An old SLR camera Asbjoern Andersen


You could reasonably say that recordist Chris Skyes went to great lengths to capture his new camera sound effects library:

Here's how a simple idea - and a passion for cameras - turned into a huge research project, weeks of recording at night, and ended up as an excellent collection of 3900+ mechanical sounds from 24 hand-picked cameras from the last century:


Written by Chris Skyes. Images courtesy of Chris Skyes.
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A few months ago, like most people on this website, I was running around thrift stores, looking for strange and unusual props that I could record.

As I was being stared at, undoubtedly due to me rattling what looked like a vintage purse next to my ear, out of the corner of my eye I spot a really old film camera, sitting on a shelf, untouched.

With the shop owner’s eyes pinned on the strange young man in the corner of his establishment, shaking all of his merchandise, I reach out for the camera, gently pick it up and lift it up to my face.

An Aiglon Reflex TLR (twin lens reflex)

It had obscure branding, Aiglon Atos-1 being etched into the leather case and onto the outside edge of the lens. It looked really old, and cool, and it smelled like my grandad’s suit, that he’s had since the 1950s.

I would later find out that I wasn’t that far off, as after some research, it turns out that it was most likely made somewhere in France in the 1940s or 50s.


Camera recording examples from Chris Skyes’ 20th Century Cameras SFX library


 

To the shop owner’s relief, I purchased it and left the store without actually breaking anything.

When I got home, I truly fell down the rabbit hole. I started researching old cameras, where they were made, how they worked, and more importantly, what kinds of sounds they could make.

A Kodak Six-20 Brownie D model

Over the course of the next few weeks, I ended up purchasing around 50 cameras, all manufactured between the 1930s and 1970s.

At first, I went through all of them, and set aside all the cameras that did not function to a satisfactory degree. Eventually, I ended up with 24 cameras which worked well, and sounded distinct enough from one another.

Fueled by an already existing passion for photography, I found myself researching into each of these cameras, and began writing a kind of informal eBook to go along with the library.

Once the research was complete, and I felt confident that I knew quite a bit about each device, I grabbed my gear, and thus began a two week process of recording the cameras at night. I’d wake up at 2 PM, start recording around midnight and then finish around 6 AM, and go to bed.

The night shift recording was necessary due to the nature of some of the mechanical sounds. Naturally, as these cameras were not specifically designed to make loud noises, I had to ensure the best recording environment, free of birds, people, and the creepy sound of Ice Cream trucks going past my house.

The library features recordings from cameras such as:

AGFA Isolette (1950s) • AGFA Silette (1960s) • AGFA Unknown Model (1930s) • Aiglon Atos-1 (1950s) • Atlas No 2 (1930s) • Beier Beirette (1970s) • GB Kershaw 110 (1950s) • Halina Viceroy (1960s) • Houghton Synchro (1930s) • Ilford Envoy (1950s) • Kodak 620 JNR (1930s) • Kodak Colorsnap (1950s) • Kodak Brownie (1940s) • Kodak Instamatic 25 (1960s) • Kodak Instamatic 155x (1970s) • Kodak Junior 1 (1950s) • Kodak Six-20 (1940s) • Minolta AL (1960s) • Pentax Asahi (1970s) • Photo Plait Splendor (1940s) • Polaroid Colorpack 2 (1970s) • Praktica Nova (1960s) • Voigtlander (1930s) • Zenit EM (1970s)

Additionally, after recording all the mechanical sounds, I also recorded old rolls of film being handled, and installed into cameras, but this will come as a separate update to the library.

After the recording sessions were over, I checked the length of the audio files, and choked a little when I realised that I had 9 hours of audio files to comb through, edit, and tag with juicy metadata.

https://twitter.com/SKYESAudio/status/985976911108165635

A few more weeks later, by the grace of the audio gods, the editing was complete. I finally found myself standing in front of my DAW, staring at 159 tracks, comprised of about 3900 sounds.

Now this was the crucial moment. I felt this immense desire to just get the library out there, and finally get it over with. But no, after all this time I put into editing and recording, perfecting the metadata was essential.

More sounds from SKYES Audio:

20th Century cameras is just one of the SFX libraries from Chris Skyes and his SKYES Audio label. Here are some of his other libraries:

  • Household Abandoned Doors Play Track 1400+ sounds included, 53 mins total
    Rated 4.50 out of 5
    $120

    Finding the right door sound can be a pain, thus Abandoned Doors was recorded with that need in mind.

