Michael Coleman The Soundworks Collection Asbjoern Andersen

Few sites have done so much for the sound community as The Soundworks Collection. With their fantastic sound profiles, they've taken the art and craft of film sound and game audio creation, and made it accessible to a much larger audience.

So it's a huge pleasure to feature Michael Coleman, founder of The Soundworks Collection, in this special community highlight. Get the story behind The Soundworks Collection, hear about Michael Coleman's favorite moments running it - and watch some of the (many!) excellent Soundworks Collection features:

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Hi Michael, how did you come up with the idea for The Soundworks Collection, how did you get it off the ground – and who’s the team behind it today?

In September of 2009, myself and my high school filmmaking friend Michael Tucker were discussing our interest to produce short behind-the-scenes videos about sound in Hollywood films. We wanted to create videos about the individuals and sound teams who were working on inspiring projects and discuss their creative process.

I had also been working with Tom Kenny at Mix Magazine for many years producing web videos mainly covering projects in the Bay Area and expressed my interest to cover other sound studios. Tom put me in touch with many of the sound studios in LA that had exciting projects coming out that year including Watchmen, Star Trek, 2012, Inglorious Basterds and Terminator Salvation.

My team today is the same team I have had since starting the series

I created a very basic website and started posting these videos online and shared them with the online sound community. It was exciting because the videos were getting a lot of attention and featured on websites like Wired, Gizmodo, Boing Boing, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

My team today is the same team I have had since starting the series, which includes myself and a handful of friends who help me out on various video shoots and a very talented web design and coding team.

What’s been one of the most exciting moments running The Soundworks Collection?

I feel very fortunate to have met so many incredible people all over the world who have seen my work through the series.

Getting an email from Hans Zimmer never gets old

It has been a lot of fun to meet and work with some of my heroes, including Ben Burtt, Hans Zimmer, Darren Aronofsky, Trent Reznor, Metallica and J.J. Abrams. Also getting an email from Hans Zimmer never gets old.

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The Soundworks Collection feature on the sound for Interstellar

How do you decide what projects to feature, and what’s the typical workflow behind the making of a sound profile?

I tend to profile projects that I’m personally inspired by, which could because of the subject matter or the people working on the project. I think that it’s easier for me to feel like I’m representing the project in my videos or audio podcasts when I’m excited about the projects and people behind them.

I usually shoot interviews with the sound and music teams a few weeks before a film might be coming, while they are finishing up their mixes on the sound stage.

I usually shoot interviews with the sound and music teams a few weeks before a film might be coming, while they are finishing up their mixes on the sound stage. I find that they have a better perspective on the project and their work when they are in the final stages of the mix. I typically spend approx. 3-5 days to edit and produce a 10-minute video profile which I also color correct and mix in my home studio.

If a video is going to be featured on a home blu-ray release I will have it mixed in a studio by a friend to make sure it translates on a home system. I feel fortunate to have several of my videos included on such releases as director Brett Morgen’s, The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane, director Cameron Crowe and Producer Morgan Neville’s, Pearl Jam Twenty, director John M. Chu’s, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Director J.C. Chandor’s, All is Lost, director Michael Bay’s, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, director Nimrod Antal’s, Metallica: Through the Never

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The Soundworks Collection feature on foley artist Gary Hecker – the most popular video on the site

What’s one of your favorite profiles you’ve done so far? And what’s been the most successful one in terms of reach and general interest?

The most popular video on the website is about foley artist Gary Hecker which has 615K plays and all of my videos about the sound of Christopher Nolan or Michael Bay films do incredibly well.

I had a lot of fun creating videos with Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryan for the Transformers movies including a gun record trip. Also the Dark Knight videos with Richard King have been exciting to produce including the extensive sound libraries they build for each film.

I also really enjoy covering the music focused docs like PJ20 with Pearl Jam, Metallica: Through the Never and Montage of Heck about Curt Cobain and Nirvana.

The team has also branched out into podcasts – here’s an audio feature on the sound for Spider-Man: Homecoming

Any particularly interesting experiences you’ve had making of one of the profiles?

It was incredibly fun to spend a week with the sound team and Peter Jackson as they dialed in their mix

For my video profile on the sound/music of The Hobbit, I worked with Dolby to feature the early Atmos mix work the sound team was doing in Wellington, New Zealand at Park Road Post. It was incredibly fun to spend a week with the sound team and Peter Jackson and many late nights as they dialed in their mix before the world premiere.

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The Soundworks Collection feature on the sound for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

You’ve been paying attention to the film and game sound industries for quite a while now. What trends are you noticing? And what really excites you within the world of sound at the moment?

It is exciting to see more people and studios embrace immersive sound formats that are making their way into VR, video games, films and music. I think there will be a lot of opportunities and growth when it comes to immersive formats and unique listening spaces.

I think there will be a lot of opportunities and growth when it comes to immersive formats and unique listening spaces

My hope is that speaker technology and theater playback quality will get better as the audience seeks out better movie watching experiences that reflect what is happening on the mix stages.

Translation is always going to be challenging when you have so many various deliverables and mobile devices that people are now consuming content.

