Asbjoern Andersen


The following is 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:
 
Behold, the sound effects library. The only library I know of where you won’t be told to “SHHHHHHH.” What a glorious notion!

For sound designers in search of source material, there are so many options to choose from.

On one side, you have the big boys like The Hollywood Edge, Blastwave FX, Sound Dogs and Sound Ideas. And on the other side there are small, independent producers like Rabbit Ears Audio, A Hiss and A Roar, Unidentified Sound Object and Echo Collective. And there are all the others in between.

If you’ve made the decision to join the ranks of the sound designers out there that are releasing independent sound libraries, you’ve probably got a lot of a questions on your mind.

I aim to address some of these questions and hopefully provide some guidance for folks looking to explore the entrepreneurial world of independent sound effects libraries.

Hopefully, I encourage you to get out there and do it!
 

What to do, what to do?

The first hurdle to clear when releasing a collection of sounds is deciding what to record or create. This can be quite daunting because really, the sky is the limit.

There are two schools of thought in regards to the what: Create something that people need a lot of, or create something that is extremely unique and hard to find/duplicate.

Starting out, try something that you have relatively easy access to. You could have an uncle that’s a marine officer and can get you onto base to record some maneuvers. Or you could have a friend that has a fully restored, hot-rodded ’57 Chevy that sounds killer!

Chances are, you know someone that can get you around something that sounds cool. When you’re starting out, you don’t necessarily want to have to shell out a bunch of dough just to get access to something awesome. If you settle on something that isn’t exactly unique, then make it something that is created in a unique or different way.

Most importantly of all though, make it something that you would want to buy and use yourself!

If you’re going the designed route, make sure you’re starting with source material that you have ownership of.

Notice, I keep saying create. Sound libraries don’t always have to be raw sounds recorded in the field. They can be designed or synthesized also. If you’re going the designed route, make sure you’re starting with source material that you have ownership of.

When it comes to sound libraries that you sell, you should ONLY design with sounds that you record yourself. This protects from any legal woes down the line.

 

Now the how

This is a delicate topic. Ask ten different sound designers which mic to use for a particular application and you’re liable get ten different answers.

I’ve always been of the school of thought that if you capture an interesting sound or performance, the quality of the gear shouldn’t matter as much as some would like you to think. Some folks get all caught up on the specs of the gear that they’re using.

Focus your energy on capturing interesting sounds in a way that makes the most sense.

Don’t worry about your gear. Focus your energy on capturing interesting sounds in a way that makes the most sense.

I’ve got a whole folder of stuff that I recorded with my smartphone’s built-in microphone, the contents of which regularly make it into projects I’m working on. Not the most ideal, but if it’s a cool sound, it’s a cool sound and I’ll find a way to use it. Okay, getting off the soapbox…

Some collections will beg for multiple perspectives.

Car collections for instance might have 6+ channels of material being captured at once. A collection of switches and buttons might only need 1 or 2 channels. 6 channels would be overkill. Be smart and efficient with regards to your gear choices.

 

Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:

 
  • Environments High Desert Ambiences Play Track 50+ sounds included, 94 mins total $29

    In High Desert Ambiences, get the desolately beautiful sounds of the American Southwest as the sun brings to life the songs of desert wildlife. This collection features sounds that will make you fall in love with the desert with the trickling of distant rivers, smooth cricket chirps, echoey caws from ravens so close you can hear the details in their wings flaps, snorts from a cautious yet curious mule deer, choruses of birds at dawn, and much more. Most recordings are well over 4 minutes, with one half-hour night-time track that will make you want to take out your tent immediately. For lush, peaceful nature sounds from the heart of the American Southwest, here’s High Desert Ambiences.


    Key Features:
    • Featured on Designing Sound: “Our Favorite Sounds of 2016
    • Desert dawn and evening choruses
    • Distant flowing river, songbirds, and insects
    • Ravens soaring and squawking in a stark and resonant valley
    • Lengthy night-time cricket chorus
    • Partially audible and ultrasonic bat clicks up to 70kHz
    • Ghostly distant animal calls
    • Mule deer warning snorts and jumping movement
    • Files ranging from 31 seconds to 30 minutes
    • Rio Grande dawn chorus along the Texas/Mexico river border
    • Locations: Near Marfa, Texas (in a mountain valley at an altitude of 6,000 ft) and Big Bend National Park along the Rio Grande River, Texas/Mexico border.
    • These desert ambiences are extremely quiet, so I have included descriptive markers to signal interesting events in an otherwise featureless waveform. These markers can be read in programs such as RX, Reaper, and Soundminer. The markers are also included as .txt files in the sound files folder.

    ambiences_markers

    Gear Used:
    Sennheiser MKH 50/30 MS pair
    Mid/Side recordings decoded to LR stereo
    Sound Devices 702
    Rycote AG MS Blimp

  • City Life Berlin Balcony Play Track 6+ sounds included, 131 mins total $29 $8

    Traffic and city atmospheres recorded from a balcony in Berlin at different times and weather conditions.

    More than 130 minutes of ambiences included!

    72% off
  • Cinematic Hits & Transitions features 120 cinematic, epic, heavy, impacts and hits + 100 scary, haunting, transitions and movements

    Ideal for your movie and game trailers!

    50% off

Introducing SOUNDLISTER - the place to find audio professionals:
 
Are you an audio professional? Or are you looking for audio pros for you project?
Be sure to check out Soundlister - you'll find 100s of audio professionals there already.
Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

I always like to map out my collections up front so I know if I can accomplish my goal with the gear I already possess or if I need to rent additional equipment.