    All the 1400+ sounds were recorded in abandoned mansions and houses with unique sonic characteristics, in stereo, usually from two perspectives (inside the room and in the hallway), allowing you a great deal of choice and offering sonic diversity.

    Additionally, splitting the stereo tracks into mono will give you two more slightly different perspectives on each sound.

    The Abandoned Doors library offers a multitude of door recordings, ranging from heavy wooden doors found in turn of the century mansions to cheap old doors in an abandoned warehouse, being opened, closed, slammed, knocked on, kicked, banged on, and even hit with a bat.

    Whilst most door libraries simply name files ‘door open 01’, etc, Abandoned Doors has been carefully tagged with rich SoundMiner metadata and multiple keywords, giving you a clearer image of what a file contains just by reading the title. For more information on what kinds of sounds are present in the library, feel free to consult the metadata file down below.

    Also, if you’d like to know more about how I recorded this library, read my blog post here.

    If you have any questions about this library, feel free to quickly send me an e-mail. I tend to reply within minutes.

    Buy Abandoned Doors today and augment your sonic toolbox with over 1400+ door related sound effects, recorded at 24bit/96kHz in unique and inaccessible locations.

    Add to cart
  • Water & Oceans Black Sea Play Track 30 sounds included, 30 mins total
    Rated 5.00 out of 5
    $49.99

    Discover everything from the peaceful sound of waves gently streaming through slippery rocks, from inside a hollow, beached buoy, and on the beach, directly facing the sea, to the full force of mother nature, being recorded from twenty feet above, as massive waves crash onto a cliff face, salty water permeating the air

    The 30 separate audio files, free of seagulls, people, or ships, will provide you with a variety of pure and colourful recordings, which you can never have enough of. They bring character to any scene you might choose to lend them to, at the fraction of the cost and time required to go out and record them yourself!

    In addition to that, every single file in this library has been carefully tagged with rich, descriptive SoundMiner metadata, which will save you time when navigating it and allow you to finish projects much faster! The metadata consists of intuitive, visual keywords which allow you to more quickly and efficiently find the files you need!

    This library is useful for, but not limited to: Feature Films, TV Series, Short Films, YouTube Videos, Games, Meditation, and more!

    Also, if you’d like to know more about how I recorded this library, read my blog post here.

    If you have any questions about this library, feel free to quickly send me an e-mail. I tend to reply within minutes.
    Add to cart
  • The Dot Matrix sound effects library is made up of two parts: A full 3-minute recording of an Epson LQ 570 dot matrix printer at work and 511 short files meticulously edited to isolate each movement that the device makes whilst printing. These movements have been categorised into 5 different folders:

    1) Short bursts, with 295 different variations
    2) Double bursts, with 25 different variations
    3) Triple bursts, with 98 different variations
    4) Long bursts, with 45 different variations
    5) Servo sounds, with 48 different variations

    The recordings have not been manipulated in any way other than being edited into smaller files, as to not limit your options when using the sounds creatively.

    In total, you will receive 512 .wav files, each containing SoundMiner metadata, recorded at 96k/24bit in order to allow for a high level of manipulation.

    If you have any questions about this library, feel free to quickly send me an e-mail. I tend to reply within minutes.
    Add to cart
  • The vividly descriptive and meticulously chosen SoundMiner metadata that has been embedded into each of the 217 files allows you to save minutes, even hours, of painful searching through libraries, trying to find that elusive sound! Now it is easier than ever, due to metadata that has been crafted with humans, and not search engines, in mind!

    The main library consists of: rummaging through broken glass with a metallic object, smashing broken shards of glass, breaking different size windows and pieces of glass, and hitting thick glass at different intensities without breaking it.

    The bonus library contains 21 different variations of a glass bottle breaking on rocks and two variations of a bottle bouncing off the rocks without breaking. The length of all the files ranges between 1 and 3 seconds long.

    This library was recorded outside on a very quiet day, with no wind, insects, birds or traffic. iZotope RX was then used to eliminate the small amounts of background noise that was present. As a result, all the recordings are dry, clean and have no reverb.

    This library is useful for, but not limited to: Feature Films, TV Series, Short Films, YouTube Videos, Games, and more!

    If you have any questions about this library, feel free to quickly send me an e-mail. I tend to reply within minutes.
    Add to cart

Even though I do my metadata as I go along, there is always a crucial step at the end where I perfect it and make sure it’s consistent not only throughout the library, but across my portfolio of libraries.

