The Art of Foley – An Inside Look at Sound Effects in Film

T H E   A R T   O F   F O L E Y –
An Inside Look at Sound Effects in Film

Sound Effects are a driving force behind every film that can steer the audience’s emotions and expectations. An image of a door could be shown but the audience would know the emotional tone whether they heard the sounds of wine glasses clinking with plates and silverware milling about , or alternatively bone cracking and chainsaws revving. In one instance the audience is invited into a feast and the other they want to run in horror. The senses follow the sounds. Creating high quality sounds to use in one’s films is an undertaking and an art form in itself. In one instance there is a vast array of high quality sounds already available to you at AudioMicro.com, but sometimes you just want that personal touch and feel the drive to create your own sound effects. In this post we will be taking a look at what exactly goes into making a custom high quality sound effect and a brief history of how it all came to be.

Creating Sound Effects for Film

One of the great unsung heroes of any movie is easily the Foley Artist. These artists are the ones who create all the sound effects you hear throughout the film by using everyday objects in unexpected ways to generate unique sounds. Think banging a couple of coconut shells together to create the sound of a horse galloping like in Monty Python’s Holy Grail; that is a prime example of foley sound.

While on location of a film, modern day audio equipment is optimized for picking up the actors voice while cancelling out all the surrounding and background sounds that would breath life into the scene. This could be something subtle like the actor’s footsteps, opening a door, or even just scratching his own face, to the more in your face fighting scenes, scuffling, clashing swords, etc. It is these artists’ job to find out how to recreate any sound imaginable for any given scene and convince the audience it’s the real thing. Some examples of this would be something like stepping on VHS tape to create the sound of walking through autumn leaves. You can then pick up the same VHS tape and shake it to give the sense of bushes rustling in the wind. Another example would be stepping on a bag full of corn starch to create that sound of fresh snow crunching and compressing as its walked on. Even snapping or twisting a bunch of celery can sound like bones cracking or breaking. At the end of the day if the foley artist did his job right you will never know he did anything at all.

The Origin of Foley Sound Effects in Film

Before this method of foley sound became mainstream in film it was common practice for the time to have sound effects added into broadcasted radio plays to help paint a richer picture of what is happening for the audience. This is what helped pave the way for post sound effects to emerge into film.

The term Foley Artists comes from its creator, Jack Donovan Foley, who as a Universal employee developed the method of performing sound effects in sync with the film’s moving picture in post production back in the early mid 1900s. Jack and his team would have the movie projected in front of them and perform all the post sounds needed in one go and record it on one single track. Nowadays with the invention of computers and development of Non Linear Editing there are infinite amounts of tracks sounds can be recorded, retimed, and adjusted on that simply did not exist back then. At the time this method of creating post sound was called ‘Direct to Picture,’ and it wasn’t until years later that it became known as foley.

Modern Recording Practices of Foley Sound Effects

Today the common set up for post sound is 2 foley artists and 1 sound mixer on the mixing stage. The two artists will work in tandem to create the sound and will work from visual markers and cues projected on the film supplied by the mixer to help them match timing. However, these days it’s less critical if an artist misses the timing as this can be adjusted by the mixer, but making sure the feel of the sound matches perfectly is more of what’s necessary. These specialized mixing stages the foley artists work on will commonly have special sectioned floors with various textures and materials to step on to create various sounds. Along with having an ever expanding warehouse full of props and everyday items they have catalogued and can use at any given moment.

In the instance that you might need to add some foley sound to one of your own projects you can always go simple and experiment with a basic audio mic recording various sounds like footsteps, slamming doors, breaking celery and then test it out by cutting and remixing the sound back into your edit.

If you need something more robust and professional sounding, or you simply don’t quite know how to get that exact perfect sound effect you’re looking for – audiomicro.com has you covered! Just head to the website, select sound effects, and search for anything you need! There are literally 1000s of professional high quality sound effects to choose from that you can remix and cut back into your projects with confidence.

The Sounds Of Horror

T H E   S O U N D S   O F   H O R R O R –
The History of Horror Sounds & Techniques in Film.

Whether it be creaking floor boards in a dark deserted hallway, the ominous sounds of unsettling whispers, or the aggressive revving of an old rusty chainsaw; some sounds are synonymous with horror. It is this genre that utilizes sound design the most, and relies so heavily on what the audience hears – or in some circumstances, doesn’t hear. Understanding what types of sounds and in what combination can most effectively unsettle and sink deep into your audience’s psyche will help any creator develop a more memorable horror film, television show, or web series.

