Sound Storytelling Asbjoern Andersen


In this insightful post by Randy Thom, he demonstrates why (and how) you can unlock enormous storytelling potential by making sound design an integral part of the filmmaking process, from start to finish:
Written by Randy Thom, and republished here with his kind permission
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Pick a character in your script. What can we invent for her to hear that will tell us something about her? How might her perception of that sound, or memory of that sound change from early in the story to late in the story? What can that change tell us about who she has become? Can we do anything visually that will help channel the story through her ears?

I am a film sound designer and sound mixer. The term sound design is not very well defined, and still somewhat controversial. Unfortunately, most people even inside the film community think that the only thing sound designers do is manufacture sound effects for science fiction and other fantasy films. This is the narrowest possible definition of sound design work, and it reinforces another lamentable stereotype about sound, which is that the process of doing sound work for film is mainly an engineering job rather than an artistic job. Though we in sound use technology, and who doesn’t these days, most of our time is spent making artistic decisions. Before I play a prospective sequence of sounds for a director I’ve typically made and implemented a couple of hundred artistic decisions about those sounds.Sound designer Randy Thom
Sound design as a term is controversial for the same reasons that “production design” was controversial seventy years ago. For his work on Gone With The Wind, William Cameron Menzies became the first person to receive a production design credit instead of an art direction credit. Many of his fellow art directors thought he was trying to make himself seem more important than he was by taking this new credit in 1939, trying to self aggrandize. The same thing has often been said about people who call themselves sound designers. It took at least forty years for the controversy about the “production design” credit to cool down. The sound design title has been around for about that long, and I’m happy to say it doesn’t raise as many eyebrows as it once did in the Hollywood film sound community.

I want to offer to you a broader, more comprehensive and inclusive notion of sound design. The central point I want to make to you contradicts all of the conventional wisdom about the way sound works as a storytelling tool in film. The approach I’m about to propose has never been taught in any film school or school of sound design. But like so many theories that once seemed radical, and are eventually taken for granted, I think the evidence to support this theory of film sound design has been sitting in plain view for a very long time. Further, the theory and the workflow it implies are not limited to film sound, but more or less equally applicable to all the storytelling crafts.
[tweet_box]Randy Thom: Screenwriting For Sound:[/tweet_box]

The central assumption of this approach is the uncontroversial idea that a film’s script, the film’s initial storytelling plan, shapes the film. Ask anyone inside or outside the filmmaking community whether the script shapes the film, and they will of course say yes. What is radical about the theory I propose is the subtly pervasive degree to which the script shapes the film in my view, and the implications that has for workflow within and among all the crafts.

By the time it is supposedly "time for sound," sound finds itself in a creative straight jacket, and can often play little more than a remedial or cosmetic role.

Film characters inhabit a visual world and a sonic world. Those whose job it is to design the visual parts of that world have plenty of opportunities to provide feedback to the director and colleagues in other crafts while it is still possible for their input to affect creative decisions in the other crafts. The sound designers have few if any such opportunities. Considerations relating to sound are almost always deferred until late in post-production because it is assumed that only decisions that relate to the visual aspects of the film are crucial early on, and that sound will follow the visual like a loyal soldier. The result of this delay integrating sound design into the storytelling is that the options in sound become narrower and narrower, fewer and fewer over the course of production as decisions are made and implemented in the other crafts until, by the time it is supposedly “time for sound,” sound finds itself in a creative straight jacket, and can often play little more than a remedial or cosmetic role.

The controversial, some might say revolutionary, others might say crazy idea I want to express to you, and substantiate with some examples, is that sound design should not be and cannot be something that only happens in post-production. The doors to successful sound design need to be opened in the script, and kept open through actual collaboration between sound and the other crafts all the way from pre-production to the end of post-production.

Sound design is powerful as a storytelling tool in part because it can be stealthy. Sound sneaks into the side door of one’s consciousness, and goes straight to the heart. Stealth is an asset, but also a liability for sound. For millions of years our ears have been the guardians of sleep, alerting relatively weak creatures like us at night to possible danger. Our brains have become expert at interpreting sound in emotional terms. At the same time we find it difficult to be analytical about sound. We often don’t notice the effect it has on us. The result is that sound tends to get little respect, despite our long history of relying on it.