If you’re in the field, choose only the essential gear you need to get the job done. Don’t load up your 50 pound car battery if you know you’re not going to need it. Remember that limitations can be helpful.

I often times will only give myself 2 channels to work with. It forces me to use my ears to find the sweet-spot which in the end can result in a better recording.

Try miking things in unusual ways. Try contact miking. Don’t just record an interesting sounding item, try recording it in a unique setting. Try miking the item underwater or in a giant culvert.
 

Coverage is king

When you’ve decided on what you’re recording, record ALL of it.

Just like with shooting video or film, you want coverage on the item. Especially if it’s an item that was difficult to gain access to. You don’t want to have to go back later because you missed something.

Obviously there are limitations to this, but do your best.

If you’ve settled on releasing a car sound pack, make sure you’re recording EVERY single sound the car makes. Get the hood, doors and trunk opening and closing. Get all of the locks, handles, knobs, buttons and sliders. Get all of its compartments.

 

I can’t emphasize this enough, GET IT ALL!

How about the windshield wipers? Gas tank? Turn signal sound? Radio static? Fan belts, why not?

There is so much more to a car than just the engine, wheel-wells and tailpipe. I can’t emphasize this enough, GET IT ALL!

Yeah, it’ll make for a lot of material to sift through later, but you’ll be thankful you have it. You might not use it all for this particular pack, but you might use it for another release later on!

With some smaller objects and only if you can afford it, you should even consider purposefully misusing the item at the very end to produce malfunction, damage or destruction sounds.

These are always unique and so many games and films feature destruction, so you know they’ll come in handy.
 

Read part two of this guide, where Mark Camperell takes a look at the post processing and the delicate art of pricing your sound effect library.

Jump to part two
 

Please share this:


 

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

    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.

  • 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!

    Sale!
  • Mechanical Robobiotics Play Track 3600+ sounds included

    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!

  • 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.

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

 
 
FOLLOW OR SUBSCRIBE FOR THE LATEST IN FANTASTIC SOUND:
 
                              
 
GET THE MUCH-LOVED A SOUND EFFECT NEWSLETTER + 40 FREE SFX:
Just enter your details below to get the newsletter and free sound effects (soundlist):
 
 
THE WORLD’S EASIEST WAY TO GET INDEPENDENT SOUND EFFECTS:
 
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:
 
  • Human Swordfighter Play Track 479 sounds included

    Swordfighter is a robust package with sharp sounding swords, heaps of variations and all the extras you need to make a fight come alive. Build unique sword swings with various hits, swooshes, schings, different fighter vocals and impacts on various surfaces. All up there are 137 sword sounds, 93 surface impact sounds, 15 knife throwing sounds, 48 swooshes and 180 fighter vocals.

    This version includes two sub-folders: one optimised for a film & TV workflow and the other optimised for video games workflow. Plus a few bonus sounds of a charging army.

  • Environments High Desert Ambiences Play Track 50+ sounds included, 94 mins total

    In High Desert Ambiences, get the desolately beautiful sounds of the American Southwest as the sun brings to life the songs of desert wildlife. This collection features sounds that will make you fall in love with the desert with the trickling of distant rivers, smooth cricket chirps, echoey caws from ravens so close you can hear the details in their wings flaps, snorts from a cautious yet curious mule deer, choruses of birds at dawn, and much more. Most recordings are well over 4 minutes, with one half-hour night-time track that will make you want to take out your tent immediately. For lush, peaceful nature sounds from the heart of the American Southwest, here’s High Desert Ambiences.


    Key Features:
    • Featured on Designing Sound: “Our Favorite Sounds of 2016
    • Desert dawn and evening choruses
    • Distant flowing river, songbirds, and insects
    • Ravens soaring and squawking in a stark and resonant valley
    • Lengthy night-time cricket chorus
    • Partially audible and ultrasonic bat clicks up to 70kHz
    • Ghostly distant animal calls
    • Mule deer warning snorts and jumping movement
    • Files ranging from 31 seconds to 30 minutes
    • Rio Grande dawn chorus along the Texas/Mexico river border
    • Locations: Near Marfa, Texas (in a mountain valley at an altitude of 6,000 ft) and Big Bend National Park along the Rio Grande River, Texas/Mexico border.
    • These desert ambiences are extremely quiet, so I have included descriptive markers to signal interesting events in an otherwise featureless waveform. These markers can be read in programs such as RX, Reaper, and Soundminer. The markers are also included as .txt files in the sound files folder.

    ambiences_markers

    Gear Used:
    Sennheiser MKH 50/30 MS pair
    Mid/Side recordings decoded to LR stereo
    Sound Devices 702
    Rycote AG MS Blimp

  • Mechanical Clink Play Track 46+ sounds included

    Clink gets you the sound of of clicks, latches and whirrs generated from a little found Herschede Starville clock mechanism.

    Each take is loaded up with unique performances that explore the mechanism’s unique character from up-close.

    Recorded in a quiet space with an MKH50 through a John Hardy preamp, this libary is small but mighty. Also included is a NI Battery 4 kit that is programmed to enhance the best characteristics of the source material by doing transient enhancement, eq, delay and compression that can be dialed in to taste.

    Note: NI Battery 4 is required to use the kit – not included. You don't need any version of Battery to use the audio files as a standalone sample library.

    These recordings are excellent for adding character and complexity to your next mechanical element design.

Explore the full, unique collection here
 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.