Asbjoern Andersen


This is Part 2 of a guest blog post by sound designer Mark Camperell, Founder & Creative Director at Empty Sea Audio and its sister company, The Library by Empty Sea:

In Part 1, Mark shared his tips on how to come up with ideas for your new library, and finding great material to record. In this second part, he takes a look at post processing your sounds, and the things you have to consider when pricing your work:

 

Post process

Just as daunting as the recording process is the post process.

Most often times, this takes longer than the actual recording time. My go to steps are as follows:

1: Group related sounds on their own track. This will make your editing, processing and naming much easier from the start.

2: Listen to your raw material and reject any sound that doesn’t fit or doesn’t meet with your standards. You have to put on your customer hat. If you don’t like it, chances are someone else won’t like it either.

3: Your sounds should be cleaned from any pops, clicks and mic bumps. Top and tail your files to the first and last modulation so that you’re keeping file size to a minimum. If you tout the physical size of your collections when you advertise, your customers will thank you for not charging them for extraneous megabytes of silence.

If you need to improve your signal to noise ratio, do it in a way that’s transparent and that won’t detract from your recording.

EQ to taste to accentuate the interesting parts of the sound. Compress if needed to beef up a sound. Don’t brick the stuff, leave that to your customer. Some of us like to have dynamic range to play with when we design! Master your files so that categories of sounds are playing back at a similar perceived loudness and timbre. I try to have sounds playback at a level that makes sense for what it is. Foley gear doesn’t need to be mastered to -1db seeing as it’s usually going to be playing back well below that. Tire squeals on the other hand could be mastered to -1db no problem.

4: Name your files in a way that makes sense and makes it easy to search/sort.
I personally use a “collection_object_action_#” method. There are a million ways to name and organize your files. Pick one that works for your collection that you are comfortable with.

5: Finally… metadata. If you don’t know what metadata is, you should take the time to do some research. There are a lot of great articles out there about metadata. I suggest those written by Tim Prebble.

Most sound designers HATE when a library they just spent good money on doesn’t come with embedded metadata.

Metadata is quite powerful and it makes the library experience so much more enjoyable when the embedded metadata is well grounded.

Most sound designers HATE when a library they just spent good money on doesn’t come with embedded metadata.

It makes the investment harder to use because you end up spending so much time figuring out what each sound is and categorizing it yourself. Without naming naming names, there are some notable offenders out there that do not include this stuff. While they have great sounds, I find myself using them less and less because they’re less efficient to search.
 

Sell, sell, sell

I get a lot of questions about how I come up with a price for an individual collection.

Without getting too much into economics and supply & demand, this section should help you price your products.

Usually what I do is start by looking at comparable products that are available. This gives me a good baseline. Next, I look at my obvious costs. Did I have to pay for access to the item? Did I have to rent or purchase any specific gear for this collection? These are things that should be built into the price.

You should take into account the uniqueness of the collection also. If you were able to get access to something quite rare, then the price should reflect the scarcity of the item that you are recording.

The other thing to factor in is how much time you spent on the collection.
All-in if you spent 40 hours on it, price the collection so that 5 or 6 sales cover your 40 hours.

Make the lean times less lean by creating a passive income stream.

You don’t want to have to sell 300 copies just to make your rate on the time you put in.
My goal with selling sound effects packs is to make the lean times less lean by creating a passive income stream.

The quicker you can break even on a collection, the quicker you start realizing the benefits of passive income.

There are some costs associated with selling your packs beyond just the time you spend and gear required.

You have to have a web shop set up to sell the stuff so there could be web/graphic design fees. Hosting costs money. You’ll need to set up a merchant account so you can address issues like accepting credit cards, Paypal, worldwide currency among other concerns. A merchant account will take a small percentage on every transaction, price accordingly.

Additional things to think about… Your website may be hosted on servers located in Colorado or Texas. Your customer might be in the Czech Republic. To ensure reliable transfers for large files and fast rates of data transfer, you might want to consider placing your product with a worldwide storage service. Your product will be securely stored on redundant servers around the world and they will use the most efficient one for transfer to your customer.

