Post Magazine

October 2010

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 43 of 59

Creating new sounds from stock elements W By RIC VIERS CEO Blastwave FX Detroit e’ve all been there — a project with a fast approaching deadline and very little money left in the budget for sound design.We take a deep breath, sigh at the lost opportunity to stretch our creative ears with some fresh sound challenges and reach for the closest stock sound effects library. In days past, this actually meant that you had to get out of your chair and walk across the room to (and, stay with me on this one) physically grab a CD with stock sounds, and then walk all the way back to your chair to search for the right sound effect.Today, this task is simpli- fied using sound effects search engines (either third party or those that come with some of the newer libraries). Now, using the power of metadata, you can easily find the sound you’re look- ing for.The problem is, thousands of other sound designers are in the same predicament and are probably using the same sound that you’ve found. Herein lies the fundamental problem with stock sound effects — everyone has them, and they’re used everyday. What’s the solution? For me, I prefer to use stock sounds as a source to create new and innovative sounds. By doing this, I save the client time and money by not having to book a day to record that exotic sports car driving off at Mach 10. However, I like to take various elements and build a somewhat new sound.There are a ton of sounds out there, and unfortunately, there are some gems that have been way overplayed.The same record scratch is heard every time someone on screen does a double take, and then there’s that same gust of wind heard in any commercial, videogame or film that has any visual hint of a breeze.What to do? The answer is something that Blastwave FX is encouraging our customers to do: Don’t be a lazy sound designer! Blastwave FX understands that our sounds are going to get used (over and over again). In building sound libraries like “Sonopedia,” Blast- wave provides the end user with multiple takes and versions of sound effects so they have a real-world library of sounds to use and build their own custom effect. In our sound design competitions, we’ve given partici- pants a handful of sounds to use to create new and unique sounds.The results have been amazing. New and seasoned sound designers alike are crafting these amazing sound- scapes and complicated effects using the same sounds as the other contestants, yet, they all sound different. For example, using the start of one sound effect and the end of another or layering sounds that would not normally be blended together can create a distinctive sound effect that is completely differ- ent than the original components — not to mention the use of plug-ins, which can open Pandora’s box to any sound effect. In short, I think that sound effect libraries are useful tools. How- ever, users must realize that sound effects can be the icing on the cake, but never the batter.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - October 2010