For this month's Inside Sound Design post I met with Brad Meyer again, to talk more about the exciting vehicle sound effects he creates.. Brad spends a lot of his time designing exciting, signature sound effects for his shows, especially vehicles, using both custom recordings and sound library material. This time we talked about a unique semi-truck vehicle, and it’s exciting transformation sequence.
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Without question, location recording is the most difficult part of the process of making sound effects. Selecting the right location is just as important as what you will record there. Environments shape your sound. Be sure to select a location with your ears and not with your eyes.
Here are a few things to consider when planning your next field recording:
Yesterday I came across a sound design challenge I've faced a handful of times. I needed electrical crackling/humming sounds (think Tesla coil). The sequence required both a steady sound as well as some fast whooshing of these sounds by the camera. I have needed these sounds enough times that I decided it was time to try and create them from scratch instead of using some old standbys.
To start, I needed a really great warm humming sound. My first thought was to get up and see what kind of sounds my light bulbs were making. Trying to find this in my lamps proved fruitless because as it turns out, we have gone through a handful of lightbulbs (requiring a number of trips to Home Depot by our Boom Box Post interns) to avoid just such a noise in our editorial rooms. As I headed to our storage room to try and dig up some of the noisier light bulbs we had rejected, I heard a loud noise coming from the kitchen. As luck would have it the compressor for our water cooler was freaking out and making quite a racket. I grabbed my Sony PCM-M10 portable recorder and ran to the kitchen.
Jeff and I recently had the pleasure of working on a fantastic animated project that featured an incredibly vibrant city park filled with pets. There were dogs, horses, cats, sheep--you name it. When Jeff met with the creator, she expressed that she loved the idea of having human vocalizations covering the main pets on screen. Jeff and I completely agreed since it really spoke to the hand-made, warm, and contemporary feeling of the animation.
In fact, we loved the idea so much that we decided to create our own custom sound effects for all of the animals using just our own voices and a microphone. Thus began what I now like to think of as The Day Our Neighbors Realized We Were Completely Crazy.