Using Royalty Free Sound Effects to Create High Quality Location Sound

If you’ve ever filmed a scene on a windy day or outside on a busy street, you know how valuable sound effects are for recreating or even creating ambience and the audio landscape from scratch. If you’re a seasoned sound editing pro, or a beginner looking to get in on the basics, follow these three tips to create a vibrant soundtrack for your film or video using royalty free sound effects.

royalty free sound effects1) Start with variety, avoid looping. It can be tempting to put sound effects on loop. But if you need to create a soundscape of a busy intersection with lots of cars passing by, select several different cars and different “car passing by” sound effects. Why? Think about it: when you’re on the street, does the same care pass you by 30 times in 2 minutes? No, they’re all different. So find as many different drive-by sound effects as you can, and do your best not to loop the same one over and over again. You can vary timing of entrances, stagger multiple, even mess with the eq or tone of individual effects if you only have a couple to work with. This will enhance realism, and give you the most realistic sound.

2) Pick dry sound effects over affected effects. In other words, add your own reverb (echo). No two sound effects are going to have been recorded in the same space, so to make your audience believe their ears, you’ll have to tweak the reverb a bit. In a cave? Add some echo. On a windy mountain top, go as dry as you can. In a tiled room, put just enough reverb on the effect to make it sound like the noises are bouncing off the tiles. When you do this, be sure to take note of your reverb settings, and try to get a consistent sound when you’re creating sounds in the same “room”.

3) Use your ears in real life. Go out to the ocean and listen. Really listen. What do you hear on that shoreline? Is it realistic to put a barge passing by in your soundbed in a beach scene? Not likely. Listening closely to the way rooms and locations sound in real life will help you create better, more realistic sounding atmospheres. It will also get your creative juices flowing. Can you hear construction outside an office window? How about the sound of kids playing in a park — the rub of a slide, or the thud of falling to the ground? Getting a grasp on the individual elements that make up chaos is an important step in the soundtrack creation process.

3 Reasons to Use Royalty Free Stock Music In Your Film Production

The words royalty free and stock music might have a negative connotation in some filmmaking circles. But the reality is that using stock audio strategically and appropriately within your productions can have a positive impact on both your creative output and your bottom line. Here are three great reasons to use some royalty free music in your next film.stock music

1) Stock music is cheap. There we said it. Stock music is cheaper than most sources of music, whether you’re looking at custom composed tracks (which can run you several hundred to several hundred thousand dollars), library music (which carry license fees per use, per second, and based on the size of your production), or even licensing a popular song through a publisher (can we say, pricey?). Stock music requires a one time fee, usually $50 to $100 for commercial usage, and that’s it.

2) Stock music actually sounds good. It’s true. More and more professional musicians and artists are realizing the value in contributing work to the royalty free music scene — it gives them more exposure, allows them to make more money from their music, and gives them some control over their careers. That means that gone are the days when stock music sounded hoakey or cheap, so you can put asside any pre-conceived notions that stock music will make your project sound bad. You can get some really great sounding tracks that work with your visuals seamlessly and have great production value and in any style you could dream of. Combine it with some sound effects, and people will think you had custom top-of-the-line audio work in your production.

3) Royalty free music saves you time. With the help of powerful online search functions, keyword tagging, and lightboxes, you can put together a soundtrack in mere minutes without spending a dime on music supervision services or waiting for cues from a composer. And time is money. You can go from concept to final product in hours instead of weeks. Throw in some HD stock footage for good measure, and take care of some of your shot needs, as well!

Professional Use of Sound Effects in Filmmaking

At one time, films were silent. They did not have a score, audible actors or the audio effects that we have come to expect in modern pictures. Back then, the first movies with sound were called “talkies.” This is similar to how motion picture was first shortened to “movie.” Nowadays, it is standard for a film to feature licensed or original music, a score that heightens the drama and intensity of the onscreen action and a plethora of carefully-selected sound effects.

Choosing the right effect can do an amazing job of intensifying onscreen action. Without the screech of the tires and the reverberating sound of the metal, a high-speed car crash would not have the same impact, even if it was depicted using state of the art effects techniques. Properly chosen and filtered ambient noise can make the audience feel like they are physically in the setting of the film. The recorded and processed sounds of crowds, rainstorms and city noise can set the mood and add a great deal of depth to any scene.