Hollywood has misunderstood and underestimated the importance of sound in films through most of its history. It has ignored the power of sound design to enrich characters and story. Even when it pays lip service to the importance of sound, it fails to take practical steps to make sure sound is a full collaborator.

Each of these directors has produced one or more films that did take sound seriously enough to allow it to influence the script and the way the film was shot

Yet there have been wonderful exceptions to this theme among American filmmakers, most of them rebels unwilling to perpetuate the status quo in any area of film storytelling. Some of the films of Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, William Friedkin, David Lynch, Martin Scorcese, George Lucas, Carrol Ballard, Francis Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow, Stephen Spielberg, and Jim Cameron come to mind. Each of these directors has produced one or more films that did take sound seriously enough to allow it to influence the script and the way the film was shot. Sound design was in the DNA of these movies; it was not merely a decoration quickly pasted onto the surface of the film at the end of the process. Great sound design in film cannot be applied cosmetically; it must be built into the basic structure of the movie, beginning with the screenwriter.

In screenwriting classes there is virtually no talk about the storytelling potential of sound. Most writers simply don’t think about how they can open doors to their characters’ souls by using their characters’ ears in creative ways. To the degree that writers think about sound at all, what they think about is having a direct, visceral effect on the audience with sound: the gunshot, the explosion, the space ship’s engine, the ghostly wail, the jail door clanking shut, etc. What they don’t realize is that the most powerful way for the audience to hear those sounds is through the ears of the film’s characters, and that familiar everyday sounds can have as big an emotional impact as a T-Rex roar.

Giving The Camera Ears

Great sound sequences are usually POV sequences, and that POV can either be the point of view of a character or of the camera itself. I think of the minute-long shot early in The Revenant in which the camera moves upstream just inches above water flowing over the roots of trees. We are not aware until very late in the shot that what we are seeing and hearing might be the pov of a person. The landscape of ever changing rippling water and the trunks of trees moving past in this shot evoke the deepest elements of nature itself, and the shot allows sound, invites sound, to be expressive, stylized, and naturalistic at the same time. Emmanuel Lubezki is known for this kind of cinematography. The dynamic flow of objects and surfaces is one of his signatures, especially in close-up and long shot, both of which tend to engage the imagination, including the sonic imagination, more than medium shots do. In this case the cinematographer truly did some screenwriting for sound.

Channeling

We spend too much time worrying about the 5.1 channels, 7.1 channels, or a hundred channels of sound in the movie theater, but not nearly enough time discovering how to “channel” sound through the characters on its way to those speakers and to the audience.

The structure of the scene needs to take into account the character’s ears, or perhaps the camera’s ears

In order for sound to be “channeled” in that sense the scene and the film need to be designed with sound in mind. The structure of the scene needs to take into account the character’s ears, or perhaps the camera’s ears. The writer needs to create a pair of ears for the character, or for the camera, and give the character opportunities to use them, or fail to use them, and thereby tell us something interesting and useful about him/herself.

The director Carroll Ballard, working with the great sound designer Alan Splet, created one of the most iconic sound films ever when they made The Black Stallion. The first half of the film, beginning on a ship at sea then on a deserted island, is a tour de force not only in terms of sound design but also in terms of what cinematography, blocking, production design, and editing can do to open doors for sound design. When the boy first encounters the horse on the beach it is as sublime a mingling of the aural and the visual as I can imagine. The sound is constantly informing the visuals, and visa versa. Dynamic range in the mix is like that of a Beethoven symphony. It’s a dance of sound and picture that Ballard had an essential grasp on when he shot it. There is no way it could have turned out so well otherwise. And the magnificent locations they used in Sardinia were a natural for inspiring the evocative ambiences that the boy and the horse swim in.

Why don’t filmmakers use sound as a reason to choose a particular location for a scene to be shot? After all, specific locations have specific sounds, and the way our characters react or don’t react to those sounds will help to inform us who they are. Here is a hypothetical example I sometimes use:

Why don’t filmmakers use sound as a reason to choose a particular location for a scene to be shot?