‘THE LEWTON BUS’

In fact, the notable horror cliche of the “quiet… quiet… BANG!” method is derived from the technique known as the ‘Lewton Bus.’ Producer Val Lewton famously developed the technique back in 1942’s Cat People, of lulling the audience into a false sense of security as the scared protagonist proceeds in silence for a moment of time only to be jolted by the sounds of something rather innocent.

Even though aspects of this technique have evolved with time, you can see the ‘Lewton Bus’ method now used in nearly every horror film to date and is a valuable tool for any creator to utilize in their own horror masterpieces.

THE WATERPHONE

Also known as the ‘ocean harp,” is an odd looking percussive instrument that creates all those eerie and ethereal sounds used in countless horror films including Poltergeist, Aliens, Let the Right One In, and even non horror films alike. The sounds itself is tough to describe so give it a listen and you will instantly recognize it’s spine tingling qualities.

THE CHAINSAW

Unless you’re a lumberjack, for most of us the guttural revving of a chainsaw invokes thoughts of dread and dismemberment. This in part started back in 1974 with the Texas Chainsaw massacre and has been since remade, mimicked, and turned into several homages. The chainsaw sound is just so loud and violent that it cannot help but invoke a sense of chaos and confusion as the deafening sound itself grabs the viewers complete attention, puts them on edge, and does not let go.

METAL SCRAPING

Whether it be Freddy Krueger’s claws opening, Jason’s machete scraping against the wall as he meanders towards his victim, or Sweeney Todd sharpening his straight razors before he begins a shave to close for comfort. The sound of metal scraping inherently flags as a warning sign to the audience. You may not even see the object itself but hearing the sound tells you something bad is going to happen. We commonly identify metal scraping as a knife, blade, or weapon of some sort and hearing the sound triggers something basic in us screaming DANGER!

A SCORE THAT WILL DRIVE YOU MAD

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! Jack’s slow descent into madness throughout 1980s The Shining has a intensely unsettling musical score to match. Letting the music indicate the tone and mood of your piece is paramount and is just as an important character as even your protagonist that needs to have its own arch and development. Using The Shining as our example Jack at the start of the film is an aspiring writer who took an off season caretaker job with his family; The music meanders along at a lulling pace. By the end of the film he’s chasing his own kid through a hedge maze with an axe and the music is just pure chaos!

What do you think?
We’ve only begun to scratch the surface on all the horror sounds that make your skin crawl.  Let us know your favorite and most iconic horror sounds in the comments below!  And if you are looking to spice up your horror piece with some memorable sounds – whether it be eerie atmospheres, screams, shocks, creaking, cracking, breaking, or just good old fashioned gore – then be sure to check out AudioMicro.com for all your horror sound needs!

We’re always here to support you in your creative endeavors!

 

 

Editing for the Horror Genre

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The horror genre in film is just as old as cinema itself; starting with silent films back in the late 1890s, through the masterpieces of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Stanley Kubrick’s depiction of The Shining (based on Stephen King’s novel), to more recent films such as The Conjuring. Every Halloween you see an increase in horror films being released to the public, that point should be obvious. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself exactly what makes up a horror film? On the surface, you know a horror film is supposed to invoke terror or fear within you. However, there are specific techniques and timeless elements that are seamlessly woven into these films that make you cover your eyes and make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. To get in the right mindset, take a gander at the finest moments from these horror movies:

As a filmmaker, you should be aware of some of the basic pieces of the horror puzzle. Not everything relies on how good of a scream your actor has, or how well the make up and costume on your monster looks. A good horror film first starts on paper with a solid story as a foundation. From there, it moves into the camera, the acting, and then down through post production – where I feel the real magic occurs.

Outlined below are three foundational elements every editor should have at their disposal for any horror film:

  • Color
  • Sound
  • Perspective

 

COLOR

On the set, gaffers and light technicians are in charge of creating the core atmosphere for each scene; whether it be something with high contrast, or just dark enough for a creature to creep out of the shadows. Sometimes, a filter will be put on the lens to add or enhance a specific color in the scene. Generally, a blue or green filter would be used with horror films. However, in-camera lighting can only go so far. These days, I find there is no filter added on the camera because you can change the color so easily in post production. The director may want to play around with an assortment of colors and hues to achieve their desired effect. In these instances, CURVES is an editor’s best friend.