I spent a few days figuring out how to best describe the mechanical sounds, making sure I was as precise as possible, and checking spelling and numbers over and over.

An Asashi Pentax Spotmatic F Shutter release

Additionally, in the spirit of the library, I shot buttery smooth slow-motion B-roll of the cameras featured in the collection, and used it for the library preview.

And then, finally, it was over. The library was packaged, ready, and looking pretty. After consulting with Asbjoern about details here and there, with a mighty push of a button, the library went live.

If you want to grab a discounted copy, the library’s introductory discount will run until the 1st of June.

A big thanks to Chris Skyes for giving us a look at the making of ’20th Century Cameras’! Check out the full library below:

 

 
  • Discover the obscure sounds of 24 film cameras designed between the 1930s and 1970s. Carefully organised into 159 files, the 20th Century Cameras library offers over 3900+ sounds recorded at pristine 24bit/96kHz, thus allowing you to not only use the mechanical sounds of the cameras for their intended purpose, but also for sound design.

    In order to help you navigate through the plethora of sounds available, rich SoundMiner metadata has been carefully crafted in order to describe the sounds as simply as possible, using multiple keywords and terms, where needed.

    The library contains mostly mechanical sounds, such as the sound of shutter release at different shutter speeds, knobs, latches, wheels, and more, in addition to some Foley sounds as well.  Due to the age of the cameras, most of the shutter release sounds have slight variations between them, even at the same shutter speed.

    An update for the library is on its way, which will include the sound of a few different types of camera film being unwrapped, handled and installed into cameras. The update will be free for the people that have already purchased the library.

    The library also comes with a free eBook which can be viewed and downloaded here.

    In addition to the SoundMiner metadata sheet down below, the eBook provides information as to how older cameras work, and more details as to how each of the cameras recorded for the library work. The book goes into a fair bit of detail as to what sounds each camera offers, without getting too technical.

    If you have any questions about this library, feel free to quickly send me an e-mail. I tend to reply within minutes.

    If you would like to hear more, here is a slightly extended version of the video preview:

    Video Thumbnail
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A Sound Effect gives you easy access to an absolutely huge sound effects catalog from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement - a few highlights:
 
 
  • Foley Squeaks & Creaks (MS) Play Track 313 sounds included, 19 minutes 29 seconds mins total $25 $22

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    In this library you will find everything from deep, wrenching creaks to high piercing squeaks; quiet door knobs and twisting, turning plastics. Many of these sounds were recorded in a turn of the century old victorian home with decades of wear and tear to give the most authentic, creepy sounds that your heart desires.

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  • User Interface (UI) War UI Play Track 1764 sounds included, 63 MB mins total $79 $59

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  • Game Audio Packs & Bundles Ancient Game Play Track 1508 sounds included, 72 mins total
    Rated 5.00 out of 5
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    Get ready for adventure: Ancient Game gets you 1500+ designed and source MMO / game-ready audio assets. Step into a world of fantasy with Ancient Game – The Legendary RPG Adventure Game Sound Library by Epic Stock Media! Includes Magic, Warfare, Gore, Treasures, Mechanisms, Monsters, Loop-able ambiences and more! All in 96k / 24 Bit for optimum clarity and supernatural sound.

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Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • This is a unique bicycle library that captures this characteristic bike in clean, quiet, nicely performed true exterior rides. Including multiple perspectives, speeds and actions. From fast passbys on asphalt to slow onboard recordings and smooth stops.

    The UglyBike is a typical old bicycle that’s working fine, but needs some TLC. It is a bicycle that’s just average, a little rattle a gentle scrape, a bike that everyone has had but got traded in for a newer one. A story of unrequited love.. :)

    Speeds and actions:
    Three speeds. Departures from slow, medium to fast getaways. Arrivals from slow stops with gently squeaking handbrakes to heavy stuttering skids.

    Five perspectives:
    1. Onboard Front: captures the whirring tire and surface sound.
    2. Onboard Pedal: nice overall combination of pedaling, crank creaks, chain rattle, tire and surface sounds.
    3. Onboard Rear: close up sound of the rear axle, with chain, sprocket and switching of gear.
    4. Tracking shot: mono recording of the passby, keeping the bike in focus while passing by.
    5. Static XY shot: stereo recording of the passby that emphasizes speed.