Let’s say we have a story that revolves around the people who work in a steel mill. The mill is a monstrous sounding place that you can hear roaring from far away. A creative screenwriter or director might think… “Why not stage a party scene in the house of one of the people who works in this mill? Perhaps the house is more than a mile from the mill, but the glow of the furnaces at night and the brutish sounds around the clock are nonetheless quite perceptible, often even overpowering from that distance. Some of the people at the party are locals, and some are visitors from another town. The visitors are horrified at the roar of the mill, but the locals don’t even notice it anymore because they have become to used to it.” That dichotomy can produce drama, comedy, or a mix of the two, depending in which way the filmmakers want to take it. This is an example of using the ears of the characters in a powerful storytelling way. The characters’ perception of the sound of the mill will serve as an amplifier, making it even more emotionally powerful to the audience than it would have been if they had experienced the sound from that distance without “listening to it through the characters’ ears.”

Specific doors need to be opened to allow this scenario to happen. First, the location needs to be chosen or designed based on the premise that it is far from the mill. Second, the characters need an opportunity to hear the mill during the scene. If there is nonstop dialog in the scene, or if the musical score is constantly loud, that opportunity won’t occur.

It would not occur to most screenwriters to use sound in this way. So, even if they described a scene in someone’s house within earshot of the mill it’s very unlikely that they would think to write dialog to set up and take advantage of this sonic pathway into the story.



Conversations with Sound Artists: Writing For Sound - Randy Thom | Podcast | Dolby


Hear more about writing for sound, in Randy Thom’s conversation with the Dolby Institute’s Glenn Kiser

The radical idea I want to put in front of you is this: Someone who thinks creatively in terms of sound and story should be used as a resource during writing or re-writing on many films. Someone with intuition about those sonic pathways into the story is needed very early in the process. Usually it will not be the screenwriter because we are talking about a skill set most writers don’t possess. Writers need all kinds of help. Sonic help is crucial, at least for certain kinds of stories.

The radical idea I want to put in front of you is this: Someone who thinks creatively in terms of sound and story should be used as a resource during writing or re-writing on many films

Thinking about sound design during production can also be enormously helpful. Let’s say we have a scene between two guys, very angry at each other, sitting on opposite sides of a table in a bar. One is tying his shoe, and has his foot resting on the edge of the table. The other guy pulls a pistol, and points it at the shoe-tying fellow, who stops tying his shoe, but his foot remains, pressing against the table edge. The scary sound we anticipate hearing in this scenario is the gun firing. A potentially more shocking sound, because it is unanticipated, might be the screech of the table legs as they scrape across the floor, pushed by the force of the increasingly nervous guy’s foot on the edge of the table. That sound could serve to relieve the tension in the scene, since it would initially scare both the guys, then possibly amuse them because in a way it takes the place of the gunshot, or it could serve as the precursor to the gunshot, making the blast even scarier when it happens.


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    Yarron Katz – AAA Composer and Sound Designer
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    “‘Evil Strings Tortured Wires’ is an all-scary affair with plenty of really good, nightmarish, imaginative sounds from authentic materials, like double bass, dulcimer strings and metal wires. Sound-wise, this sample pack is clean and carefully recorded. The editing and processing of sounds is top notch, with sound design techniques applied very professionally. Overall, very gritty and not for the faint of heart.”
     
    Ginno Legaspi – SoundBytes Music Magazine‎
    “As far as the sound goes ‘Cinematic Magical Ice’ is both beautiful and mystical. I happen to like the icy textures that are oozing with coldness. Overall, this sound library boasts a good variety of effect samples ready to drop in various cinematic projects.”
     
    Ginno Legaspi – SoundBytes Music Magazine‎
    “The spotlight of ‘Cinematic Wood Symphony’ is the wide range of complex sounds that can be dropped in your sound design projects. I love the Wood Movement and Tonal sounds, and I’m sure thriller and horror music composers will be delighted with the Friction and Impact sounds. If your cinematic projects are lacking texture and impact sounds ‘Cinematic Wood Symphony’ is a library to be considered – especially if you’re looking beyond common wood sounds.”
     
    Ginno Legaspi – SoundBytes Music Magazine‎
    “Cinematic Water Whooshes and Textures is great for anything. You won’t be hearing recordings of calm rivers or relaxing streams, but cinematic whooshes and textures for soundtrack works and media projects. Whether you’re into this type of sounds, this pack was recorded quite well, professionally edited and processed with Slava’s own flair.”

    Ginno Legaspi – SoundBytes Music Magazine‎
    “Slava is back with another aggressive and energetic sample library called Resonating Metal Force – a 680 strong collection of modern metal effects captured using various tools and high-end studio equipment. The source material was edited and processed professionally for instant use. These sounds are primed for experimentation – whether you add your unique processing, layer several WAV samples or slice and dice to your heart’s content, the sky’s the limit. This sound pack is another winner.”