You’ll pay a few bucks a month to store and a few bucks per transfer for a service like this, but I assure you that your customers will be thankful that your 3GB collection of sounds won’t take three days to download.

In the end, you aren’t really selling sound effects. You’re selling a license to use your sound effects.

I would encourage you to talk to an attorney or use a legal service like Legal Zoom for getting an End User License Agreement for your sound packs. You want to protect yourself and your intellectual property from those that are looking to take advantage.

Among other things, your EULA should be clear in how your customer is allowed to use the sounds that are purchased.

It should also be clear as to how many customers are allowed to use the collection per purchase. You really should have two license agreements. One for single user and one for multiple users.
 

Conclusion

Don’t expect to pull in thousands of dollars immediately with your first sound pack, especially if you are currently toiling in relative obscurity. Ben Burtt could probably rake it in with his very first pack, you probably will not.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!

It may take a few collections before you start seeing profits. If you use your collections as a way to fill holes in your schedule you’ll start to have more and more offerings.

Having a diverse portfolio of products gives you more credibility. If your products are high quality and contain unique sounds people will start to notice.

Try giving away a few free copies to trusted friends, colleagues or people whose work you admire. They’ll use your sounds on projects and your stuff will be heard. Their colleagues might take notice and inquire where the sounds came from.

Word of mouth is very powerful. The more people that are familiar with your product, the more apt you are to sell it or other products. You never know who is looking for exactly what you are selling.

This could be a chance for you to try new things you haven’t tried before. You could use it as a personal showcase for your abilities beyond the usual projects you encounter. Maybe you’ve been pigeon holed into weapons or vehicles on your last three jobs.

Releasing a sound pack could give you a chance to show what you can do with creatures or environments.

Remember, make it something you’d want to purchase yourself. And, most of all have fun with it! No one tells us to “SHHHHHHH” so why not get out there and make some noise?

 

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About Mark Camperell:

Mark Camperell is the Founder & Creative Director at Empty Sea Audio and its sister company,
The Library by Empty Sea. Mark’s direction, along with his ability to assemble uniquely talented audio teams, is positioning Empty Sea as a leader in creative audio services ranging from sound effects libraries to original music composition to full service post audio packages. In addition to his position at Empty Sea, Mark is also a freelance Supervising Sound Designer, Re-Recording Mixer and Music Producer with over 100 titles under his belt. Mark is an active member of the Motion Picture Sound Editors and Motion Picture Editors Guild.

The Library by Empty Sea:

  • Drones & Moods Dronos Play Track 154 sounds included, 154 mins total $25

    Brand New Sci-Fi Ambiences from The Library by Empty Sea. 6+ GB, 150+ sounds, almost 3 hours of material, all 96k, all looped for easy use.

    Add to cart
  • Foley Gateway – Part 1, 2 & 3 Play Track 600-3200+ sounds included From: $25

    Tired of those same old door knobs and hinge squeaks that you hear in every single game, film and TV show? Well, Gateway aims to remedy that issue while providing you with a brand new palette of sounds.

    Gateway comes packed with doors, doors and more doors! Low end, high end, slow horror creaks and squeaks, huge slams and impacts, tiny compartment doors.

    The Gateway family now includes the just-released Gateway Part 3, with more than 1400 new sounds.

    Doors, gates, overhead rollups, cabinets, closets, drawers, garage doors, fireplaces, sheds, you name it!

    Latches and knobs, wrought iron and chain link! Metal, wood, glass and MORE! All of these doors were acoustically captured in the real world. You won’t find anything synthesized here!

    Did we mention doors? Yeah, Gateway has those too.

    Gateway Part 1 features 675 files, 1200+ sounds

    Gateway Part 2 features 365 files, 600+ sounds

    Gateway Part 3 features 772 files, 1400+ sounds

    The Gateway 1-3 Bundle features 1812 files, 3200+ sounds

    Special offer:Do you already have Gateway Part 1 or 2? Send a message here for a special upgrade offer for part 3.

