We’ve all been there. There's an action or object on screen that isn’t in a sound effects library at your disposal. This can be a tricky or fun and creative situation to be in. Working on ever changing animation, this situation comes up all the time. Here are a few tips and tricks to help re create realistic on screen sound effects.
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A few weeks ago, I sent out our intern Katie Maynard on a field recording mission to find record backgrounds and other cool sounds she came across. This week, our other intern Sam Busekrus was sent out on the same challenge but came back with much different sounds. Lets see what she came across!
As sound people, sometimes we hear something so unique we just have to capture it. A lot of sound designers (myself included) carry around mini recorders for just such an occasion. But we can't always be prepared. There are moments when you need to capture a sound in an instant. Like if a bird with a crazy call lands on an open window. We don't always have professional recording gear at hand. Most of us however do have a cell phone nearby.
Here at Boom Box Post we do a lot of wild sound effects recording. In the last year we’ve recorded props as varied as children’s ball pits, seed pods from trees, laser swords, metal impacts, metal screeches with dry ice, christmas lights, human and non-human screams, zombie moans, body drags, two different Ford Mustangs and of course: farts. We’ve used a wide variety of different equipment to accomplish these recording goals. For our most recent vehicle recording(blog post coming soon) we rented a few additional microphones and took advantage of the new gear to set up a brief microphone shootout. The microphones we compared were the Sennheiser MKH 8050, a compact super-cardiod condenser, the Sennheiser MKH 8060, a short shotgun based on the same capsule as the 8050 and the Neumann KMR 82i, a highly directional short shotgun. All three are popular choices for sound effects and film production recording. We wanted to test the timbre and character of each microphone as well as how they interacted with the acoustics in our edit bays. To test the mics we recorded a variety of sample material similar to the type of recordings we make.
To kick off a new class of interns (and score some cool new sound elements for our library), I asked Boom Box Post intern James Singleton to create a selection of lightsaber/laser sword sound effects. The original Star Wars trilogy is chalk full of classic sound effects that continue to inspire our field today, and recreating old favorites is a great way to flex sound design muscles and explore unconventional techniques. I requested James work primarily from recordings and sounds created specifically for this project, and take inspiration from Ben Burtt's original methods. To wrap up the project I asked him to tell me a little about his process for creating the final sound effects.
The first piece of advice I give any new sound editor is to get Pro Tools and learn the keyboard shortcuts. Forget proficiency in typing, that's child's play. In order to compete in the real world of post production sound, you need to be FAST. Knowing your way around the keyboard doesn't just shorten your workday, it tells the clients - who expect requests to be carried out quickly - that you are on top of your game.
Basic keyboard shortcuts - switching the tools, changing the view - need to be second nature. But with literally hundreds to learn, there's bound to be a few that have slipped through the cracks. Here are some of the best 'lesser-known' Pro Tools keyboard shortcuts to help speed up your workflow.
A few months back, an episode of Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles presented us with a stone cold challenge. In The Moons of Thalos 3, the gang encounters a bunch of Ice Dragons. We decided to get some custom ice recordings in order to give these creatures lots of original character.