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Curves can be found in most Non Linear Editing (NLE) programs such as Final Cut Pro, Premier Pro, and Avid. It can also be found in compositing programs such as After Effects and Nuke. Generally, the option will be under some type of IMAGE CONTROL menu or COLOR CORRECTION menu – if you cannot find it, I recommend consulting the Help Menu. Using Curves gives you control of an image’s highlights, shadows, and the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color spectrum. If you receive editing notes from the director asking you to “push the image further,” generally, they mean to increase the shadows or contrast. A term they use for this in editing is “crush the blacks.” To do this, click and drag your curve to the proper settings of adjustment. By rule of thumb, blacks are located in the lower right and highlights are located in the upper left of the curve.

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If the director wants to increase a color tone, use the drop down menu to select the color of choice – whether they want to add more blue or green into the footage, respectively.

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SOUND

You sometimes cover your eyes during a horror movie, but most of the time you forget to cover your ears. Even if you can’t see the horrific image, you can still hear the bones crack, the blood spray, and the victim let out one last shriek or a dying breath. A lot of the sound effects are created by Foley Artists (the people who create sounds used in movies). For example, a foley artist would record the sound of a machete slashing a watermelon into little bits to be used where the serial killer slashes a victims skull into little bits. In larger budget films, a foley team is generally hired to produce the sound content for the film, supplying the editor with the appropriate sounds to populate the movie. However, in smaller, or micro budget films, the editor needs to turn to online sound libraries for this content. There are websites out there filled with random sounds, music loops, and scores – sometimes free – to populate your horror film. There are literally hundreds of these websites all over the internet. However, some websites I have had good luck with and recommend include:

 

PERSPECTIVE

This one tends to be less obvious to most editors just starting out in the field. Perspective plays a large part in creating a horrific landscape, or an uneasy tension. Often times, the director of photography will partner up with the director to explore the ‘look’ of the film, mapping out the best camera angles and shots to best achieve the directors vision. In some cases, the director will need the editor to adjust a scene or image to help intensify the scene. The easiest way to add tension to a plain scene is by rotating the image on a angle.

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By putting the perspective on an angle you subconsciously tell the viewer that “something isn’t right.” People like to see their world on an even playing field, and when you start to mess with that perspective, you begin making the viewer uncomfortable and on edge.

There you have it! A solid foundation in editing for the horror genre. Do you know of another horror element you would like to share or know of a link that could help out your fellow editor? Leave it in the comment section below!

 

The Cinematic Series – Episode One

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Hello everyone, and welcome to a little a series which I’m starting here, all about cinematics, short movie editing, and everything inbetween. So last week I came up with the idea of shooting a little chase scene, so I can touch on some of the things you can do to achieve a more professional look in a short movie. I met up with a couple friends, but they were in a hurry, so I had literally 15 minutes to shoot, and well, that reflected in the quality of the scene. Take a look at what I made:

The original footage was not the best but nonetheless I did what I could to clean it up in post-production. Below I’ll summarize what was good and what was bad in this movie chase scene;

Pros

1. Although the acting was not the best and there were mistakes, there is still some good things you can pick out from the scene. For instance, the shot types. We had a variety of different shot types, tracking shots, pans and close ups. It’s important to keep these varied throughout a short film as they can be useful in creating different effects as well as keeping the audience interested.

2. Another thing to point out was some of the techniques that I used to help with the continuity. A match cut was used when the boy realised that the man was holding a weapon. This obviously illustrated that the man was dangerous and showed that the boy was scared and was the victim.

3. Last of all, the sound. We used a Zoom H1 sound recorder for professional audio as well as some sound effects from the AudioMicro library. Audio stimulates the mind in a different way than video, bringing you closer to the action so it is always a good idea to record some of the ambient sounds, and the fast paced chase sounds. Music can also be used, depending on the style you’re trying to achieve.

Cons

1. Sub par acting. Even with the best director and equipment, your film will always look mediocre if your actors are not up fully to the task. The idea was to build up some tension when the boy started hearing strange whistles, instead though, he started to frantically look around, rather than standing still and slowly approaching. This didn’t increase the tension as much as I would have liked to.

