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:

 

Latest releases:  
  • Environments Head West Play Track 57+ sounds included, 133 mins total $35.99 incl. vat

    Nature and ambiance recordings across Ohio, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming.

    Including the Great Lakes, meadows, the Dakota Badlands (Both North and South) Wyoming mountains, Yellowstone geysers and mud pots, Bison, Prairie dogs, and birds.

    Take a 2000 mile aural road trip across the Midwest and west.

    Gear Used: Recorded with a Sound Devices 702, Tascam DR680, and Zoom H1, using Sennheiser MKH 30/40 Mid Side, Sennheiser MKH 20 spaced omnis, Sennheiser MKH8040 ORTF and XY, Sanken CSS5.

    Add to cart
  • Environments Singapore City Soundscapes Play Track 122 sounds included, 327 mins total $60 $46.80 incl. vat

    Welcome to A Sound Effect first ever Singapore Sound Effects library!

    Explore Singapore as you've never heard it before! This massive library includes ambisonic sounds recorded with the new Zoom H3 VR, binaural recordings with the Soundman OKM II Rock Studio and stereo soundscapes recorded with the Zoom F8n, DPA 4060 and several LOM microphones.

    The diversity of Singapore makes this library unique with lush sounds from busy highways, crowded food markets/ hawker centers in many different languages, neighborhood basketball games at night, skateparks, horse races, city rain sounds, the countries super efficient underground train station (MRT), and even loud military fighter jets and helicopters.

    Perhaps you're wanting nature sounds? No problem! This library features sounds from a variety of cicadas recorded at night and birds from the famous Javan Mynah near Mount Faber.

    With nearly six hours of recordings throughout Singapore, we suggest reviewing the metadata and discovering sounds you may not have expected!

    22 %
    OFF
    Ends 1551308400
    Add to cart
  • The first in a series of WW Audio SFX Sample Packs. This is Volume 1 – General SFX and contains 90 high quality, professional random, sometimes eclectic sound effects for your theatre or film projects.

    Sounds include, Airbus A380 flying overhead, ancient well handle, audience applause, bar bell, bbq, fireworks, spooky walking with chains, various sound design elements, footsteps, various birds, wind and rain, motor bike starting and driving off, metal door unlocking and opening, police helicopter, radio interference, sledging, comedy farts and burps, various domestic foley sounds, footsteps and much more.

    All files include Soundminer, ID3v2.3.0 and Riff Info metadata embedded into the files to make for easy searching in your database of choice.

    Add to cart
  • Foley Realistic Snow Footsteps Play Track 347 sounds included, 4 mins total $36 incl. vat

    Mini pack of natural snow foley! Frozen type, individual sounds. Cleaned and gated, ready for fast usage.

    Few useful sound effects sets of realistic snow footsteps. Non-classic sounding, frozen type snow of ski slopes and paths. Included bonus walking on the snowy wooden bridge. Individual, cleaned and gated footsteps with clarity. Sounds are fully without clothing noises, usage with people moving foley is recomended, so it is pretty universal and elastic.

    Recorded with Sennheiser MKH 416 from 40cm distance. Great usage for foley sampling, midi, game audio and more.

    Add to cart
  • Animals & Creatures Mutant Insects – Flying Play Track 477+ sounds included $82.80 $49.68 incl. vat

    Red Libraries teamed up with the sound designers Frederic Devanlay and Thibault Csukonyi to create the new “Mutant Insects” collection

    The library gathers a wide range of oversized wings for equally-oversized designed flying insects, along with an extremely rich toolbox. It allows you to quickly and easily create every flying creatures and mutants you have in mind, but also sweeten or emphasize details with natural layers for real-life documentaries, games or feature films.

    These insects are more impressive than in real life by their size and the noise made when flying.
    So we called them “MUTANT Insects”.
    And why not also use it for bird wings…

    8 different species are featured : Fly, Hornet, Grasshopper, Beetle, Moth, Gnat, Rhino Beetle, Dragonfly.

