Chris Carter Collection Asbjoern Andersen


Late Craig Carter worked as a renowned sound designer in Australia for more than 3 decades - and throughout his career he recorded a mountain of sound effects & atmospheres, which up until recently were left on a series of hard drives collecting dust on an old shelf.

Sound effects recordist Niels Gabriels and sound designer James Harvey have spent months selecting, organising and editing Craig Carter's raw recordings, and they're finally able to present Craig's work to the independent sound community in the form of the Craig Carter Collection. Read Emily Dynes' tribute to Craig Carter, and learn more about the collection below:


Written by Emily Dynes
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With an incredible career spanning 34 years, Craig Carter was one of Australia’s most distinguished and celebrated sound designers.

Before his early passing in 2017 at the age of 60, Carter worked on over a hundred productions as a sound designer, editor, and recordist.

Sound effects recordist Craig CarterOne of Australia’s most respected and beloved film sound designers, he gained a national reputation through the high quality and innovative nature of his work on feature films, documentaries, shorts and television dramas.

Beginning as a humble assistant at the ABC, Carter dove into the sound business headfirst, in the arena of evening current affair shows. His early talent and passion did not go unnoticed, as his first credits catapulted him onto significant productions that would swiftly go on to become definitive Australian classics. Whether it was his work as a dialogue editor on Peter Faiman’s Crocodile Dundee or his efforts as the sound effects editor on George Miller’s Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Carter was quickly recognised for his perfectionist nature and fanaticism for recording wherever he went.

In 1986, Carter shared the AFI Award for Best Sound for his efforts as the sound editor on Australian cult comedy Malcolm. Director Nadia Tass described Carter as ‘an incredible talent’ and stated that ‘we were very young when we began on Malcolm, ‘Craig’s creativity and talent in sound design was like a beacon of light, supported by his profound knowledge of literature, history and music.’

Indeed, the melodic textures to his work could be traced back to his musical knowledge and temperaments. Carter’s harmonious talents directly fed into the originality and sensitivity of his practice, and his creative collaborators often mentioned his ‘great musical ear’ and love of guitar.

Niels Gabriels, on compiling the Craig Carter Collection:

The Craig Carter Collection originated whilst on a recording trip with Andrew Neil, re-recording mixer and sound effects, and Troy Mauri, sound effects recordist. Andrew Neil was working on The True History of the Kelly Gang alongside supervising sound designer Frank Lipson, and needed additional recordings of unique Australian atmospheres to add depth and detail to the film.

Whilst chatting over some very mediocre rural cafe coffees, it was brought up that Craig Carter’s extensive collection of recordings were currently collecting dust on old had-drives, likely to malfunction at any moment. To ensure that such a unique collection didn’t disappear as a result of technical malfunctions, James Harvey & I were determined to collate the recordings and make them available to the independent sound effects community.

The mammoth task involved Harvey organising thousands of files from the 19 source hard-drives into applicable folders. All this whilst working full time as a dialogue and sound effects editor. Subsequent to this initial stage, it was my responsibility to take these extensive collection of folders and prepare them for the inclusion into the Craig Carter Collection. This involved intricately listening to the provided material, selecting the best files, editing them (lightly utilising Izotope RX and EQ when needed) and finally adding descriptive metadata

The extensive range of Carter’s recordings was monumental, with sound effects being recorded from multiple perspectives and atmospheres at multiple times of the day. Carter never travelled anywhere without his array of sound recorders and microphones, something that shows in the sounds he was able to record throughout his career.

Carter’s Australia collection is undoubtedly the highlight for me. Having lived in Australia for 20 years I am continuously amazed by the unique soundscapes of this land, from dawn chorus in the bush to the eerie quietude of the Australian outback. Carter has managed to capture an extensive body of work ranging from the outback, rural farmlands, bushland, billabongs, creaks, gorges, indigenous instruments, lakes & forests. I consider this collection a fundamental addition to the sound effects library of any Australian sound designer.

I am immensely proud to have been given the opportunity to contribute the Craig Carter Collection to the independent sound effects community.