    Choose your preferred version below – or land some great savings by getting all three in one handy package!

  • Mechanical Robobiotics Play Track 3600+ sounds included $120

    Robobiotics is an exciting new sound effects collection from The Library by Empty Sea. It delivers 3600+ original sound effects for scifi and robots. We’re talking about almost 3 hours of material here.

    We spent over a year recording and designing Lasers, Robot Vox, Impacts, Servos, Ratcheting Metal, Ambiances, Transformations, Foley, Vehicle Bys and much much more!

    Add to cart
  • Sea Monsters from The Library by Empty Sea is a collection containing over 4000 sound effects for creature vocals. This collection weighs in at a whopping 9GB!

    A must-have for any sound designer looking to level up on creature sound design.

    Add to cart
  • User Interface (UI) Ui One Play Track 1400 sounds included $35

    This collection contains over 1400 original sound effects for user interfaces, telemetry, gadgetry and more.

    Add to cart
 
 
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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:
 
 
  • Roomtones & Ext. Ambiences House Tones Play Track 57+ sounds included, 114 mins total $40

    House Tones by Badlands Sound features 57 two minute seamless loopable roomtones totaling of almost two hours of different room tones found in a home including Bathrooms, Basements, Bedrooms, Closets, Garages, Home Offices, Laundry Rooms, Kitchens, Living Rooms, Showers, and Utility Room.

    This sound library was recorded with professional gear including the Sound Devices 702t, Rycote ORTF, and a pair of Sennheiser MKH 8040’s creating high quality roomtones of 96k / 24 bit.

    If you are looking for house or apartment room tones then this library is for you. All files in this product have great file names and metadata with descriptive words with no number lists.

    Add to cart
  • Whooshes Airy Whooshes Play Track 409 sounds included $29

    Over 400 focused sound design accents of airy swooshes, subtle swipes, thin whooshes, and breathy fly-ins.

    This collection features:

    • Each clip is trimmed into its own file.
    • Available in multiple pitches and speeds.
    • Meticulously named and organized in both metadata and folder classification.
    • Includes 18+ fields of professional Soundminer, BWAV, and MacOS Finder metadata.
    Add to cart
  • Destruction & Impact Urban Explosions Play Track 2417+ sounds included From: $119

    Welcome to the world's biggest explosion sound effects library:

    When you carry the word „BOOM“ in your company name, your first dedicated explosion sound effects library should be a decent one. For the recordings, we teamed up with the sound department of EA DICE (Battlefield, Star Wars Battlefront) and we created the biggest explosion sound FX library ever. DICE uses the recordings heavily to impressively blow up the world in their AAA title Battlefield V and now you can get the recordings and our ready-to-use designed sounds in stereo and 5.1 surround for your very own projects. It’s a highly explosive pack with 13.4GB of explosion sound effects.

    Urban Explosions Construction Kit:

    Recorded in real urban environments
    Why Urban Explosions? Most explosions in movies, games or trailers don’t happen out on a plain field, they happen in urban environments with buildings around them that shape the character of the explosion sound in a very specific way. The special thing about our urban explosions sound FX library is that it has been recorded in a real urban environment, so you get super-realistic reverbs and tails instead of artificially processed post-production reverbs or tails that don’t sound urban at all. For the sake of completeness, we also recorded a non-urban explosion on a plain field, so you’re covered here as well.

    Multi-Channel Recordings with up to 42 Channels
    We had a lot of microphones with us and we placed them in all possible positions around the explosion spot. We have very close mics, close mics, medium distance mics, distant mics, mics in front of buildings, mics behind buildings, mics inside of buildings. Each explosion in the URBAN EXPLOSIONS CONSTRUCTION KIT comes with a minimum of 24 channels, including a 4 channel ambisonic file, so you can simply drag all channels to your DAW and easily mix the sound exactly as you want.

    Sweeteners
    You’re looking for a more supernatural sound or your mix misses a bit of impact, smack, punch, tail, cackling, rumbling or character? No problem, the CONSTRUCTION KIT has a lot of great high-quality sweeteners that will easily enrich your mix in the desired way.