    50 %
    OFF
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  • The whole 9 yards.
    Comprised of seven heavy hitting libraries, this bundle includes INTERACTIVE, SCI FI, GEARBOX, SORCERY, HERO, BROKEN, and MELEE. Save by bundling all SEVEN in a single library.

    GEARBOX:
    Boutique analog mechanical contraptions, steampunk gadgetry, gizmos and machines big and small.


    SORCERY
    Spells, deflects, casts, blocks, beams, and more. Unrivaled wizardry at your fingertips.


    BROKEN:
    Car crashes, explosions, crumbling buildings, earthquakes, ripping earth and metal, to debris, and more.


    HERO:
    HERO – Sword fights, stabbing, guillotines, impaling, battle cries, shields, drawbridges, armor, foley and more.


    MELEE:
    Punches, kicks, blocks, bodyfalls, grabs, slaps, bone breaks, blood splatters, and more.


    SCI Fi:
    Spaceships, machines, mechanicals, weapons and more. Technologies exceeding your boldest visions of the future.


    Interactive:
    The ultimate Game UI SFX library including clicks, pops, whooshes, musical and tonal elements, and ready to use designs for every UI action and game style.


    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1718575199
Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:


The Storytelling Jobs of Sound

Sound design can:

• affect pace
• indicate a geographical locale
• describe the geography of a scene
• help define a character
• help clarify the plot
• connect ideas, characters, places, images, events
• heighten realism, or diminish it
• heighten ambiguity, or diminish it
• draw attention to, or away from, a detail
• indicate a change in time or location
• smooth otherwise abrupt transitions
• emphasize a transition for dramatic effect
• describe an acoustic space
• affect mood: startle, soothe, make comedic, mysterious, scary

It’s often the case that a sound will perform several of these functions simultaneously, but doors need to be opened in the script. One of the best examples I can think of is the first film I had an opportunity to work on as an assistant.

The original script for Apocalypse Now was written by John Milius. Though it did contain many of the moments the movie is famous for, like the dialog line “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” the surfing theme, and the Heart Of Darkness inspired structure, in some key ways the first drafts of the script are very different from, and I would say less powerful than the final versions of the script, which were revisions written by the film’s director, Francis Coppola. The biggest overall difference has to do with point of view. Milius’ script is a more straightforward war film. At some point Coppola decided that filtering the action through the drug and rock n roll influenced minds of certain key characters, all young American soldiers, would open the door to a more evocative, compelling and in some ways more accurate narrative of the U.S. soldier’s experience in the Vietnam war. This change also opened the door fully to Walter Murch, and allowed him and his team to use sound design as powerfully as it has ever been used in any film. The highly subjective point of view Coppola established in the script, and made concrete in the way he shot the film, rendered a playground for sound in which Murch crafted hundreds of ways to have fun.

The highly subjective point of view Coppola established in the script, and made concrete in the way he shot the film, rendered a playground for sound in which Murch crafted hundreds of ways to have fun

The beginning of the movie is a useful prism through which to view the differences between the Milius approach and the Coppola approach.

Here is a wonderful irony: In the Milius script the film begins with a quiet scene in a swamp, which quickly ignites into a gun battle. There are specific references to sound effects in Milius’ text, but the sounds it refers to are straight forward and somewhat banal. The Coppola script mentions no sound at all except the rock n roll song “The End” by The Doors. On the other hand, the stylized visual images Coppola describes suggest highly eccentric and powerfully evocative sounds, heard as if through the haze of a fever dream. So, and here’s the irony, the script that talks less about sound turned out to be most sound-friendly script.
The message I hope you take from this comparison is that specific references to sound effects in a script don’t necessarily mean that the script is “sound conscious.” As a sound designer, what excites me much more is a script that plays with time, space, and point of view in interesting ways. That kind of script is much more likely to be a playground for sound design, and there is no better example of that than Apocalypse Now.

Young, inexperienced and student sound designers are usually mainly curious about how sound effects are made, and they’re obsessed with technology used to manipulate them. As one gets older and more experienced the “how” question becomes less interesting, and it is replaced by “why.” Why this sound instead of that sound? Why any sound at all in a given moment? When the time comes to fabricate a sound the “how” question always arises, of course, but the “why” question continues to be the more important storytelling question. For example, the first sound we hear in Apocalypse Now, even before the music, is a helicopter. The story of how this sound was made is an interesting one, but the question of why this particular sound was used is far more interesting I think, and certainly more crucial to the story.