2. Make sure anything happening in a scene with two or more different takes are consistent. A very common mistake people make is with the pace of the action and the place where events happen. For example, towards the end of the chase, the boy trips up in two different places in two different angles, and in the shot before when he was running, one of them had to be sped up as they weren’t consistent.

3. Prepare for your shoot properly. Rushing everything in 15 minutes will not give you the best result, regardless of the cinematics. With filming and editing, one of the most crucial things is to have attention to detail; every shot needs to be accurately framed and you have to have complete control on what happens within your scene.

So let’s get a little more into some of actual techniques that I used in this scene to enhance the footage. We’ll start off with the transitions; the majority of the transitions were just simple straight cuts, I didn’t want to go too overboard. I took advantage of the trees in the woods and used a slide transition coupled with some motion blur and a swoosh sound effect. At the end of the chase, when the boy trips up, I used a ‘chopping’ effect. I slowed down the footage of the attacker striking the boy with the hammer and cut out a frame with a gap of one frame. Straight after this, I used some contrapuntal sound; there is a calm once the flashing finishes, you can hear the sound of birds tweeting in the park which gives a strange, silent feel. Just little things done to your scene in post can really make a difference, don’t be afraid to experiment with some of the techniques I used in this scene.

Watch out for the next episode in the Cinematic Series.

Until next time, Peace, Love and After effects…well, Premiere Pro this time.

Sound Effects

AudioMicro Introduces Sound Effects Subscriptions

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In April, we unveiled a fantastic redesign of AudioMicro.com – complete with a more straightforward dollar pricing system and increased clarity and options for different music licenses. Unfortunately for some users this also came with the removal of previous subscription options. However our continued interest is the satisfaction of our customer base and correspondingly the constant improvement of our products…

So now we have raised the bar once again – re-introducing monthly sound effects subscriptions for our dedicated sfx buyers.

The sound effects subscriptions offer packages tailored specifically at sound effects users, and greatly reduce the per download cost of a single sound effect. The packages currently available are:

* 5 sounds per month for $9.95

* 25 sounds per month for $39.95

* 100 sounds per month for $99.95

Comparatively speaking, the per sound effect download cost for an a la carte download is $3.95, so needless to say the sound effects subscriptions offer a much more cost effective/cost conscious option for any user who needs several sound effects per month. Even the most modest subscription plan (5 sounds per month for $9.95) cuts the a la carte/per sound effect cost in half. While the best value plan (100 sound effects per month for $99.95) offers users the chance to download sound effects at just $1 per sound effect.

Users can allow the subscription to recur on a monthly basis, or cancel conveniently any time by navigating to their SFX subscriptions page once logged in to their AudioMicro account.

We’re proud to roll out this new addition to our product and know that users will find great value and peace of mind being able to select a package perfectly suited for their sound effects needs. You can sign up now by navigating here.

 

 

Welcome to the New AudioMicro!

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Today, we are pleased to officially announce a completely redesigned and all new AudioMicro.com.  It’s the culmination of many months of hard work by our team.

We’ve been listening to your feedback and the latest version of AudioMicro incorporates your suggestions.  Highlights include:

  • an awesome new HTML5 audio player that allows you to quickly listen to your search and browse results, easily add them to your favorites, and your shopping cart
  • cleaner, slicker interface and user experience
  • improved, more accurate search and advanced search features
  • elimination of non-selling, low rated music tracks so that you’ll only hear the highest quality tunes
  • addition of over 100,000 new sound effects from the world renown Sound Ideas library.
  • more affordable sound effects pricing
  • watermarked, downloadable preview files (coming soon)
  • a highly simplified license agreement (no more platinum collection)
  • elimination of subscription plans for future purchases
  • MOST IMPORTANT – we’ve eliminated the credit system in favor of a more simple, dollar based pay as you go shopping experience (like Amazon.com)

Full details are in the press release below.   We hope 2012 is your best year ever.

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HEADLINE

AudioMicro Adds 100,000 New Sound Effects from Sound Ideas; Unveils Redesigned Website, Pricing, and License Agreement

SUMMARY

AudioMicro.com to represent over 100,000 sound effects from the Sound Ideas library.  New website offers simplified end user license agreement and pricing schema.

