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Subsign Spotlight #130: George Vlad.

Today we put the spotlight on George Vlad – award winning sound recordist, audio director and expedition leader.

Subsign: First, can you tell us a few things about yourself?

George: I’m George Vlad and I work with sounds (and other media but mostly sounds). I have around 15 years of experience working on games, films, documentaries, audiobooks etc. In the studio I compose music and design audio, and in the field I organise expeditions and record the sounds of nature and wildlife. I’ve worked on blockbuster films (Dune Part 2, Mufasa the Lion King), video games (Horizon Forbidden West, Wordscapes) and many other projects. I’ve been nominated for a Bafta and my recordings have been heard in Planet Earth III, House of the Dragon, Fire of Love, The Territory etc. I work with many brands including Sony, Sennheiser and Rycote, testing equipment in the field and advising on product design. You can find out more about me on my website.

Subsign: What was your childhood like?

George: I grew up in the Romanian countryside in a time when kids were allowed to do all kinds of crazy things without much adult supervision. I was free to roam the hills and forests around the village with my friends, and being this close to nature has definitely influenced my outlook as an adult. I have a very organic approach in my work and I rarely go by rules or guidelines. I like the freedom of choosing the projects I work on and I quickly get tired of doing the same thing over and over. I also need time off and away from work, preferably in natural settings where I feel calm and disconnected from the stress of everyday life.

Subsign: What did you want to be as a grown up?

George: As a kid I had a vague feeling that I wanted to travel the world and to have a life that is different from everything I could see around me. A lot of the jobs that adults around me had, seemed extremely boring and pointless. I liked how my grandparents worked the land and lived close to nature, but it seemed like very hard work for very little pay. I did not think about working in media until many years later, but as soon as I found that it seemed like the best option for me.


Subsign: What does your workstation look like?

George: We (me and my wife) currently use an entire floor of our house for work, with separate areas for audio, video and photo tasks. I get a lot of equipment from manufacturers which keeps piling up in cabinets and corners, and we’re rethinking the whole storage at the moment so it’s in a bit of flux. I will attach a photo of the video editing station because it looks a little bit neater.

Subsign: Do you have a work style? How would you describe it?

George: I like to adapt and improvise a lot. I am not classically trained as a musician but I compose music on a daily basis when I’m in the studio. In the field I had to come up with my own approaches because there isn’t much information about field recording out there. Sometimes I can use photography concepts but they only go so far. I would say my style is very organic and I work with my subjects and the environment I’m in, rather than against it.

Subsign: Can you share with us how your creative process works?

George: Creativity starts when I disengage myself from consciously attempting to be creative. I often have ideas when playing video games or reading books. In the beginning of my career I used to dread moments of writer’s (or creative person’s) block because I had tight deadlines and needed to be creative on command.

I don’t find that a problem anymore, and I can find inspiration very easily. I like to start by identifying keywords that describe the project mood or feel. This often involves discussions with stakeholders or directors, and can take some time to narrow down. It helps when I’ve already done similar things, but even when I need to do something completely different it works 99% of the time.

There is a good amount of iteration involved in my creative process, which is not unusual in the industry. I like to leave room for making mistakes and for failing before I can deliver the final results. It sounds like a cliche, but I’ve learned much more from failing than from delivering exactly what my clients or colleagues wanted.

In some cases there is very little room to fail (think projects like Dune or the Lion King). That’s when solid working experience can be very useful because I can avoid usual mistakes and pitfalls since I’ve already been through the process on previous occasions.

Subsign: What is your favorite work you have done so far?

George: Working on Dune Part 2 was probably the peak of my career so far. It was a huge project with a quick turnaround, no room to make mistakes and a totally new country to work in. The stakes were as high as it gets, and I managed to deliver. Not just according to myself, but to Richard King, Dave Whitehead and their teams. It was a very special moment to meet Richard at his studio in Hollywood and to hear all the praise from him and his team.

Subsign: Who do you follow for inspiration?

George: There are loads of people who do amazing work out there, but following them and keeping up with everyone is hard work. I limit my social media use and only follow a handful of people, otherwise it gets out of hand quickly. A few examples of people that inspire me are: David Yarrow, photographer; Renan Ozturk, explorer; Vianet Djenguet, cinematographer; Rebecca Solnit, writer; Jane Goodall, conservationist; Mike Fay, conservationist; Michael Nichols, photographer.

Subsign: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?

George: I would say give less importance to rules and formal education as they can only take you so far. There’s a certain amount of things you will have to unlearn to find your path. It’s much more important to keep creating things regardless of where you are on our journey and how much confidence you have.

Subsign: If you could have a super power, what would it be?

George: Teleportation would make a lot of things easier for me as I’m not a fan of long flights and they’re not exactly environmentally friendly either.

Subsign: Can you recommend a book, a song and a movie, for our readers?

George: “Arctic Dreams” by Barry Lopez, “Korkuma Africa” by Teddy Afro, “Sicario” (the first one, not the sequel).

Subsign: If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what famous people would you invite?

George: My favourite sort of party these days is a nice relaxed garden party with good food and interesting conversation. Some people I’d invite: Neal Stephenson, Jimmy Chin, James Hoffman, Hans Zimmer, Jane Goodall, George Monbiot, Burna Boy, Felicity Aston.

Thank you, George, for being a part of our Spotlight!

If you know an artist that should be in the spotlight, contact us at

For more of  George‘s work, you can follow him: George on Instagram,  George on YouTube,  George on LinkedIn,  George on X.


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"Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard."

Guy Kawasaki