    Urban Explosions Designed:

    Incredibly versatile
    Our DESIGNED edition comes with a myriad of ready-to-use explosion sound FX in the categories INDOOR, NEUTRAL & URBAN, each of them in SMALL, MEDIUM & LARGE explosion sizes. Beyond that, you have the choice between MEDIUM and FAR distances, FAST or SLOW explosions and a MODERN, SOFT, CRISP or DISTORTED character. With this range of sounds, you’re certainly sure to find the right one for your scene.

    Stereo & 5.1 Surround
    In addition to the stereo version our sound designers created 5.1 surround versions for each sound so you are fully prepared to implement your creative surround vision with ease.

    Designed by 4 Award-Winning Sound Designers
    We consider sound design as a craftsmanship and we’re very happy and proud to rely on the talent of four awesome sound designers that really know their trade.

    Urban Explosions Bundle:

    THE BUNDLE – The best of both worlds at a discounted price
    The Bundle gives you the full sound design power as it contains both – the DESIGNED and the CONSTRUCTION KIT edition at a discounted price.

 
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
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    Need to create suspense, tension, action and mystery in your production? “The Case” is great for you.

    Like my library UNSOLVED this pack is Inspired by crime/investigation movies and series, and contains 185 sounds (Wav, 24 Bit / 48 kHz) aimed to enhance the tension and drama of movies, games, series, trailers and musical compositions.

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    SONIKSCAPE has been produced to create intense underscore, dark atmospheres and abstract textures.

    This collection comes packed with cinematic soundscapes, vocal atmospheres, textures out of processed flutes, ghost breaths and vocal effects, dark low oscillations and subsonic frequencies, bowed cymbals, psychological screech and more.

    Dedicated to the movie trailer, suspenseful film and television soundtrack, dark ambient music, audio-visual installation and sound artist.

    Sonikscape is a collaboration between SampleTraxx and German sound designer Sebastian Emling who already collaborated on Cinematic Zither and Old Broken Piano.

  • Destruction & Impact Rituals Play Track 550+ sounds included, 100 mins total $110 $85

    Rituals is a new toolbox of unique sounds and production elements, organic instruments and hybrid processing, highly stylized cinematic sound design to compose epic and sinister tracks with dark and ominous mood that brings visuals to another level.

    Rituals has been produced for the modern horror trailer style and suspence score with eerie violin fragments and phrases, sinister soundscapes, dramatic benders, destructive glitch, distorted synths, heavy hitting sound design elements, clocks and much more.

    Featuring 550 cutting edge sounds and 16 categories, this is a collaboration between composer, sound designer and electronic musician Si Begg and SampleTraxx.

     

    Categories:

    01 Tortured Strings
    02 Bender
    03 Feedback Larsen
    04 Horror Hits
    05 Pulsing Sub
    06 Tonal Objects
    07 Dark Event
    08 Dark Textures
    09 Flute Swells
    10 Horror Loops
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    13 Swell
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  • Water & Oceans Ancient Sea Ruins Play Track 10 sounds included, 53 mins total $19.99 $14.99

    ANCIENT SEA RUINS is a collection of 10, high quality, detail-rich sea ambiences.
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    Collection consist of 10 (53 min total time) high quality recordings (192kHz 24bit) of sea water traveling through old Roman ruins. Interesting and unique sounding wave patterns, gurgles, swells and wave collapsing onto one another. Many states of the sea from peaceful lapping and subtle gurgling to large swells.

    All the recording are free from city noises.

    All SFX have baked-in Soundminer’s meta data.

    LOCATION: Costa Blanca, ES
    RECORDED WITH: Sound Devices MixPre 6 + 2x Sennheiser MKH 8040 (ORTF)
    EDITED AND MASTERED WITH: Pro Tools, FabFilter.

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    SHORES island edition features both varieties of beaches and cliffs from Oshima island, Japan, and extra harbors & boats are also included.
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    Recorded with ortf, spaced omni, wide A-B and carefully edited.

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