Because of the lack of education in the film production community about cue sheets, we get a constant flow of questions about cue sheet filings. This post’s question is about sound effects.
Question: We purchased some audio sound effects from Productiontrax.com recently, and are filing cue sheets. Do we need to include every sound file we used on the cue sheet? How do we do this?
You can breathe a sigh of relief, because this one has an easy answer: no. Sound effects are not entered on cue sheets (unless it’s a bona fide musical composition).
There’s a technical copyright-law-legalese explanation for why that is, but basically, one can’t stake a claim to the underlying intellectual property of a fart or a honk or a quack or a bark or a… you get the idea. While the actual sound recording is copyrighted, and yes, you need to license it, there is no public performance right associated to it, and therefore, there is no need to track it.
As briefly mentioned, however, the one exception is when a sound effect contains a musical composition. For example, a sound effect of someone playing or singing Happy Birthday would need to be reported on a cue sheet. Why? Because the song Happy Birthday is under copyright (yes it is) and has public performance rights and royalties attached to it.
Hopefully, this should come as a relief to all of you out there who like to throw a million sound effects into a single production project — like we did in our YouTube video. Leave the sound effects off your cue sheets (in fact, our automated cue sheet tool will not even let them be entered) — and sit back and enjoy the fruits of you labor for once.
We’ve added a new episode of our royalty free music podcast on iTunes, featuring some of the newest stock production music on Productiontrax.com for the month of April, 2012. The royalty free music featured are all available for download and royalty-free use in any multimedia project, and we focused on a variety of styles and genres, all with great production value and a professional sound.
We then switched gears to a guitar-heavy classic rock track by Space Taster called Detonator. Great track for anything needing a bit of an edge. Worlds Apart is an Indian-infused orchestral cue that combines traditional orhcestra with sitar and other south-asian elements by Abbas Premjee. If you need some authentic Afro-Cuban stock music, Train to Havana by Will Tang is a great live track that captures the essence of Latin-American music. But don’t get too comfortable, because Funktrondelic by Michael Norman will just blow your mind, combining psychadelic rock with classic funk and a bit of electronica to fill out this awesome royalty free funk soundtrack.
If you need something a bit more nostalgic, return to the 80s with April Anderson’s I’m So Glad, a female vocal pop tune that works well for so many kinds of projects, including commerical, feature film, and the requisite 80′s Montage. It will turn back time! Filling out the rest of the Productiontrax.com New Royalty Free Music Podcast on iTunes is a dramatic film music cue called From the Darkness, with chilling piano and dark undertones, perfect for any suspenseful scene, follwed by our lead-out of the month Radio Flyer, a hard hitting, high-energy Punk & Ska composition.
Subscribe for free today, and stay tuned for next month’s episode.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it’s true, paying for music and adhering to copyright laws does create jobs, like in this post.
And yet, the “free music economy” persists, as more and more internet surfers demand cheap or free content to use as they please. But I think there is a happy medium between the “free music economy” and prohibitively expensive licensing, and that happy medium is stock music. As computer and mobile devices become increasingly more capable, and barriers to entry in creative tasks fall, more and more people want that soundtrack for their slideshow, presentation, home movie, or viral YouTube hit. I would say most infringers steal because they simply can’t afford to play the music industry’s game, nor is their project worthy of that kind of scrutiny.
Instead of stealing, though, which I think we can all agree stifles creativity and hurts content creators, keeping food off their tables and forcing otherwise talented artists to find work elsewhere, stock music is a reasonable, affordable alternative. Artists should look at ways they can bring their products to market in ways such as this as a more desirable alternative to giving away all their stuff for free. Doing so would counteract the pirate culture. I see stock music as bridging the gap, either to bring out an unknown’s work to the public, or to lengthen the revenue tail of a song that has fallen by the wayside amidst constant musical innovation.
Similarly, multimedia authors need to step back and do things the right way. Afterall, they probably wouldn’t like it if we broke into their home and took their family photos and plastered them online… unless they already do that on Facebook. There are options for affordable projects — and stock media is one of them, which effectively keeps musicians and artists employed and the economy running so that there will be new music for the next project.
We’re getting near the dreaded summer lull, where every production music and sound recording professional on Earth seems to go on vacation (everyone except for me!). But summer doesn’t have to be slow. In fact, it can be a great time to beef up your music or sound effects library. Take stock now of what media you can create to appeal to summertime projects, and remember that summer production schedules are getting ready for the fall season. Always be one step ahead so that your clients can find what they need!
Here are some ideas for what to point your microphones at over the next few months:
Summer and Early Fall sound effects
Ballpark ambience and sound effects Beach ambience
Boating sound effects
Sounds of outdoor activities like grilling on the barbecue or swimming pools
Household sounds like sprinklers
School sounds, school bells, pencil sharpeners, erasers, markers, chalkboards… eeeeeeee!
Air conditioners running, starting and stopping
Ice cubes cracking
Ice cream truck sound effects
Get the idea? There are plenty of new sound effects opportunities, and thinking seasonally with your sound effects can help you beat the heat and get a head start on summer.