How can readers support The Soundworks Collection?

Spread the word and tell your friends! My goal from the beginning is to make all of the content free, so the website is supported through advertisers and content sponsors.

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The SoundWorks Collection feature on the sound and music of Resident Evil 7

What’s next for you and the site?

I’m working on a complete website redesign that will help readers explore more of the video and audio content that has been produced over the years. There is a huge archive of videos that I hope will become a resource for students and professionals. I’m currently completing a video profile on the sound of Blade Runner 2049 and gearing up for the upcoming awards season which is always fun to cover.

A big thanks to Michael Coleman and team for creating The Soundworks Collection and sharing the story behind it – be sure to check out the site here!


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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:
  • Ambisonics New York Day & Night Play Track 22 sounds included, 45 mins total $60
    Another way to get this library:
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    Surround Sound LAB is proud to present our 4th ambisonic library decoded and mixed in Dolby ATMOS.

    One of the greatest cities in the world, New York is always a whirlwind of activity, with famous sites at every turn and never enough time to see them all. Some people come here to enjoy the Broadway shows; others come specifically to shop; and many come simply to see the sights: the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, historic neighborhoods, and numerous world famous museums. All of them offer unique perspectives of the city. Any time of year and any time of day there are an endless array of things to see and do in New York.

    We visited New York last summer and once again, we have recorded recorded 22 beautiful tracks in ambisonic format, decoded and mixed in Dolby ATMOS at AdHoc Studios. The New York city sounds will give you the essence of the most iconic film city in the world. AmbiX First Order Ambisonic, Dolby ATMOS 7.12, 5.1 and ST files have been mastered with Pro Tools HD 2018 system are included in the package.

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  • Destruction & Impact Bodyfall vol 1-4 Play Track 929 - 3804+ sounds included From: $35

    Bodyfall is an exhaustive multi-volume sound library, designed in collaboration with prize-winning French Foley artist Florian Fabre, and recorded in the famous Hiventy foley studio.

    Each volume features 2 different falling surfaces. On each of them, sounds of different parts of the human body:

    Chest (simulated with 4 textures of distinct densities, labeled M1,M2,M3 and M4), feet, knees, and hands, have been separated.

    All recordings were made from 3 distances (close, mid, distant) with 3 strength levels (hard, medium, soft). Finally, this huge toolbox provides you with infinite combinations to make your own and unique bodyfalls.

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    Files included: 972 .WAV, stereo & mono files , 24 bit / 96 kHz (416 MB)
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    Files included: 974 .WAV, stereo & mono files, 24 bit / 96 kHz (438 MB)
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    Files included: 929 .WAV, stereo & mono files, 24 bit / 96 kHz (433 MB). No distant files for Dirt soft impacts.
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    Files included: 929 .WAV, stereo & mono files, 24 bit / 96 kHz (433 MB)
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    All files & surface variations from vol 1-4 included
  • Trains Steam Trains Play Track 175 sounds included $40

    The Steam Trains library delivers 175 sound effects of three different types of steam train engines, and the clatter, rattle, and grinding of wagons.

    The collection includes riding, idling, pass-bys, departing and arriving trains, bells, whistles, steam blasts, platform atmospheres, and doors and windows.

    Engines are the heavy Santa Fe 2-10-2, the Bavarian BB 0-4-4-0 Heavy Mallet, and a 4 Wheel Switcher 0-4-0 light railway. Also included are door and window handling effects of passenger cars

    Each engine is well documented and listed in full Soundminer metadata.

    The Steam trains library also includes a “Specification Sheet” with detailed information about the trains and environments.

    Recorded with a Schoeps MK4/MK8 MS, paired with a Sound Devices 702 recorder. Some takes provide an alternative mix with recordings from an additional Sony PCM-D recorder.

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Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
  • Mechanical Gearbox Play Track 3551 sounds included, 279 mins total $149.99

    We've ventured to obscure boutiques, prop houses and vintage shops to capture mechanical contraptions from around the world. Ranging from bizarre creations, to steampunk gadgetry, gizmos and machines, GEARBOX clocks in at over 10 GB of high definition, precision mastered sounds spanning across 2987 construction kit sounds and 584 designed sounds.

    GEARBOX equips Sound Designers with a literal toolbox of mechanical gadgetry. Ranging from tiny to huge, GEARBOX's machines and gizmos provide coverage for interacts, mechanism, machine or device in your scene or game.


    In addition to CONSTRUCTION KIT and DESIGNED SOUND content, GEARBOX features BUILDING BLOCKS. This category of sound consists of designed phrases and oneshots utilized for our designed machinery, empowering Sound Designers with maximum flexibility when trying to get that particular phrase from an existing DESIGNED SOUND. GEARBOX features over 468 BUILDING BLOCKS ranging from levers, hits, grinds, snaps, and more.

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  • 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.

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    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.

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    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
    • Art Galleries
    • Photography Galleries
    • State Galleries

    All sounds were recorded using a stereo pair of DPA 4060s, DPA 5100, Sound Devices Mix-Pre 6 and Sound Devices 788T.

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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.

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