As one gets older and more experienced the “how” question becomes less interesting, and it is replaced by “why.” Why this sound instead of that sound?

The helicopter sound is ghostly. Though it definitely evokes a helicopter, it doesn’t sound like an ordinary, naturalistic helicopter. Why that very eccentric sound, which doesn’t immediately tell the audience it is unambiguously a helicopter? The audience isn’t likely to ask this question to themselves as they screen the sequence for the first time, but the answer nevertheless seeps into them over the next couple of minutes of the film without ever coming into their conscious minds.

We see the Martin Sheen character, Captain Willard, is in his hotel room, drunk… hallucinating… dreaming… and apparently remembering the images saw in the opening of the film, which were introduced over a black screen by that haunting, stylized, Moog synthesized helicopter thump. It is right for the helicopter to have this odd, dreamy sound because that is the way HE hears it in his own mind, in his memory and imagination. So, what we in the audience are listening to is not so much a helicopter as it is Captain Willard’s brain remembering a helicopter. That sound is telling us more about the character perceiving it than it is telling us about the object being perceived. Voila! Sound informs character, sound design as storytelling tool.
 
Notes on the relationship of music and sound design:

The great sound sequences in film are almost always dominated by one category of sound at a time. The responsibility may be passed back and forth during a well- designed sequence, but in any given moment the music, sound effects, or dialog is preeminent. The most common mistake made in designing and mixing the sound for these sequences is to attempt to give equal prominence to all categories at all times.

When I’ve done the sound for scenes in which a huge monster of some kind first appears I’ve often been asked to give it the same feel as the scene from Jurassic Park where the T-Rex arrives. When I point out that there is no musical score in that Jurassic Park scene (brilliantly sound designed by Gary Rydstrom) the director often behaves as if that were a minor point, and goes on to say that of course the similar scene in his film will have musical score. I then press the issue as far as I think I can get away with, but the final scene often winds up with enough sound effects to blunt the power of the music, and more than enough music to blunt the power of the sound effects.

It often happens during the final mix of a film that a sequence will be played with dialog, sound effects, and music; and then someone will suggest playing the scene without music. Inevitably the consensus in the room will be that the scene is more entertaining with music. There are often at least a few problems with this conclusion. First, if a final decision is made to mix the scene without music then the audience in the movie theaters will never have been presented with the option of music, and will be much less likely to feel “something is missing.” Second, each element… dialog, music, and sound effects… are mixed in relation to each other. Simply dropping one of them to see what the remaining sounds feel like stacks the deck against those sounds. They need to be remixed, and perhaps re-edited, in order for it to be a valid comparison. Third, the assumption that every scene and every moment should be made as “entertaining” as possible is not only false, it is often self-defeating. The result of non-stop music and non-stop sound effects is that they make the entire movie experience less entertaining.

Once again, early collaboration among the sound crafts, and between them and the visual crafts, will help to insure that the creative ammunition gets fired in a useful order rather than simultaneously.

They become like wallpaper. Every moment’s abundance of sound becomes an anesthetic that dulls the senses, and precludes the freshness of stylistic dynamics. Having music in one scene will often undercut the emotional impact of the music in the following scene, just as having non-stop, densely populated sound effects in every scene will lessen the impact of the sound effects when they are really needed.

Once again, early collaboration among the sound crafts, and between them and the visual crafts, will help to insure that the creative ammunition gets fired in a useful order rather than simultaneously.

I began working on the first How To Train Your Dragon film about three years before the film reached the movie theaters. My work was not continuous over that whole period, but in brief, usually two or three day bursts spread over pre-production, production, and post-production.

Before the animation process began the film’s producer and directors asked me to do some speculative sounds for the vocalizations of the dragons in the movie. Animators are accustomed to creating face and mouth and body images based on an audio recording of a person vocalizing. So we thought that they might be inspired similarly to create the visuals for a dragon partially based on sounds the dragon might make. “Toothless,” the hero dragon in the movie, was the first character I worked on. He was especially challenging because his “performance” needed to include a huge range of emotions, from comedic to lovable to frightening.