    The movements offered are Idles (loop), Passes by, Swirling Evolutions (loop), Swarms (loop), Abrupt Movements (take flights, attacks, spasms…)

    These evolutions have been created with the help of the Traveler plugin by Tonsturm, and the Sound Particles software by Sound Particles.

    Presets for Sound Particles and Traveler are included in the pack. Many thanks to Tilman Hahn and Nuno Fonseca.

    The toolbox will allow to imagine your own mutants or to just simply create real insects, With natural layers such as hummings or different appearances to made wing strokes.

    40 %
    OFF
    Add to cart

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
 

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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 $30 incl. vat

    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: $30

    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 $144 incl. vat

    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
  • Animals & Creatures Sea Monsters Play Track 4000 sounds included $78 incl. vat

    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 $42 incl. vat

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

    Add to cart
 
 
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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:
 
 
  • Roomtones & Ext. Ambiences House Tones Play Track 57+ sounds included, 114 mins total $48 incl. vat

    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
  • Industrial Factory Tones Play Track 17+ sounds included $18 incl. vat

    Factory Tones by Badlands Sound features 17 two minute seamless loopable roomtones, making these a breeze to work with – perfect for your projects.

    I was able to capture all these sounds with no one there so these are just factory room tones that are steady with very little movement or noises from the outside world. All sounds are available to hear in the products audio demo.

    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 factory room tones or looking for bigger tones and beds to fill the scene then this library is for you. All files in this product have great file names and metadata.

    Add to cart
  • Game Audio Packs & Bundles Gamemaster Pro Sound Collection Play Track 8076 sounds included, 189 mins total
    Rated 5.00 out of 5
    $54 incl. vat

    Pro Sound Collection is the highest quality and most affordable sound library you will find. The ultimate collection of 8076 ready to use sound effects!!!

    This is the perfect collection of sounds for all types of sound designers, game developers and video editors who need a large range of high quality sound effects ready to use. Designed specifically for games, film and other media by award winning sound designers.

    What’s included? EVERY sound Gamemaster Audio ever made! ALL our other other sound libraries (plus other sounds) have been packed into in this amazing sound collection.

    Pro Sound Collection Includes:
    Animal Sounds $25
    Explosion Sound Pack $10
    Footstep and Foley Sounds $10
    Fun Casual Sounds $15
    Fun Character Voices $10
    Gun Sound Pack $19
    Guns, Bullets and Explosions $35
    Human Vocalizations $25
    Magic and Spell Sounds $25
    Punch and Combat Sounds $29
    Retro 8 Bit Sounds $15
    Sci-Fi Sounds and Sci-Fi Weapons $25
    Silenced Gun Sounds $25
    Troll Monster Vocalizations $10

    Total value $278!!!

    Sound Categories:

    • Alarms • Ambience • Animals • Beeps • Bullets • Buttons • Cartoon • Cinematic • Collectibles • Comedy • Doors • Electricity • Explosions • Fire • Foley • Footsteps • Guns • Hums • Items • Levers • Magic • Misc. • Nature • Powerups • Punches • Retro/8Bit • Sci-Fi • Snow / Ice • Switches • User Interface • Voice • Water • Weapons • Whooshes + MANY MORE!

    Add to cart
 
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • Environments Head West Play Track 57+ sounds included, 133 mins total $35.99 incl. vat

    Nature and ambiance recordings across Ohio, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming.

    Including the Great Lakes, meadows, the Dakota Badlands (Both North and South) Wyoming mountains, Yellowstone geysers and mud pots, Bison, Prairie dogs, and birds.

    Take a 2000 mile aural road trip across the Midwest and west.

    Gear Used: Recorded with a Sound Devices 702, Tascam DR680, and Zoom H1, using Sennheiser MKH 30/40 Mid Side, Sennheiser MKH 20 spaced omnis, Sennheiser MKH8040 ORTF and XY, Sanken CSS5.

