Old College Work: Sound Effects
For a class on audio design, we were tasked with replacing the audio tracks (music and effects) of existing pieces of video. The two I’m most proud of were my versions of the StarCraft II debut trailer and Neill Blomkamp’s short film, “Alive in Joburg” (upon which District 9 is based).
To begin, I watched each video over and over again, writing down the main sound effects I felt like I needed to nail. I then set out with a handheld audio recorder to capture sounds I thought could be either warped in post-production to fit, or combined with something else. I also recorded little “glue” bits along the way to help fill in the smaller stuff.
Joburg was the one I did first. I’ll bet you can pick out some familiar sounds:
Most sounds here are 1:1. Boots are boots, clothing noise is clothing, metal clangs are metal kitchen implements. For the gunshots, I recorded a bunch of stuff hitting other stuff (a baseball with a pan, my fist on a table for bass effect), and I think I popped a zip-lock bag or two. I then threw everything into Apple Logic and just started layering. I still think they sound kind of weak.
For other stuff I had to get creative. I didn’t know anyone with a cool accent, so to produce (vaguely) South African police chatter, I found a website that streams police scanners from Australia. Sorry, I know they’re totally different, but it’s all I could find!
Okay how about this one:
I kind of cheated at the end there, keeping the original voice, but scattered throughout are car keys, a refrigerator door, the parking brake in my car sped up 800% (the welders), a hard drive spinning up, me punching a cookie sheet, closing my oven door, and tons more I can’t remember.
It was a fun project! I’d love to see the inside of a real foley studio one day. That seems like one of the best jobs in the world.