot of resources: finances, time and a good team. I hope we will soon be able to witness something very interesting in this field.

    FNE: How do you see the development of the relationship between the film and gaming industries?

    Betkho: I think these two spheres have intersected with each other long ago. Today’s “kill” mushrooms or save princesses. Modern-day games have multiple layers with lots of stuff going on at the same time. The music and the sounds are brought up to the level where you sometimes think you are watching a Hollywood blockbuster.

    Read 569 times Last modified on 23-06-2022