Sound Effects Ideas for Summer

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
Baseball sounds
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
Bonfire sounds
Camping sounds
Fireworks
School sounds, school bells, pencil sharpeners, erasers, markers, chalkboards… eeeeeeee!
Air conditioners running, starting and stopping
Lemonade stirring
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.

Reorganizing The Production Music Studio

Every now and then I get a little antsy. Lately, I’ve been thinking of updading my home studio with some new music production gear, software… or even just rearranging the room a bit. I’ve always wanted the studio to be an inspiring space, something that lends itself to hours of work comfortably, while also giving me that spark of creativity. For me, the studio needs to be fun and inviting — I have to want to go in there! Otherwise, I won’t be creating much new production music, or doing my work for that matter.

I stumbled on this swank set-up: http://www.desktopped.com/featured/2010/11/home-av-recording-studio-and-tv-room/

A bit lacking in music gear, but pretty sweet nonetheless. It kind of reminds me of my office, but there’s something about it that screams I can be creative there. Or I can get some work done there.

Maybe it’s just the clean desk.

What’s your setup like? How do you keep your music production space fresh and inviting and inspiring? Do you have a dedicated room for your home studio, or did you throw all your music gear in a corner or closet. Or do you work in a dungeon?

Royalty Free Music for Book Trailers

When Laura Elliot, an author of young adult and middle grade fiction, needed royalty free music for the trailers for her latest novels, she turned to Productiontrax.com for her stock media, helping her to promote her books online.

For her first trailer, she featured her book Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale, about a seventeen-year old girl who solves the riddle of her past on an enchanted road trip where fear’s as blind as love, using Mariachi Music Soundtrack from Productiontrax.

For 13 on Halloween, book 1 in the coming-of-age fantasy series explores popularity and what it means to have it all, she turned to royalty free music from Productiontrax to complete her soundtrack.

Elliot’s upcoming release: “I’m currently in production on a third book trailer for my latest release Transfer Student, a freaky-Friday young-adult scifi romance adventure about a Beverly Hills surfer girl who swaps lives with a boy geek alien when his teleporting telescope experiment goes bad. They swap lives and learn about their dreams by surviving their nightmares.”

Find out more at http://laurasmagicday.wordpress.com/

Stock Photos and Pixlr: Editing Your Images for Free

Pixlr
Pixlr is an excellent online image editor for editing your stock photos.
If you’re like me, you’re on the go. A lot. I’m finding it increasingly more and more difficult to find time to edit media, let alone do my daily work! This is why I’ve been turning to more mobile services and making almost every aspect of business portable so that I can work wherever I am.

Enter Pixlr. Pixlr (http://www.pixlr.com) has been around for quite some time now, but has recently become one of my go-tos for image editing. Whether I’m cleaning up some stock photos, or working on graphics for the new Productiontrax design (unveiling very very soon!), Pixlr has become an invaluable tool, and I’m a huge fan.

Pixlr works exactly like Photoshop, minus a few higher end features and image exporting options (for example, it can’t add IPTC data or XMP tags, and you can only export to a handful of popular photo formats). Limitations aside, however, Pixlr is stable, solid, and well coded. It works brilliantly, and I can do just about anything I need to in order to create stunning images and stock photos, from gradients and fills, to transparency and high quality filter effects. And best of all, it’s free.

Don’t get me wrong, software developers deserve every penny they make from creating indespensable software, but after my 4th system update in as many months, and having to work in multiple platforms, I couldn’t justify another few hundred bucks to update Photoshop… again… or the extra licenses. Pixlr, on the other hand, is always there, right in my browser. And whether I’m at home on my computer, in the studio, or on the road with my laptop, Mac or PC, I always have an image editor.

No, Autodesk didn’t pay me for this review, it’s just that awesome.

Stock Footage Submission Ideas

Many projects require professional video footage in order to meet their production goals, whether you’re making a promotional video or a documentary. Using stock footage is a great way to finish off a project. If you’re a filmmaker, producing stock footage can be an excellent source of income. By licensing or selling your footage to archives and distributors, such as www.productiontrax.com, you can make your stock footage available in the marketplace. So what kind of footage are people looking for? Here are some ideas for stock footage submissions.

Nature – Capturing scenes from nature is a great idea for stock footage clips. Nature stock footage shots are frequently used in many types of productions, and are easy to capture. No matter where you live, there is surely a scene waiting to be filmed in nature. Scenes of different elements of the open world are great, such as forests, rivers, landscapes, and animals interacting in nature are ideal. See what your area has to offer, or make a short trip outside the city to see what you can find.

Urban Areas – If you’re miles away from any kind of possible nature shoot, then capture some footage of the city! Film of city skylines and streets make excellent stock footage, and are simple shots to film. Post up on a street corner and grab some footage of cars passing by, or set up a camera and film the clouds passing behind the city. Also, see if your city has any recognizable monuments or buildings, as these make great subjects for stock footage.

People – A sure-fire idea for stock footage is film of people, in all their shapes and forms. While it may seem like an obvious subject for stock footage, it is a simple idea and easy to produce. Shots of people interacting in different casual settings are easy and cheap to film. Scenes of people in the park, people working in the office, or people at the market are just a few examples. When filming in public, though, be sure you have the correct permits as well as the permission of the subjects you are filming.

Hopefully these simple ideas help spark your imagination enough so that you can produce some of your own stock footage. Now get out there and start filming!