Hi Pasi, welcome to the wonderful world of indie SFX. What made you decide to take the plunge?
Thank you! I’m glad to be part of the thriving indie SFX community. I think the idea to create and sell my own sound effect libraries began when I started working at Rovio Entertainment as a full-time sound designer. I was recording a lot of new sound effect source material every week for our mobile games so of course I continued doing that on my free time as well. At first I was just gathering sounds for my own sound effect library that I would use for the personal projects that I was working on. In the end I managed to gather quite cool and unique sound effects that I wanted to share with other sound designers as well.
You’ve made the world’s first Snowball Impact SFX library. How did the idea for that one come about, and what’s included in the library?
I was actually surprised to see that nobody had done this kind of library before. I started to think about making this kind of library when I noticed that the large general SFX libraries lacked good high quality snowball impact sounds. They had a couple of sounds that I could use but I wanted to have more variation and different impact surfaces.
I noticed that the large general SFX libraries lacked good high quality snowball impact sounds
The ‘Snowball Impacts’ library consists of 250+ snowball impact sounds thrown onto thirteen different surfaces ranging from clothes to wooden doors to a metal wheelbarrow. I recorded these sounds in my hometown in Northern Finland during my Christmas vacation. The amount of surfaces is a good start and I definitely plan to add more in the future… just need to wait for the winter to come.
What are some of the crucial elements to get right for a snowball impact library?
First, you got to have snow and the right kind of snow to be precise; the one that you can make snowballs with. The second thing I noticed was the way you make the snowballs. You got to have a good solid condensed snowball. If you don’t squeeze it together hard enough then it won’t make a good impact and it might break during your throw. Also if you make the snowball too condensed and solid then you won’t be able to break it easily and you don’t get to record that awesome breaking sound.
Have good aim and prepare your throwing arm the day before for the session – it is going to get sore, and fast!
I think the last thing is to have good aim and prepare your throwing arm the day before for the session – It is going to get sore, and fast! :D
What was your recording setup, and what was a typical recording session like?
For this library I used only the Sony D50 recorder in XY microphone pattern. I wanted to travel light so D50 made sense and you can record high quality sounds with it easily. For the sequel library I will most likely use better equipment and more microphones.
I recorded this library in two separate days. I made sure that I had made enough snowballs so I could have a test recording for each of the surfaces to get the sound right. Then it was just matter of throwing the snowballs onto the various surfaces, so I had pretty simple recording sessions actually. I noticed that on the second day the snowballs were pretty hard because I had to leave them outside for the night and the temperature was close to -25’C. Luckily I saved the harder surfaces for the second day so I had no problems breaking the snowballs.
How were your arms after the recording sessions? And do you have any favourite sounds in there?
My throwing arm became really sore and I had to relax for three days or so. One thing I needed to do for the cloth surfaces (boilersuit, windbreaker jacket etc.) was to stuff them full of hard packed snow. I did one test recording without the snow and I could not break the snowballs so the hard packed snow really helped with that.
For me all the impact sounds in the library are favourites. When I pitch them up or down an octave or so I get almost totally different sounds that give me inspiration. For example I regularly pitch down these impact sounds and use them to add more low-end and texture to other sounds.
You’ve also released three other SFX libraries – can you share some details on those? And do you have more in the works?
The other three libraries that I have released are Glassware Resonance, Balloons and Footsteps One. Glassware Resonance is a simple collection of glass rings, clinks, bowed effects and textures. I recorded 16 different-sounding glasses for it and the plan is to add more libraries to this series.
The Balloons library is a rather big collection of various balloon and rubber sounds. I recorded everything I could get out of from these balloons and the amount of sounds is pretty good. The library has over 1500 sounds and they range from blowing air into balloons, balloon collisions, balloon rubbing to balloon pops.
Footsteps One is a footsteps library that I recorded while I was on my vacation in Northern Finland. It has some basic surfaces like grass and gravel but also more unique ones like forest plain, pine needle ground and wood scrap. I recorded walks, scuffs and stomp sounds for each of the surfaces so there are around 1800+ sounds for people to work with. Also a big part of the library is the snow footstep sounds that I recorded in various depths.
I started with 5 centimeters of snow and ended up going knee-deep in 50 cm of snow to record deep snow footsteps and scuffs. All I can say is that I was exhausted after recording those snow footsteps sounds.
I definitely have plans to release more libraries in the future, and in fact I have three libraries in the works already. I also have a big list of SFX library ideas that I want to do in the future so I just need to find the time to do those. :)
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