BODY

LOS ANGELES, April 27, 2012 – AudioMicro.com announces the addition of the Sound Idea sound effects library, adding over 100,000 professional royalty free sound effects to its online archive.  Headed by Brian Nimens, an audio veteran with more than 35 years experience, Sound Ideas offers an immense variety of contemporary and vintage sound FX keeping its ears tuned to the current and future needs of sound designers and producers.

“We are pleased to make our sounds available through AudioMicro, a real innovator in the marketplace,” said Nimens.

Categories within the Sound Ideas collection include ambience, animals, impacts, guns, production elements, science fiction, whooshes, and everything in between.  The addition of Sound Ideas brings AudioMicro’s total file count to over 300,000 stock music and sound effects tracks, all pre-cleared for use in creative audio-visual productions.

In addition to the 100,000 new sound effects from the Sound Ideas library, AudioMicro has launched a new version of its website, targeted at purchasers of royalty free music and sound effects, including YouTube users, iPhone/iPad app developers, and film/TV producers.  New visitors to AudioMicro.com will find a completely revamped user interface and design, making it a rich and simple destination for discovering and licensing stock audio.

Visitors to the new AudioMicro experience improved utility and design, including:

  • A slick HTML5 audio player which allows users to more easily browse the archive and locate the perfect cue or effect for their projects
  • Pay as you go, dollar based pricing – the credit based purchasing system has been retired
  • A simplified end user license agreement that allows tracks to be purchased once and used over and over again in multiple projects by the same buyer
  • Embeddable Tracks – embed your favorite tracks on websites, blogs, Facebook, etc.
  • Customizable Favorites Lists – create multiple favorites collections to preview your favorite tracks on the fly, before you buy
  • API Integration – the AudioMicro API allows approved partner platforms and resellers to create highly customizable applications utilizing the AudioMicro library.  Early API partners include SlideRocket, Hark, and Amana Images (Japan)
  • Brand new content and features to be announced over the coming months

About AudioMicro

AudioMicro is the largest micro stock music and sound effects collection. With over 300,000 royalty free music tracks and sound effects ready to be downloaded on demand, if it’s audio that you need, we’ve got you covered. We license music and sound effects to media producers of all shapes and sizes. Our music ends up in a wide variety of productions from independent regional advertisements to full scale national campaigns. Our sound effects can be heard in everything from Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2 to your friends’ recent YouTube video.

About Sound Ideas

Founded in 1978, Toronto-based Sound Ideas was the first company to release sound effects libraries on compact disc, and the first to release the sound effects library of a major motion picture studio. The company publishes more than 1,000 CDs and more than 150,000 sound effects.  It continues to adapt new technology in order to offer quality audio to professional sound designers and producers in the broadcast, post-production and multimedia industries.

Video Games and AudioMicro – Endless Possibilities

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AudioMicro has a massive library of royalty free music and sound effects, and its expanding everyday. Listening to such a vast collection of original sounds on a daily bases, its hard not think of all the fun projects that these tracks can be used for. So hard, in fact, that I had to get some of these ideas out of my head and onto the blog.

I am a huge video game fan, and almost every game I play incorporates a heavy dose of production music and sound effects. Video games, whether social apps or full blown computer games, can have an original piece of music for every moment of play. From the “press start” screen, to the main menu, to level select, and of course all levels, music is everywhere. You can have a jingle for when you beat the level, and then another for if you lose! When you fight the “Boss,” or when time is running out, when you got a new high score or watching the game credits, there is a musical need for every situation.

All of this, and we haven’t even gotten to the sound effects! From the ball dribbling to the crowd cheering, every single action requires its own sound effect, and sometimes they need more than one. You can rest assured that AudioMicro has enough sounds (and more) to fill every possible one.

Lets say we have a race-car game that involves cars that are equipped with “offensive weaponry”(sounds awesome already). We’ll call it “Speed Wars.” Now we’ll need some hypothetical music pieces for such a rad sounding title…here are a few potential winners I came across:

An intro piece:

Race Car Intro Techno

The race begins:

3, 2, 1 Go Voice Sound Effect

High action game play music:

Action/Adventure Video Game Music

The race is on! Lets go faster!

Acceleration

Gotta slow down around this turn!

Tire Skid

Whoa that car just crashed!

Metal Explosion

Now, lets get to the weapons:

Machine Gun Fire for when I need to pop a tire or two!

Machine Gun Warfare

The metal tire protectors are stopping my shots from penetrating!

