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SFX strategies for movies: DIY or libraries?

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Robert Withers
SFX strategies for movies: DIY or libraries?
on May 22, 2014 at 4:19:44 pm

What's the current thinking/practice about sources for sound effects for sound design editing?
It seems sound designers for big-budget movies still like to record/create original sounds, from Foleys to recordings in the field.
Yet there's so much available now from good quality sound effects libraries.
I've done both in the past . . .
Now ramping up for some sound editing activity for a current project.
Or is this one of those questions with so many individual answers that it's unanswerable?
Robert

Robert Withers

Independent/personal/avant-garde cinema, New York City


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Richard Crowley
Re: SFX strategies for movies: DIY or libraries?
on May 23, 2014 at 3:31:50 am

It seems to me that it comes down to resources (time, budget, talent). Do you have the luxury of paying good SFX people to go out and collect/create custom SFX? How demanding is the project? Does it need unusual SFX, or can you achieve the desired results with judicious use of library cuts?


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Bob Kessler
Re: SFX strategies for movies: DIY or libraries?
on May 23, 2014 at 4:01:06 pm

Okay, Foley is always performed live to picture, so all Foley is created specifically for each film. If you are getting footsteps, etc. from a sound library you are cutting sound effects. A technical difference, I admit, but one you should be aware of.

My niche as an audio post facility is low/no/mini/micro budget projects. I create as many custom sounds as I can within the budget and deadline/schedule. However, custom recording of many sounds is way beyond the budget of my clients, so I must rely upon libraries for a lot of things like weapons, vehicles and the like. I do all of my own Foley, but when it comes to sound effects I definitely use a fair amount of library material layered with sounds that I record myself.

To create your own sound effects and Foley you need a fairly quiet room plus a decent mic or two and a a solid mic preamp.

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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Robert Withers
Re: SFX strategies for movies: DIY or libraries?
on May 23, 2014 at 5:21:32 pm

Yeh. I used to work at a small sound mixing/recording studio that serviced mostly 16mm filmmakers. We had a little booth for VO recording, a nice collection of microphones, lots of 1/4" tapes with SFX cues, an analog mixing board with outboard digital processors. Most fun: the studio floor could be pulled up to reveal a Foley floor with different surfaces--dirt, plywood, tile--for recording footsteps to picture.

Basic editing and recording strategies seem not to have changed much in recent decades, though now we use computers and DAWs instead of projectors and flatbeds, and there seems to be a huge availability of relatively inexpensive, high-quality SFX libraries since I last cut SFX with 16mm magnetic film clips.

Robert Withers

Independent/personal/avant-garde cinema, New York City


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