I experienced a series of surprises while browsing my Twitter feed earlier last month. The first was an announcement of Todd-AO’s new dialogue noise reduction software, Absentia DX. The second was that it was produced by respected Hollywood sound supervisor and field recordist Rob Nokes. The third was that it was priced at $49.

Now, I have zero experience editing dialogue for feature films. So, why would this announcement intrigue me? Of course, I didn’t expect to be cutting dialogue. Instead, my first thought was: “can this work on field recordings?”

I emailed Nokes. I asked if it was possible to use Absentia with sound effects. He mentioned that his teams were already using it with Foley tracks. That was all I needed to know. I purchased and installed the software a half hour later.

How well does Absentia work with sound fx tracks? Will it improve troubled field recordings laced with buzz or noise? Does it have potential to rival iZotope RX’s noise reduction software at a tenth of the price? Can “Absentia DX” serve as “Absentia FX?”

In today’s post we will find out. In this “first look” article, we’ll see if a dialogue noise reduction tool can be hacked to help master damaged sound effects captured in the field.

Continue Reading…

Last week I shared an unusual idea: recording door sound effects is the best way to increase your field recording skill.

How can you learn these skills? What’s the best way to record door sound fx?

Today’s post is a quick-start guide to help you capture excellent door field recordings.

Continue Reading…

What is the test of a good sound effects library? What separates superior collections from weak ones? Are some field recording libraries better than others?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. Years ago, I worked at the sound sharing website Sounddogs.com. Part of my job was adding sound fx to the website. I was in charge of vetting each sound library submission. I listened to every clip we considered adding. These days, I still listen to every independent sound library I add to the search engine website Sound Effects Search: over 1,600 so far.

You may think that the first clips I listen to would be a publisher’s superstar sound effects: the gunshots, the wild animals, or the fireworks. In fact, though, when I discover a new sound library, the first sound I search for is doors. I don't bother with the tanks or speedboats. Why?

Door field recordings are revealing. They tell you a lot about a collection. In particular, they showcase a field recordist's skill in unsuspecting ways.

Hyperbole? Today's article will test that claim. This post will share thoughts on the value of door sound fx and how you can amplify your field recording skills by capturing these unsung sound clips.

Continue Reading…

sound-fx-library-ideas-v2

Last week I shared a roundup of articles I had written that share how to sell sound effects.

That’s one of the most popular questions I receive from readers. What’s the second-most popular question? Unsurprisingly, it asks about the next step in selling sound fx libraries:

  • What’s the best topic or theme for my first sound fx library?
  • What is the best subject for a sound collection?
  • What title is best for a new sound clip library?
  • How do I find a good idea for a new sound fx library?

Today’s post will be a roundup of advice I’ve shared to answer that question both here, and on other websites.

Continue Reading…

how-to-sell-sound-effects-v2

It’s quite exciting to see many field recordists and sound designers eager to begin sharing sound fx with the community. I receive many emails from people curious about selling sound.

Writing about sharing field recordings on the Web is one of my favourite article topics. However, as the site grows larger, those posts are a bit trickier to find amongst the other articles.

That may be why I still receive many questions about sharing sound, such as:

  • How do I sell sound effects?
  • How do I create a sound fx library?
  • How do I design a sound effect library?

Those are all good questions. So, it’s time for a refresher. Today’s article is a roundup of all previous posts about sharing sound.

Continue Reading…

Sony PCM-D100 Angle

I've been meaning to write a review of the Sony's PCM-D100 portable audio recorder for some time now.

The D100 is the successor to Sony's popular PCM-D50 model. The D50 is known for its excellent sound quality, impressive battery life, and sturdy construction. How does the PCM-D100 (US$775) measure up to its older brother? This article will take a "deep dive" into the D100 to learn what's new, what's changed, and how it performs in the field. It also includes dozens of field recordings from the D100 and other recorders that you can download and experiment with yourself. So, settle in and join me to explore this popular portable audio recorder.

Please note, I'm very detailed. This is an in-depth review that will take approximately 24 minutes to read. If you prefer, click the link below to email yourself a copy to read later.


Continue Reading…

Best Posts of 2016

2017/01/04

best-of-2016-hero

Every year I summarize the most popular posts from the year before. I also include a few favourites I’ve enjoyed writing.

Let’s take a look.

Continue Reading…

Recording Jet Airliners in the UK

jet-airliners

Earlier this month I released the free Jet Fly Bys sound effects library over on Airborne Sound. I explained that I had captured those field recordings when I found myself living beneath the flight path of an international airport.

A reader recently wrote me to tell me he tried the same technique after reading the post here. Chris Procopiou lives near Heathrow Airport outside of London, England. He described his experience recording his own jet airliners in a post on his blog. And here's a bonus: he's offering them to the community free of charge. Check them out!

Read the article on Chris' blog and download the sound library.

Los Angeles Smokey

It's a running joke between my brother and I: he's always found himself living in places with too much noise and I'm trying to find places with a lot of it.

Continue Reading…

motivations-2-0

Why do field recordists capture sound effects?

The last post revealed that many sound pros record audio for the chase: they gather sounds for a specific purpose, or to claim a technical achievement. They use their skill to preserve these sounds. And, for others, they gather audio to amplify their experience of the world around them.

That post looked at how sound itself motivates field recordists. Many are inspired by other, more nebulous reasons, too. So, today’s posts will look at the abstract elements that inspire sound pros: the art of field recording.

Please note: this post explores this idea in depth. It will take you about 15 minutes to read this article. If you’d prefer, click the button below to email the article to yourself to read later.


Continue Reading…