With how crucial audio effects are to the overall cohesion of a film, choosing the wrong effects can prove catastrophic. As an example, consider the American film “The Ring.” This picture was based on a Japanese film entitled “Ringu.” In one scene, a mother tosses her daughter into a well. In the American version, this was accomplished using silence from a tape and ambient noise for the scene in which the tape was being played. “Ringu” opted for a cartoon “Thwap” effect. This is a prime case of where it is crucial to avoid cliche effects and unrealistic content in order to keep the audience engaged.

Video Encoding and Conversion Software for Stock Footage Clips

When you download a stock footage clip from Productiontrax (or any other content provider, for that matter), sometimes you have to do a little work with the video file to get it to fit into your project just right, or to even be imported properly into your video editing software. Whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for some more options to add to your arsenal, or you new to video editing and are looking for a good tool for encoding and converting your stock footage clips, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most poular video conversion software out there with a few notes.

Productiontrax accepts and delivers all stock footage in Quicktime (.mov) format, which tends to be universally importable these days in video editing software. There may be times, however, when you want the clip in .mp4 or .avi for different software and computer systems, so that’s when conversion comes in really handy. You may also need to adjust compression rates, frame rates, bit rates, or some-other-technical-specificatiton-rates to fit your project, maybe for broadcast, or web streaming purposes. Whatever the application, this list should cover your needs.

video software MPEGMPEG Video Wizard DVD (Windows)
Also known as MVW-DVD, this is video editing software that allows users to create DVDs with menus. You can export video files to MPEG-4, as well as shrink DVD files to fit on other media (useful if your client only has a CD player?), and transcode between certain formats, and saving of DVD disk images. Very handy PC tool when you’re in need of something that just does the job and is reasonably reliable.

Compressor (Mac OSX)
A personal favorite of mine, and I use it whenever I’ve finished editing a clip or video and need a polished delivery file. Compressor allows exporting of source video to a wide array of preset and custom formats, including several nice presets for high-quality video compression for Web and streaming on mobile devices, like the iPhone. Easy to drag and drop stock footage clips here, and works seamlessly in the Final Cut Pro workflow.

ProCoder 3 (Windows)
ProCoder 3 is a transcoding and encoding software that allows conversion between NTSC and PAL, exporting in a variety of useful video formats, and supports multipass vbr encoding, conversion of video to all popular formats, including MPEG-1, MPEG-2, Windows Media, QuickTime, and more. Also includes some handy presets for delivering media and authoring for Blue-Ray, which should make all you super-HD audio-video-philes very happy.

Quicktime Pro (Mac OSX and Windows)
The defacto standard for video playback, encoding, and conversion, for a fairly affordable price tag. The universal quicktime player is well known, but Apple’s quicktime Pro adds advanced editing and conversion features, supporting a wide variety of popular formats. PC users will find adding the free Quicktime for Windows uber usefull in using and viewing video online, as well as for downloading and using stock footage clips.

Other great software tools for encoding and transcoding:

Roxio Creator (Windows)
Sorenson Squeeze
Telestream Episode (Mac OSX and Windows)
Cinema Craft Encoder (Windows)
ffMPEG (Linux, Mac, Widnows)

Royalty Free Music Dramatizes High-Altitude Travel

Andean Flutes Capture the Beauty of Nature as Mountaineer Dramatizes High-Altitude Travel with Royalty Free Music from Productiontrax

Brad Clement, owner of Spindrift films (www.spindriftfilms.com), is a freelance producer and camera operator specializing in photos and footage of high-altitude mountaineering and wilderness adventure. His most recent film features wild areas in Chile and Argentina, including those two countries highest respective peaks, Ojos Del Salado (Chile) and Aconcagua (Argentina). Clement writes, “It combines the drama and beauty of mountain climbing with some humor and humility about trying to stay sane in the often outrageous conditions.”

Clement shot the original footage in Dec. 2007 and Jan. 2008, following the program host with a lightweight Sony FX-7 digital HD camera. When he returns from his current climb of Mt. Everest, he will complete the narration, and then the footage will be edited in Final Cut Studio to create a 45-minute show ready for television broadcast.