After the success of his well-chosen initial projects, Carter worked steadily as a sound, dialogue and sound effects editor over the next decade. In 1996, he employed his talents on Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo + Juliet,’ where sound played a crucial role in providing the adaption’s fresh and innovative stylistic flourishes. This bold approach involved a careful fusion with the film’s modern soundtrack (where it was the second-highest selling album in Australia that year), and was nominated for Best Sound at the 1998 BAFTA Film Awards.

His sound design talents are perhaps best known for Carter’s work on ‘Rabbit-Proof Fence;’ a 2002 Australian drama film based on the biographical book by Doris Pilkington. The film follows the 1,500-mile journey of three young Aboriginal girls as they seek to return to their home community at Jigalong. Described as ‘a busily reverberant backdrop of cicadas, birdsong, animal ululations, wind and rain,’ the sound design was heralded as ‘the film’s texture’ and was deemed a ‘vital contribution’ to the film’s critical and commercial acclaim. The contemplative detail and acoustically enhanced realism of the movie’s sonic landscape were recognised with the AFI award for ‘Best Sound,’ in addition to a nomination for ‘Best Sound’ at the 2002 IF Awards.
Sound effects recordist Craig Carter
Carter was known as a master craftsman who possessed the rare ability to marry practical and technological expertise with a deep respect for the emotional mechanics of storytelling. He prioritised emotion and story above all else in his work, ensuring each technical detail and pragmatic decision was motivated by script and character purposes. It was this valuation of emotion that gave Carter’s work its sonic distinctiveness by truly capturing and shaping the sound that the story demanded.

Some of Carter’s more recent accomplishments include bringing a ‘cinematic sound’ to critically lauded Australian television dramas such as Matchbox Pictures’ productions ’Barracuda’ and ’The Slap.’ After working with Carter on the aforementioned series’, Director-Producer Robert Connolly highlighted both Carter’s professional prowess and his gentle spirit, stating: “He had an exceptional talent as a sound designer and always shared with great enthusiasm the adventure each project presented us. But my fondest conversations with Craig were actually about a million other things, literature particularly, travel, politics, being a father.”

Fruits of the labour:

 
The Craig Carter sound effects collection is now available here on A Sound Effect – check out the selection below:

  • This sound library is part of the Complete Craig Carter Collection, containing a wide range of ape, chimpanzee and gorilla recordings.

    Recorded over Craig’s 34 year career as an esteem Australian sound designer, this library consists of ape, chimpanzee and gorilla vocalisations, grunts, screams, movements, feeding noises and sanctuaries.

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  • Animals & Creatures Australia | CCC Play Track 1000+ sounds included, 850 mins total $300 $240

    Learn more about Craig Carter’s extensive career here;

    The Legacy of a Master Craftsman and Storyteller

    This sound library is part of the Complete Craig Carter Collection, containing a wide range of Australian recordings.

    Recorded over Craig’s 34 year career as an esteem Australian sound designer, this library consists of natural Australian wildlife and ambiences from the following locations;

    • Outback plains
    • Billabongs
    • Lakes
    • Forests
    • Bushlands
    • Farms
    • Country Towns
    • Waterholes
    • Gorges
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  • This sound library is part of the Complete Craig Carter Collection, containing a wide range of hospital recordings.

    Recorded over Craig’s 34 year career as an esteem Australian sound designer, this library consists of entrance halls, hallways, wards, wings, emergency departments, waiting rooms, receptions and nurse stations from private and public hospitals.

     

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  • Industrial Industrial | CCC Play Track 104 sounds included, 125 mins total $100 $80

    This sound library is part of the Complete Craig Carter Collection, containing a wide range of industrial ambience recordings.

    Recorded over Craig’s 34 year career as an esteem Australian sound designer, this library consists of factory machines, rail yards, ports, harbours and refineries.

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  • Animals & Creatures Insects | CCC Play Track 175+ sounds included, 150 mins total $150 $120

    This sound library is part of the Complete Craig Carter Collection, containing a wide range of insect recordings.

    Recorded over Craig’s 34 year career as an esteem Australian sound designer, this library consists of singular insects and swarms; flies, bees, cicadas, crickets, grass hoppers, dragonflies, beetles, & wasps.

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  • This sound library is part of the Complete Craig Carter Collection, containing a wide range of maritime recordings.

