I bought this instrument for a bargain price at a music store quite some time ago. It’s an inexpensive Japanese made version of a melodica. They sound a lot like harmonicas, but has a keyboard to play the notes. Hohner makes the most popular versions of this instrument, but I really like the gravelly tone of this one that I recorded during a session on August 2, 2006.
In January, 2008 I wrote about the sound design I had produced for an animated short film called “Drown” (43mb – right click to download the movie) by Aaron Dabelow. In that entry I illustrated how I created ambiance for the underwater atmosphere of the piece. Here’s a recording of my electric beard trimmer. I used it to create the sound for the mechanical humming bird like creatures in the film at about 1:08 minutes.
As I was recording I moved the beard trimmer past and around the mic to simulate the movement of the creatures, which use high speed rotary fans for locomotion. Once I synchronized the the audio to the animation it seemed to fit quite well. As you can see, it’s probably about time that I stopped recording electric razors and started using them on my face.
On YouTube there are a total of seven excellent mini-documentary episodes on how the sound design was produced for Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong. Here’s a playlist of all seven videos. In the first video Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins explain why they prefer not to use sounds from pre-recorded libraries.
During my life as a musician, audio engineer and sound designer I have always been fascinated by the unique ways we construct believable sound environments. The concept of AudioCookbook.org is to pass on what we have learned as sound designers, foley artists, musicians and engineers by hosting “recipes for sound design”. This can include all sorts of things we do as audio professionals to create great sounding productions. From crazy foley techniques to step-by-step sound design tutorials.
Plenty of great sites offer terabytes of pre-recorded audio files. That’s not the purpose here. The goal is to share fun and useful techniques on how to create high quality, original sound effects. Perhaps this will lead people to reach for the microphone instead of browsing for needle drop. To help illustrate techniques, an integrated media plugin routes audio or video files directly into a player within posts. If you’re an audio professional and interested in sharing your techniques we please consider participating.