Bullet Hits Metal

No problem, I’ll just bust out the GRENADE LAUNCHER:

Fire Grenade Launcher

I missed! But it made a great explosion!

Big Grenade Explosion

I shoot again, this time, I hit ‘em!

Car Explosion

I pass the finish line in 1st place! The crowd goes wild!

Cheering Crowd

That was fun, but it’s only the beginning. There are so many different ways to use AudioMicro it’s mind-boggling. What can you come up with?

AudioMicro Holiday Sale – Receive Up to 20 Free Bonus Credits on Purchases now through Christmas Night.

You read it right. Sale is live now through Christmas Night.

There are two tiers for this sale:

1. Make any credit package purchase of $199.99 or greater and receive an additional 20 bonus credits.

2. Make any credit package purchase of $99.99 or greater and receive an additional 10 bonus credits.

How it works:

Simply make your purchase as you would normally, and once your transaction is complete email customer service at audiomicro [at] audiomicro [dot] com and put in the subject line, “Redeem Holiday Sale Credits – ‘AudioMicro username’ “. We will confirm your purchase amount and put the appropriate number of bonus credits in your account immediately thereafter (It is important you include your username in the subject line for speedy turnaround).

That’s it. No hassle or promo codes necessary.

Sale closes officially at 11:59 PM PST on December 25th.

Happy Holidays from everyone here at AudioMicro.

Sounddogs Adds 15,000 Major Motion Picture Sound Effects to AudioMicro

Today we are proud to announce the addition of the Sounddogs sound effects library, adding over 15,000 professional royalty free sound effects to our ever expanding archive. Headed by Rob Nokes, whose credits include such films as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Real Steel, Million Dollar Baby, Generation Kill, and Seabiscuit, the Sounddogs collection is well known for being a comprehensive, progressive, original collection that also pulls from SoundStorm, a now defunct illustrious sound company that had seven Academy Award Nominations and over two-hundred and fifty feature film credits.

“Sounddogs pushes the envelope in sonic quality, selection, format, and delivery,” said Nokes. “Our affiliation with AudioMicro gives independent media creators another venue to access our sound effects and production elements.”

Sounddogs.com was started in August 1996, and went online in May 1997. It was the world’s first online commercial sound effects and production music library long before the Apple iTunes music store. Sounddogs prides itself on having a vast, easily accessible sound library for immediate download (in .aiff, .wav. and .mp3) and packaged on CD/DVD or hard drive as the entire Soundstorm library.  In November 2004, Sounddogs acquired the immense sound effects library of SoundStorm, a seven-time nominee and winner of an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing.

Categories within the new Sounddogs collection include ambience, animals, impacts, guns, science fiction, whooshes and everything in between.  The addition of Sounddogs brings AudioMicro’s total file count to over 225,000 stock music and sound effects tracks, all pre-cleared for use in creative audio-visual productions. More of Sounddogs 135,000 sound effects recordings will be added in 2011.

Our collection of user generated sound effects and royalty free music continues to grow in both quantity and quality, and we couldn’t be more excited about this burgeoning partnership with the original online sound effects provider, Sounddogs, as we move into 2011.

For more information or to check out the amazing sounds in this collection right away, simply click here.

Entourage Ferrari – The Hollywood Edge behind the scenes on “Entourage”

Our friends over at The Hollywood Edge Sound Effects Library recently provided their sound FX expertise in the season 6 premiere of HBO’s hit series, Entourage. Check out this video posted by the Edge as they take you behind the scenes of their day on the set, creating Entourage Ferrari sound effects and sound recordings for use in the HBO hit series.

In terms of recording audio and sound effects, the everyday listener may not realize that every automobile and its engine generates its own individual sounds and noises, which many car aficionados take very seriously. It may seem obvious that a Ferrari engine will sound different than one belonging to a Honda, but often times these details are overlooked and are taken for granted. Ferrari engines create their own unique sounds which The Hollywood Edge captures by recording such Ferrari models as the 430 Scuderia, the 559, the 612 Scaglietti, the California, and the F430. When you hear the effects on the show, you know you are really getting an authentic Ferrari engine sound recording. The Hollywood Edge and it’s parent company, Soundelux have been recognized as the best in their field, having been nominated for 4 Academy Awards as well as numerous Golden Reel Awards.  These guys are routinely hired by the top film directors in Hollywood to create and record authentic sound effects and sound recordings for major motion pictures.