    Recorded over Craig’s 34 year career as an esteem Australian sound designer, this library consists of wind through rigging, various harbours, waves lapping, jetties and coastal ambiences.

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  • City Life Prisons | CCC Play Track 300+ sounds included, 195 mins total $175 $140

    This sound library is part of the Complete Craig Carter Collection, containing a wide range of abandoned and functioning prison recordings.

    Recorded over Craig’s 34 year career as an esteem Australian sound designer, this library consists of prisoner walla (both interior and exterior), doors, guard intercoms, control offices, cell blocks and prison yards.

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  • City Life Schools | CCC Play Track 115 sounds included, 140 mins total $150 $120

    This sound library is part of the Complete Craig Carter Collection, containing a wide range of primary and high school recordings.

    Recorded over Craig’s 34 year career as an esteem Australian sound designer, this library consists of hallway walla, classroom walla, playgrounds, entrance halls and locker rooms from a variety of primary & high schools.

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  • Surround The Complete Collection | CCC Play Track 10,000+ sounds included, 3000+ mins total $800 $640

    The Complete Craig Carter Collection comprises of the major sound libraries in addition to a wide range of additional, specialised sound libraries.

    • Apes, Chimpanzees & Gorrillas
    • Australia
    • Prisons
    • Wind
    • Hospitals
    • Insects
    • Industrial
    • Schools
    • Maritime
    • Trains
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  • Trains Trains | CCC Play Track 100+ sounds included, 107 mins total $100 $80

    This sound library is part of the Complete Craig Carter Collection, containing a wide range of train recordings.

    Recorded over Craig’s 34 year career as an esteem Australian sound designer, this library consists of a variety of trains, train stations, train depots.

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  • Environments Wind | CCC Play Track 177 sounds included, 255 mins total $175 $140

    This sound library is part of the Complete Craig Carter Collection, containing a wide range of wind recordings.

    Recorded over Craig’s 34 year career as an esteem Australian sound designer, this library consists of natural winds, synthesised winds and eerie interior winds.

     

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Numerous collaborators paint a picture of a ‘a renaissance man’ with a kind heart, one who never lost his sense of fun or adventure – no matter the project.

In a statement, Australian screen agency Film Victoria described the high caliber of Carter’s work, stating that the “standard of Craig’s work was recognised through the many awards and nominations he received, while his professionalism and good humour will be remembered by those in the industry who were fortunate enough to work with him.”

By virtue of his passion for sound, Carter was renowned for his commitment to upcoming Australian sound designers, never neglecting his role as a mentor even as the busiest of times.

Whether in his backyard sound studio, the Congo Jungle, the ape filled landscapes of Rwanda or the suburbs of Melbourne, Craig Carter brought the same level of commitment, eye for detail and pure joy to his work.

One only needs to read over Carter’s list of credits to instantly view the impact his practice had on sculpting Australian film culture, and to understand the high esteem in which his peers held him.

He is remembered as innovator, a creative, a friend, a father, a husband and a pillar of the Australian sound design industry.

Carter is survived by his wife Fiona, daughters Eliza and Charlotte and son Matthew, and through his absolute legacy of high quality and ground-breaking work.

 

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  • Horror Giant Pinecones Play Track 500+ sounds included, 44 mins total $79

    • In Giant Pinecones, get a visceral collection of scraped and eviscerated pinecones from the gray pine trees of Northern California. Scrape the razor-sharp hooks of the cone petals and hear guttural scrapes crackling with energy. Hear rolling cones popping and fluttering with rich stuttering tones. Hear fully open cone pedals squeaking with woody vocalizations like supernatural animals and hardy crunches filled with organic grit.
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    2% FOR THE ENVIRONMENT & CARBON NEUTRAL:
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    FILE LIST & METADATA:
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    • A spectrogram is included for each audio file. Double click on the photo to enlarge.
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    The actions were performed at a range of speeds and energy levels, with multiple takes for variety. Please refer to the sound list pdf below for details. Captured at a sampling rate of 96kHz, these recordings contain detailed information above 20kHz, expanding the possibilities for manipulation when slowing and pitching them down.

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