As sound designers, we're often drawn to talking and writing about our latest endeavors in creating new and interesting sounds from scratch. We blog about just such occasions all the time here at Boom Box Post, like when we recorded our own alien vocals or I created the sound of a submarine moving through blood vessels with a contact microphone in my bathtub.
But, it's important to remember that sometimes the most successful sound design isn't born of invention, but instead of perfectly matching just the right sound from the real world.
Recently, I began a new series which takes place on the African savanna. There are no sci-fi hovercrafts, no alien planets, and no giant machinery. Instead, what makes the show so beautiful to look at (and, I hope, to listen to) is the way that it realistically portrays the wind's soft touch on each long blade of grass, the way the animals' gaits are so perfectly aligned with how they truly appear in nature, and the soothing sight of the light cascading distinct colors and shadows across the land depending on the time of day.
I wanted to stay true to this lovely ode to nature, and to be a part of this wonderful catalogue of sights and sounds that can instantly catapult the viewer into a far away place. So, I took copious notes from the creators of the exact name of each animal and set off to find suitable recordings.
Here are a few sites which I am excited to share with you for inspiration:
The sounds on this site are from a 24,000 km bicycling expedition to record sounds across the western region of Africa. They managed to capture birds, amphibians, mammals, bats, and insects. They also donated all of these sounds to the British Sound Library, which is another amazing resource.
This website allows you to access a catalogue of bird sounds from around the world by dragging your mouse across any region on its map. I found this entrancing, to say the least.
Just for fun, here are a few sound of African animals that surprised us all. We had an endless amount of fun reveling in the wonderfully new grunts, moans, and cries of completely different species than those from our own homeland.