    Overview of perspectives and mic placement:

    Onboard recordings are 2-3 minutes long depending on speed. Higher speeds > shorter duration.
    All 3 onboard mics are edited in sync with one another to make layering easy.
    All Passbys, Arrivals and Departures move from Left to Right.

    Metadata & Markers:
    Because we know how important metadata is for your sound libraries we have created a consistent and intuitive description method. This allows you to find the sound you need easily, whether you work in a database like Soundminer/Basehead/PT Workspace work, or a Exporer/Finder window.

    However, we are aware that some people have different needs for different purposes, so we’ve created a Metadata Reference Guide that explains the structure. And because we’ve automated the metadata proces, you can be confident that a ‘find & replace’ command will always replace all instances.

    Download our Metadata Reference Guide

    Download complete metadata PDF

    If you have any questions about this, contact us!

    Additionally, we added Markers to some wave files, so specific sound events are easy to spot in Soundminer or other database apps.

    Need more?
    The UglyBike library is part of the complete ‘City Bicycles’ library package available at www.frickandtraa.com. It consists of all 4 bicycles and includes additional surfaces and extras ranging from one-off  bicycle passes captured in the city and bounces and rattles. The extra bicycles surfaces and additional effects are also available seperately here on ‘a Sound Effect’. If you’ve bought a single library and want to upgrade to the full package, contact us for a reduced price on the complete City Bicycles library. Every part of City Bicycles that you paid for will get you an extra reduction on the full package.

    Video Thumbnail
    Responses:

    344 AUDIO:City Bicycles has a plethora of content, for a great price. The perfect balance between a great concept, great presentation and outstanding execution, lands them an almost perfect score of 4.9..

    The Audio Spotlight: City Bicycles is worth getting if you are in need of great sounding and well edited bicycle sounds.

    Watch a video created by Zdravko Djordjevic.

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  • Environments Museums & Galleries Play Track 272 sounds included, 800 mins total $100 $80

    This library features a wide range of recordings from various museums and galleries, each differentiated by the nuances of their size and space. All recordings feature pristine echos, walla and movement. The library includes stereo & 5.0 recordings from:

    • War Museums
    • History Museums
    • State Museums
    • Science Museums
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    • Photography Galleries
    • State Galleries

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  • The American M5 High Speed Tractor includes over 20 gigabytes of recordings of a WWII US military vehicle with a Continental 6572 six-cylinder petrol engine with 207 horsepower. 188 sound fx document a full suite of performances from M5, also known as versions M5A1, M5A2, M5A3 and M5A4.

    The performances include starting, idling, departing, arriving, and passing by from 6 exterior perspectives at slow, medium, and fast speeds. 10 additional perspectives feature motor, interior, exhaust, tracks, and other locations that capture idles, driving, and steady RPMs from onboard the tractor.

    Includes extensive Soundminer metadata.

  • Cars Volvo 242 DL 1975 Play Track 364 sounds included $249

    The Volvo 242 sound fx collection includes 271 sounds in 13.51 gigabytes of audio. The 242 is a DL 1975 version of the car, also known as models 240, 244, and 245. It features 25 takes of recordings from the Swedish vehicle and its 4-cylinder B20 A, 82 horsepower engine.

    16 synchronized perspectives capture both onboard and exterior performances. Eight onboard perspectives (12 channels, including 4 in AMBEO) recorded driving at steady RPMs, with gearshifts, and ramps using microphones mounted in the engine, interior, and exhaust. Eight other exterior perspectives (18 channels) showcase driving at fast, medium, and slow speeds approaching, departing, and passing by. There are also steadies in neutral, blips, and performed effects, as well as an Altiverb impulse response.

    All clips have 18 fields of Soundminer, BWAV, and MacOS Finder metadata.

  • Sports Downhill Skiing Play Track 37 sounds included, 13 minutes 08 seconds mins total $35 $30

    Get ready to hit the slopes with this wintery gem of a sound library!

    Taken from many trips up and down the slopes in Upstate New York, this library gives you in your face gliding swishes, crunching carves, turns, stops, passbys from the left and right, falls, jumps, landings, poles poking and scraping the snow, chairlift machine sounds, bindings, and more!

    If you need authentic skiing sounds this library has you covered. Whether you need to create loops and insert carves in a video game or film project or if you need lengthy recordings of full trips from the top of the mountain to the bottom this library will give you it all. Enjoy Downhill Skiing!

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