  • Environments Singapore City Soundscapes Play Track 122 sounds included, 327 mins total $60 $46.80 incl. vat

    Welcome to A Sound Effect first ever Singapore Sound Effects library!

    Explore Singapore as you've never heard it before! This massive library includes ambisonic sounds recorded with the new Zoom H3 VR, binaural recordings with the Soundman OKM II Rock Studio and stereo soundscapes recorded with the Zoom F8n, DPA 4060 and several LOM microphones.

    The diversity of Singapore makes this library unique with lush sounds from busy highways, crowded food markets/ hawker centers in many different languages, neighborhood basketball games at night, skateparks, horse races, city rain sounds, the countries super efficient underground train station (MRT), and even loud military fighter jets and helicopters.

    Perhaps you're wanting nature sounds? No problem! This library features sounds from a variety of cicadas recorded at night and birds from the famous Javan Mynah near Mount Faber.

    With nearly six hours of recordings throughout Singapore, we suggest reviewing the metadata and discovering sounds you may not have expected!

    22 %
    OFF
    Ends 1551308400
  • The first in a series of WW Audio SFX Sample Packs. This is Volume 1 – General SFX and contains 90 high quality, professional random, sometimes eclectic sound effects for your theatre or film projects.

    Sounds include, Airbus A380 flying overhead, ancient well handle, audience applause, bar bell, bbq, fireworks, spooky walking with chains, various sound design elements, footsteps, various birds, wind and rain, motor bike starting and driving off, metal door unlocking and opening, police helicopter, radio interference, sledging, comedy farts and burps, various domestic foley sounds, footsteps and much more.

    All files include Soundminer, ID3v2.3.0 and Riff Info metadata embedded into the files to make for easy searching in your database of choice.

  • Foley Realistic Snow Footsteps Play Track 347 sounds included, 4 mins total $36 incl. vat

    Mini pack of natural snow foley! Frozen type, individual sounds. Cleaned and gated, ready for fast usage.

    Few useful sound effects sets of realistic snow footsteps. Non-classic sounding, frozen type snow of ski slopes and paths. Included bonus walking on the snowy wooden bridge. Individual, cleaned and gated footsteps with clarity. Sounds are fully without clothing noises, usage with people moving foley is recomended, so it is pretty universal and elastic.

    Recorded with Sennheiser MKH 416 from 40cm distance. Great usage for foley sampling, midi, game audio and more.

  • Animals & Creatures Mutant Insects – Flying Play Track 477+ sounds included $82.80 $49.68 incl. vat

    Red Libraries teamed up with the sound designers Frederic Devanlay and Thibault Csukonyi to create the new “Mutant Insects” collection

    The library gathers a wide range of oversized wings for equally-oversized designed flying insects, along with an extremely rich toolbox. It allows you to quickly and easily create every flying creatures and mutants you have in mind, but also sweeten or emphasize details with natural layers for real-life documentaries, games or feature films.

    These insects are more impressive than in real life by their size and the noise made when flying.
    So we called them “MUTANT Insects”.
    And why not also use it for bird wings…

    8 different species are featured : Fly, Hornet, Grasshopper, Beetle, Moth, Gnat, Rhino Beetle, Dragonfly.

    The movements offered are Idles (loop), Passes by, Swirling Evolutions (loop), Swarms (loop), Abrupt Movements (take flights, attacks, spasms…)

    These evolutions have been created with the help of the Traveler plugin by Tonsturm, and the Sound Particles software by Sound Particles.

    Presets for Sound Particles and Traveler are included in the pack. Many thanks to Tilman Hahn and Nuno Fonseca.

    The toolbox will allow to imagine your own mutants or to just simply create real insects, With natural layers such as hummings or different appearances to made wing strokes.

    40 %
    OFF

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