Sound effects change our perception of the world

We’ve all seen rough and tumble fight scenes or screeching shoot-em-up car chases in movies. But it’s what you don’t see that really makes these scenes so emotionally compelling.

It all comes down to sound effects. It might seem like a less-than-astute observation, but oftentimes we forget that what we’re hearing is something added after the fact by foley artists. Especially when it comes to animated films, where every sound needs to be created from scratch.

The Cognitive Daily science blog wrote about this phenomenon back in 2007, and they have some interesting examples of actual scientific studies on this topic.  But having recently re-watched Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a film with notably complex sound design, it got me thinking about how important sound effects are in film, TV and the media — The film won two Oscars for sound design and sound effects editing in 1991.

For instance, check out this guy’s retooling of the famous Hindenberg disaster. The original footage was silent, but he adds stock sound effects and Herb Morrison’s news report of the incident. The result is an emotionally compelling piece of news footage that, though containing unoriginal audio aspects, more clearly conveys the horror of that fateful day.

One of my favorite skits from the show “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” is when they pick people out of the audience to provide sound effects for a couple of the players. Compare that to when they have one of the players do sound effects. Quite a different experience.

Also, in honor of our recently deceased King of Pop, here is a (somewhat stupid) reworking of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video with added sound effects.

Michael Jackson Bad (added sound effects)

The addition of “boing” sounds here and there distract from the song and make the video seem sillier than it really is.

It’s funny how sometimes when you really think about it, the most obvious things can surprise you.

Sound Tracks Utilizing Stock Music and Sound Effects from AudioMicro

Curious to see the AudioMicro sound library in action? Check out a few videos samples that incorporate music and sound effects from our library. Examples include movie scores, professional presentations, promotional videos, and personal slide shows.  Enjoy!

And here are a few links from around the web.

If you like motorcycles, you’ll enjoy this one…

The making of California Balloons, a short film about French spies…

A personal travel video about a trip to the beach…

A Trip to the Beach from Kerri Sheehan on Vimeo.

Support your favorite charity….

and last but not least, from Equal, the makers of LonelyGirl15, one of the most popular YouTube video series’ of all time…

What have you got to lose?

With micro payment, artists may think they are underselling themselves; however, the reality is that with micro payment, you are actually opening up your library to an entirely new group of content purchaser that never before would ever think about paying for a sync license – the YouTube crowd. As video continues to proliferate the internet, as internet video quality continues to improve (we can now watch HD videos and audio on free sites like Pluggedin) and video proliferates every website and blog, it’s obvious that audio becomes increasingly important in the equation. The importance of Audio is easy to overlook, but just try watching a movie without any sound, or try watching a video with only dialogue and no background music, sound effects, or other audio-visual goodness. It’s much less stimulating, if not totally unbearable. Without Audio, Video would be a dull boring and arguably meaningless mess. Licensing your content on AudioMicro opens up your portfolio to an entirely new audience, and and entirely new customer base. The market for online audio is going to continue to grow well into the foreseable future. Even bloggin softwares, including WordPress are incorporating one click audio (and video) insert options into all blog posts. Will bloggers be stealing (pirating) content or legally licensing in through a micro payment desination like AudioMicro. We believe that 90% of folks will “play by the rules” and do the right thing and purchase an AudioMicro subscription or credit package in order to properly secure the sync license required to add the meaningful, important, crucial audio content to their editorial and commercial projects, both online and offline.

For anyone concerned about selling their music on AudioMicro.com…

I’m a successful songwriter/composer who recently found out about AudioMicro, and became so enamored with the concept that I now am their Artist Recruiting Manager. In the past few weeks I’ve been talking to a lot of fellow musicians about AudioMicro, and the micro stock platform in general. There seems to be some mixed feelings and some misunderstandings about how artists fit into the whole micro stock picture.

For those who aren’t fully aware of the concept, micro stock simply means that the content (in this case audio/music) is crowd sourced – meaning ANYONE can submit content – and it’s sold for prices starting at $1 (in this case it’s $1 per minute of music). A few of my composer friends who make some decent money selling tracks for $30 or so in the royalty free space feel that micro stocking audio is going to devalue their music. It’s an understandable point of view, but in my humble opinion, a limited perspective.

