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  1. Member
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    Hello Pro filmmakers!

    I am just starting out and finding the right sound effects is becoming very challenging and time consuming.

    My problem is, when I hear an ideal sound effects in a film and find it suitable for my video too, I have so much trouble finding it on the 1000's of sound fx websites or in my own database! Even I don't know what it's called so I can search for it! sometimes I spend a full day just trying to find a right sound fx by try and error and listen to countless sound effects!mad!

    I hope there's a more efficient way to do this. How does pro filmmaker really find their ideal sound effects quickly?
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  2. Member
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    The more time you spend with libraries the better you will get at interpreting descriptions. But there is no way around having to listen to tons of clips to find something you like. Pros hire people who are already familiar with thousands of clips or they record effects at the microphone/synthesizer.
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  3. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    As someone who used to do that on a daily basis, for a living, I can attest that JVRaines is right on the money. You get better at intuiting what is needed based on the descriptions given to you and your understanding of the visual shot & its context, but there is still OFTEN hours and hours not only of searching databases of your own or possibly additional (online?) libraries (I personally own 4 complete ones myself), but also auditioning or testing sounds against picture, and comparing things against each other A/B style. Even more pro is to go out and get "found" nat sound, or even do Foley work to create from scratch.
    Plus, one OFTEN does not use a single effect when sound designing, but rather an edited blend of multiple, related effects that build up to a new SUPER effect.

    Example: for a musical, I had to create the (intentionally humorous) sound effect of a body falling down a flight of steps and crashing at the bottom (off-screen/stage). I used 6 or 8 effects in the mix, though the base of it was my own recording of a pair of tied-together sneakers which I had tumbling in a clothes dryer, pitched down.

    This all can take HOURS and HOURS, even for a single effect.

    Scott

    <edit>It does get easier with time & habit, though. You get used to the nomenclature of particular libraries, as well as generally with audio engineers and/or musicians, filmmakers, TV producers. The best ones can give you a reasonable facsimile using stock effects in a matter of minutes, then flesh out improvements as needed.
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 17th Jan 2019 at 13:57.
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  4. Member
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    As someone who used to do that on a daily basis, for a living, I can attest that JVRaines is right on the money. You get better at intuiting what is needed based on the descriptions given to you and your understanding of the visual shot & its context, but there is still OFTEN hours and hours not only of searching databases of your own or possibly additional (online?) libraries (I personally own 4 complete ones myself), but also auditioning or testing sounds against picture, and comparing things against each other A/B style. Even more pro is to go out and get "found" nat sound, or even do Foley work to create from scratch.
    Plus, one OFTEN does not use a single effect when sound designing, but rather an edited blend of multiple, related effects that build up to a new SUPER effect.

    Example: for a musical, I had to create the (intentionally humorous) sound effect of a body falling down a flight of steps and crashing at the bottom (off-screen/stage). I used 6 or 8 effects in the mix, though the base of it was my own recording of a pair of tied-together sneakers which I had tumbling in a clothes dryer, pitched down.

    This all can take HOURS and HOURS, even for a single effect.

    Scott

    <edit>It does get easier with time & habit, though. You get used to the nomenclature of particular libraries, as well as generally with audio engineers and/or musicians, filmmakers, TV producers. The best ones can give you a reasonable facsimile using stock effects in a matter of minutes, then flesh out improvements as needed.

    Thank you! my requirements are very simple, I want to create something similar to this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwKS8j9zSa4

    how can I identify the sound effects of a clip by listening to it, and find it on the web? my main issue is identify or name a sound after listening to it, any sound pack you can recommend that can cover all the sound effects used in this clip?

    Cheers,
    Mehdi
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  5. Member
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    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    The more time you spend with libraries the better you will get at interpreting descriptions. But there is no way around having to listen to tons of clips to find something you like. Pros hire people who are already familiar with thousands of clips or they record effects at the microphone/synthesizer.
    Thank you! my requirements are very simple, I want to create something similar to this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwKS8j9zSa4

    how can I identify the sound effects of a clip by listening to it, and find it on the web? my main issue is identify or name a sound after listening to it, any sound pack you can recommend that can cover all the sound effects used in this clip?