All of the Toothless vocalizations are recordings of real world creatures. There are elephants, whales, walruses, leopards, and humans, mainly me. The principal challenge is to use recordings that are immediately identifiable as animals (not a human pretending to be an animal), but to also provide the necessary range of emotions. As is typical, no single animal was adequate to do what we needed to do dramatically with Toothless. The next challenge is to make reasonably seamless transitions or segues between all of these diverse elements so that in the end it sounds like one creature. We do lots of pitch changing in order to make this happen, and we do a huge amount of experimenting with trying different combinations of sounds, and different sequences of sounds, until it flows the way we want it to.

I have no doubt that early collaboration, beginning in pre-production, is the most important improvement we can make in film sound at this time

You might say that this early collaboration in animation is another form of screenwriting for sound. I have no doubt that early collaboration, beginning in pre-production, is the most important improvement we can make in film sound at this time. It far outweighs any new technology that will arrive. If we can continue to find ways to talk about sound and experiment with sound earlier in each project, the films will sound better. Storytelling will improve. Movies will be deeper, more powerful, and more entertaining. Because sound really is half the experience, but only if we take the steps to make it so.

 

A big thanks to Randy Thom for the insights, and for letting us share this post from his blog!

 

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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:

  • Human Sound Effects Crowds: Emotions And Reactions Play Track 400 sounds included, 90 mins total $39.50

    This SFX library contains a wide range of reactions and emotional responses varying from quiet crowds to roared battle cries to a large selection of exclamations generated by a group of passionate theatrical actors in indoor venues.

    Apart from the vocalizations, we’ve also included recordings of more unusual crowd ambiances like people walking around the mics, falling down, sitting down and getting up, jumping around, marching, or just being present in the space.

    Crowds library is split into the following two parts:

    Small Groups: Includes small groups of up to 30 people which you can layer together and quickly create the sound of any sized realistic groups of people.

    Large Crowds: Brings pre-designed, easy-to-use sounds of medium to large crowds in various types of reactions, moods, and surroundings.

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  • A complete collection of sonic exploration by Slava Pogorelsky.
    Grow your sound arsenal with an ever evolving collection of high-end cinematic and fresh sound effects!
    Here’s what to expect:

    RESONATING METAL FORCE offers a fresh sound palette of reverberant aggressive metal rampage, totaling 680 sound effects. Featuring creeping evolving metal pressure and resonating rattle, massive rumble, explosive impacts and nerve-racking squeaks.
    HORROR SERIES VOL.1: EVIL STRINGS TORTURED WIRES offers a unique toolset for nightmarish designs, totaling 564 sound effects. Featuring creeping dread of bowed metal wires, strings and double bass, providing exciting opportunities for unique layering.
    CINEMATIC MAGICAL ICE is offering a unique toolset for ice-cold freezing designs, totaling 267 sound effects. Great for fantasy genre with ice based magic, motion graphics, time lapse and flow motion freeze sequences.
    CINEMATIC WATER WHOOSHES AND TEXTURES is offering a unique toolset for water and underwater designs, totaling 285 sounds. Great for hyper realistic designs, water based magic, surreal underwater movement or motion graphics with liquid elements.
    CINEMATIC WOOD SYMPHONY is offering a variety of wood based recordings that were morphed into a unique audio experience that bends the boundaries between recognisable source and unusual wooden textures, totaling 611 sound effects.
    SCI – FI ELEMENTS VOL.1 is offering a variety of carefully crafted futuristic sound effects that vary from pleasant and musical to unpredicted and glitchy, totaling 364 sound effects.
    CINEMATIC METAL WHOOSHES is offering a unique collection of aggressive roaring metal whooshes and transitions with cinematic feel and mind bending characteristics, totaling 120 sound effects.

    WHAT SOUND PROFESSIONALS SAY:

    Victor Mercader – AAA Sound Designer (Apex Legends)
    “I find myself continuously using Slava’s SFX libraries to blend it’s pristine and detailed sound designs into my own sounds. They always add that cutting edge I am missing and make my sound designs more unique and pristine. The Sci-fi Elements sound library is the perfect library to use and blend into my UI designs in Apex Legends.”

    Enos Desjardins – Sound Designer/Sound Effects Editor (Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Black Mirror)
    “Slava has been creating some really cool libraries which I find myself using time and again. Really high quality recordings to start with but then the cool processing he has used for example in his cinematic whoosh libraries really stand out. They are not just your standard generic whoosh sounds but are loaded with character and have a unique feel to them that is really fresh and cuts through in the nicest of ways.”