See, whenever and wherever anything is sold, there is always the option of spending money on the high-end, or brand name version of the product, or the “generic” version of the product. If you use laundry detergent as an example, there is usually a few dollar difference between Tide and the generic brand, even though the ingredients are EXACTLY the same and we actually feel – sometimes better in the case of crowd sourced content.  Both brands make money and flourish because there will always be a market for both. Some people want to spend more money for the flashy brand, and some just want something that works regardless of the name or package. Sure you may make $30 or more by selling your music on a royalty free basis, but can it hurt you to open your “product” up to a consumer base that would rather spend less than that? Not at all in my opinion. People will still pay $30 for your music in that world just as fast people will spend a few bucks for your music in the micro stock world. You’re basically just opening up your customer base (the millions that can’t and won’t license audio for $30 a track) and creating new ways to make money by doing it. Not to mention the “theives” out there who only steal music — they’d also gladly pay $1 or 2 for music — it’s the same principle that has made iTunes so successful and has made people forget about scouring the internet for free music.

And above all, its risk free! At least take a handful of your tracks that haven’t ever earned a penny, and stick it up on this site. If you don’t like the way it works, just request to take em down. The artist has 100% ownership of their content and can remove it at any time.

In addition, AudioMicro offers the best royalty rate i’ve ever seen – 50% of every track sold.  As AudioMicro takes off, artists will be in position to make more money than ever before. When this site becomes the one-stop shop for stock audio, its not far fetched to think that many an artist could easily be making hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month, just in micro stock.

I can see how this will be the wave of the future, and as much as some musicians will resist the change, its the natural progression of things. Check out what has happened in the photography world and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to find content, and how easy it is to make money from your art. Micro stock opens up opportunities for artists that never existed before, and makes it so much easier for those who need to place music in their visual medium. It’s the perfect give and take for both sides – its about as democratic as it gets. I see it as having your cake and eating it too – continue to sell some of your music for as much as you can. Take advantage of the high end and also upon up your content to an entirely new class of customer with micro stock. But while you’re plcaing tracks directly with high end customers you can put the rest of your stuff here on AudioMicro and make some extra money on the side and get a feel for the ease in which the micro stock concept works – for everyones benefit. We see some folks making over $100k per year in royalties in the micro stock photo realm and there’s no reason why this can’t be the case in the music space, which is actually a larger market than photos. It will just take some time for the concept to take off, but being there ahead of the curve will give you a huge advantage.

Thats my two cents. I’ve looked at other stock music sites, and AudioMicro is by far the most artist friendly, easiest to navigate, and the music upload process is a breeze. Not to mention that other sites offer only a measly 20% royalty rate or the ones that want you to “share your content for free” under a creative commons license or some other format. I applaud AudioMicro for seeing the future and trying to make sure that artists out there are well aware of the new market shift ahead of the curve and we encourage artists to jump on board and take advantage of the revolution rather than being resistant and scared of it.

Sincerely,

Gideon Black, Artist Recruiting Manager
www.audiomicro.com
Los Angeles, CA

(818) 651-6311

Why is there a need for AudioMicro?

Lot’s of people are asking this question so it’s become important that we put it down in writing.? FY 2008 YTD has seen the decline of traditional media companies in terms of revenue growth, earnings growth (or declines), and gross margin percentages.? Traditional media companies include the Disney’s Time Warner’s, News Corp’s, Viacom’s, CBS Corps’, as well as companies like Barry Diller’s Interactive Corp (IAC), which at the present moment is being broken up into separate entities with the online business (as well as the others, including lending and ticket sales to name a few) spinning off into their own separate public entities.? In total, we read that there will be 3 entities created out of the present IAC.? On to the point of this post….This is a highly competitive space and over the long run, while revenues experience slow or no growth, CEO’s and CFO’s turn to drastic measures such as layoffs, restructurings, and costs-cutting considerations.? This (Costs Cutting Considerations) is where AudioMicro comes into the picture.? How can the media companies produce identical content with a reduction in production expenses?? There are many answers to this query; however, the one which AudioMicro answers is that by purchasing micro stock music and sound effects, one can reduce the stock music and sound effects budget by an estimated 50% minimum, and the reality is that the costs could even be reduced as much as 99%, demonstrating the power of micro stock / micro payment licensing to shrink existing rights managed and royalty free? music licensing markets.