    Cheers,
    Mehdi
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  6. Member
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    You can always start with onomatopoeias. If a sound goes "pop!" then search for "pop." Or "swoosh" or "burble." Then try something the sound reminds you of, like "jet flies past." It also helps to know something about music so you can search, for example, for "glockenspiel slide" or "triangle hit."
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  7. Member
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    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    You can always start with onomatopoeias. If a sound goes "pop!" then search for "pop." Or "swoosh" or "burble." Then try something the sound reminds you of, like "jet flies past." It also helps to know something about music so you can search, for example, for "glockenspiel slide" or "triangle hit."
    correct me if I'm wrong, it's more like a try and error and keyword search skill
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  8. Member
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    Originally Posted by mshah View Post
    correct me if I'm wrong, it's more like a try and error and keyword search skill
    Yeah, that's pretty fair. It's actually fun if you like sound. If you don't like listening to lots of weird audio clips, maybe you should turn the task over to someone else.
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  9. Member ChapmanDolly's Avatar
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    You should also be prepared to think outside the box. One effect I needed was the sound of compacted snow being broken up with an ice pick. The perfect sound for this was a horror effect of stabbing with a knife.
    Canon G40 - Dell XPS8700 i7 - Win 10 - 24gb RAM - GTX 1060 6GB - DaVinci Resolve 16.0b6 -- Dell dual Xeon Workstation - Win 7 Ultimate - 16gb ECC RAM - GTX 650 - Pro Tools 2018.3
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  10. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mshah View Post
    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    The more time you spend with libraries the better you will get at interpreting descriptions. But there is no way around having to listen to tons of clips to find something you like. Pros hire people who are already familiar with thousands of clips or they record effects at the microphone/synthesizer.
    Thank you! my requirements are very simple, I want to create something similar to this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwKS8j9zSa4

    how can I identify the sound effects of a clip by listening to it, and find it on the web? my main issue is identify or name a sound after listening to it, any sound pack you can recommend that can cover all the sound effects used in this clip?

    Cheers,
    Mehdi
    Didn't go far into it, but I can name a bunch that I heard the first few minutes:
    Single water droplet into larger body of water - drip, blop - foley it. Easy.
    Panned, bandpass-limited whitenoise - Whoosh - use a synth to generate it. Hard to find exactly in sfx lib as there are so many variations based on method of generation & filtering.
    Bubbles being blown through a straw - blublublubl - foley it or sflx lib Very easy.
    Kids laughing & cheering - yea! - stage the recording or find kids/children, cheer, walla in sfx lib.
    Clapping - clap, clap, clap - again, stage the recording or find handclaps, clapping, crowd applause (small) in sfx lib.
    ...and it goes on and on.
    It only gets easier with LOTS of practice.

    Which library depends on their, and your, preferences. Some are free, some are FAR from cheap, but very comprehensive. In general, you get what you pay for.
    Examples of ones I've used: Sound Ideas, BBC, AudioBlocks, Hollywood Edge, "Complete" (which was far from complete), SoundDogs, DeWolf, WB...

    It ultimately isn't "easy", but that's why pros who know what they're doing and can do it with efficiency & high quality can still get paid to do this kind of work

    To get better, try doing what I did when I was doing research on post production very early in my career: totally deconstruct a movie (as completed) back into its constituent parts: shots, script, dialogue, musical cues, sfx & foley, optical & digitally generated post fx, physical effects & stunts, camera moves & angles. You get a much better understanding of what is involved and how everything is interrelated, also what the creators were probably originally intending.

    Scott
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 18th Jan 2019 at 23:57.
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  11. Member
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    JVraines hit the answer on the head. Pros are Professionals because they can do things in the most efficient manner, which includes using other's time and resources rather than their own. They also usually know ahead of time before shooting what sound effect will fit the the shot they're taking.

    Years ago, I used to do graphics work as a sideline, but despite getting offers to do it professionally, even being offered to be introduced to some ad agencies based on some in-store ads I made for the cell phone store I managed, I refused because anything I could think up or do would be done in 1/10th the time by a pro.
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