    Bjørn Jacobsen – AAA Sound Designer (CyberPunk 2077, HITMAN, DARQ)
    “Slava has for several years made high quality sound effects for me to play with. I use his sound libraries across multiple projects as lego blocks of my creations.”
     
    Yarron Katz – AAA Composer and Sound Designer
    “Slava makes some wonderful libraries. He’s relatively new on the scene and his libraries have come to critical acclaim. He takes some general ideas, like whooshes and he injects some extremely revolutionary and innovative ideas to them, so you’re not getting another whoosh library – you’re getting something very unique, very fresh. He brings some wonderful ideas to the table.”

    Ginno Legaspi – SoundBytes Music Magazine‎
    “‘Evil Strings Tortured Wires’ is an all-scary affair with plenty of really good, nightmarish, imaginative sounds from authentic materials, like double bass, dulcimer strings and metal wires. Sound-wise, this sample pack is clean and carefully recorded. The editing and processing of sounds is top notch, with sound design techniques applied very professionally. Overall, very gritty and not for the faint of heart.”
     
    Ginno Legaspi – SoundBytes Music Magazine‎
    “As far as the sound goes ‘Cinematic Magical Ice’ is both beautiful and mystical. I happen to like the icy textures that are oozing with coldness. Overall, this sound library boasts a good variety of effect samples ready to drop in various cinematic projects.”
     
    Ginno Legaspi – SoundBytes Music Magazine‎
    “The spotlight of ‘Cinematic Wood Symphony’ is the wide range of complex sounds that can be dropped in your sound design projects. I love the Wood Movement and Tonal sounds, and I’m sure thriller and horror music composers will be delighted with the Friction and Impact sounds. If your cinematic projects are lacking texture and impact sounds ‘Cinematic Wood Symphony’ is a library to be considered – especially if you’re looking beyond common wood sounds.”
     
    Ginno Legaspi – SoundBytes Music Magazine‎
    “Cinematic Water Whooshes and Textures is great for anything. You won’t be hearing recordings of calm rivers or relaxing streams, but cinematic whooshes and textures for soundtrack works and media projects. Whether you’re into this type of sounds, this pack was recorded quite well, professionally edited and processed with Slava’s own flair.”

    Ginno Legaspi – SoundBytes Music Magazine‎
    “Slava is back with another aggressive and energetic sample library called Resonating Metal Force – a 680 strong collection of modern metal effects captured using various tools and high-end studio equipment. The source material was edited and processed professionally for instant use. These sounds are primed for experimentation – whether you add your unique processing, layer several WAV samples or slice and dice to your heart’s content, the sky’s the limit. This sound pack is another winner.”

    Ginno Legaspi – SoundBytes Music Magazine‎
    “Sound-wise, the quality of ‘Cinematic Metal Whooshes’ is clear and punchy, and very consistent from start to finish. The whole content promises to be a tool to get you going in your cinematic adventures – and it delivers.”

    50 %
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  • Farm & Horse Sound Effects Animal Farm Play Track 165 sounds included $69

    This library is dedicated to popular farm animals, rural backgrounds and agricultural activities – all you need around farm life. It features 165 sounds in total, from 14 different species with multiple variations for each animal, 25 discreet rural backgrounds and 10 types of modern and traditional agricultural activities.

    Recorded and mastered at 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution, Animal Farm took over a year to get ready, since the goal was to capture as many seasonal work activities, weather conditions and animal habits, as possible.

    List of animals recorded: Cat • Chicken • Cow • Dog (Wolf hound, Sheepdog) • Duck • Fowl • Goat (Mediterranean) • Goose • Horse (Arabian, Andalusian) • Pig • Pigeon • Rooster • Sheep (Mediterranean) • Turkey

    Types of agricultural work recorded: Chopping • Feeding • Gardening • Loading Manure • Milking • Mowing • Olive harvest • Sowing • Tilling • Watering

Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • Presenting the most malfunctioning, dirty old gritty sounding engine failure library out there

    Featuring a staggering 81 files with numerous takes in most tracks, the Kaput sound effects library will cover the bases of almost any broken false starting engine scene one can imagine.

    I can honestly say, that finding the vehicles and tools for this library, has been among the most challenging I have come by. Old and broken cars and trucks are hard to come by these days. Most cars are obviously either driving and dont have start problems, and many of the rest just wont start at all.

    Just as rare are broken petrol powered tools, which usually fit the latter category of not working at all.

    Still, with amazing recording help from recordist Michal Fojcik Soundmind Poland, and just as amazing help from recordist Erik Watland from Norway, the Kaput sound effects library is featuring no less then

    24 different cars, trucks, moped and motorcycles

    1 boat engine

    A few weird sounding power generators and water pump motors

    Back firing exhausts

    Petrol powered garden tools, chain saws, and hedge trimmers

    Brutal construction machines

    From old eastern european trucks, vintage US V8 muscle trucks, classic scandinavian cars, and more modern diesel and petrol engines to funny sputtering dying petrol power tools.

    There is even a few more recording sessions planned, that just didn’t make the deadline for the first batch of sounds in this library (buying a copy of this first of sounds, will of course make any future sounds added to the library free of charge).

    KAPUT is 81 stereo and mono files, 96/24. 1,6 gb big, all UCS ready!

  • Hear the majesty of tropical seas from soothing surf, trickling water laps, and crashing wave sound effects.

  • ACOUSTIC GUITAR FOLEY FOR YOUR PROJECTS
    The SB111 ACOUSTIC GUITAR FOLEY Sound Effects Library is a collection of handling movements, grabs and sets, string noise, drags, impacts, strumming, fingerpicking, tuning, and the smashing and destroying of an acoustic guitar.

    A UNIQUE ACOUSTIC GUITAR FOLEY LIBRARY
    We’ve gone above and beyond just capturing the sounds of strumming and picking – we’ve recorded the nuances and details that make acoustic guitars so special. Like the subtle sounds of the guitar strap as it settles against your shoulder, string noise of fingers on the fretboard, the satisfying sound of the guitar being tuned, grabs and set downs, strings being clipped and even a full restringing sequence. Of course we’ve also included the playing of chords and riffs while strumming and fingerpicking – some played in tune and some out of tune. We did not forget to record your pick as it rattles around in the abyss of the guitar’s sound hole – and the satisfying sound of the guitar being smashed and destroyed. All the details you need to bring realism to your project.

    20 %
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    Ends 1719525599
  • The Drawers & Cupboards SFX library is an essential collection for professionals seeking high-quality sound effects for their projects. This library features 63 meticulously recorded sounds of opening, closing, and rummaging through cupboards and drawers, making it perfect for game developers, animators, and filmmakers.

    This library offers a diverse range of sounds, including:

    • Opening and closing cupboard doors
    • Picking up glass bottles
    • Rummaging through various materials (glass, mixed materials, containers, plastic)
    • Metal and wooden drawers opening and closing
  • Car Sound Effects Broken Car Engine Play Track 5 sounds included, 28 mins total $27

    My car engine broke! As a result of making a huge costly mistake caused by accidentally skipping an oil change service from getting dates and miles mixed up (on top of being a higher milage car), my 2006 Volvo V50 T5’s engine starting making incredibly loud knocking, clicking and rattling sounds. Took it for one last drive before it was picked up by a junk yard, and recorded the process. I put a DPA 4061 and a Rode NT5 in the engine and drove it around the neighborhood, first on residential streets, then drove it harder on some faster streets (the engine was so loud you can’t hear any other cars in the recordings), abusing the manual mode for higher rpm recordings the whole time until it started overheating, smoking and dumping liquid (coolant I think? Oil? Both?). I Quickly took the DPA out because it was right near a section of the engine that was overheating, but I left the NT5 in. Satisfied with what I recorded but still a couple miles from home, after my car cooled a bit I continued to record my drive home, this time with the DPA inside the car to get an interior perspective (this drive is labeled “bonus drive” in the library).

    This library is just 5 files, totaling 27 minutes and 28 seconds, 24/96k, 956MB. Quality Soundminer metadata and UCS compliant. Recorded with a DPA 4061 and NT5 for starts, idles, off, revving, slow to moderate driving, harder faster driving, with lots of variation. One file is just the NT5 engine recording for an additional 5 and a half minute drive, and one is just the DPA for an interior perspective of that drive.

    I’ll miss that car a lot, but at least I got some great recordings out of it! I hope you find them useful.


   

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