To prepare his soundtrack, Clement secured rights to music by licensing royalty free music through Productiontrax. He writes, “Our goals were to capture the beauty of nature, along with the human character and spirit. We wanted a full range of mood and emotion from our music, with an authentic style from the region of the world in which we were filming. The tracks we were able to find and purchase from Productiontrax were perfect! We selected some great, authentic Andean flute music with a wide variety of styles and moods. ”

As a mountaineering guide, guide instructor, and filmmaker, Clement has climbed the world’s great mountain ranges. In the past eight years, his productions have been featured on major networks such as The Discovery Channel, The Travel Channel, CNN, PBS, NBC and The Outdoor Channel. He has successfully climbed Mt. Everest with camera in hand, and been involved as a producer and camera operator for four production projects involving Everest:  the six-hour Discovery Channel series “Ultimate Survival, Mt. Everest”, the award-winning documentary for Novo Nordisk “Pharmaceuticals, Peaks and Poles – The Will Cross Story”, a television commercial for Liberty Medical, and a recently released documentary film covering the historic Everest Peace Project expedition.

Stock Footage: We Got That B-Roll!

This video was introduced to me at SXSW this year. It’s not a viral ad by a stock media company (which would have been uber-clever), but rather a sketch by a sketch-comedy troupe. I thought it was hilarious — pretty much sums up the stock footage marketplace.

I should note however, that most of the footage, just because it is stock footage, isn’t just cheap B-Roll. Productiontrax (and several other sites as well) has a large library of incredibly usefull, high-quality, thoughtful, and well produced footage. The video clips range from high-tech animations that would fit into any sci-fi film to useful charts and graphs, to yes, B-roll footage of sad guy leaning against a wall.

I think stock media serves a useful purpose in media production. All joking aside, stock footage increases our productivity and frees us up to be even more creative, if you can follow that — the footage by itself is overused and mundane, but it keeps getting used in new, and innovative ways. Don’t let the B-roll label throw you, or keep you from being innovative in how you use stock footage — just remember it’s a tool in your editor’s bag of tricks to help you get your job done, and tell the story in new and interesting ways.

Oh, here’s the video (the owners didn’t want it embedded) — http://youtu.be/SItFvB0Upb8

Orchestral Film Music, Sci-Fi Sound Effects and more on Productiontrax.com!

The Productiontrax.com team has assembled a list of the latest royalty free music, sound effects, stock footage, and photos uploaded to the Productiontrax.com library. Click here to visit Productiontrax.com
Here is a sample of the newest royalty free media on Productiontrax.com:
Orchestral Film Music
Action & Adventure Film Moods
Sci-Fi Sound Effects
Portrait Stock Photography
Latest DJ Elements
For the latest Productiontrax news and information, or to leave us comments, visit us on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or read our blog. And don’t forget to send information about your projects to yourproject@productiontrax.com.
Thank you for your continued support of Productiontrax.com. We look forward to providing media for all your upcoming projects.

Productiontrax.com Spins Into the DJ World

Phoenix, Ariz. (PRWEB) April 7, 2009 – Productiontrax.com, a leading provider of royalty free music and stock sound effects, today announced the launch of their DJ Elements page.

The DJ Elements website expansion will provide Productiontrax customers with high-quality Beats, Loops and Samples for use in live spinning and remixes. Customers will also be able to use DJ Elements tracks to create new songs for commercial use.

With the addition of the DJ Elements page, Productiontrax becomes the internet’s first Royalty Free Media website to offer music, sound effects, video footage, stock photography and DJ tracks. David Negron, founder of Productiontrax.com says, “I have always strived to make Productiontrax a one-stop shop for all your royalty-free media needs. Adding the DJ Elements page helps us achieve that and brings our customers an exciting new product to use in their creative work.”

The beats, loops and samples from the DJ Elements collection are available for immediate download on Productiontrax’s DJ Elements page. A wide range of tracks are already available and contributors are adding new tracks every day.

Productiontrax, (www.productiontrax.com), a leader in online distribution and licensing of royalty free music and sound effects, enables customers to license superior-quality royalty free music, sound effects, stock photos and stock video footage for use in film, television, and interactive media on an on-demand basis. As an innovator in online stock media, Productiontrax.com is the first site to allow creators of royalty free production music, sound effects, stock images and video to take an active role in licensing their work to the public. Productiontrax.com is dedicated to providing its customers with high-quality, yet affordable resources for multimedia productions. The music and images are 100% original, with new composers, new tracks and new images added everyday. Productiontrax.com is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona and is a subsidiary of One Light Music Productions (www.onelightmusic.com).

New Royalty Free Media on Productiontrax.com

The Productiontrax.com team has assembled a list of the latest royalty free music, sound effects, stock footage, and photos uploaded to the Productiontrax.com library. Click Here to Visit Productiontrax..

Here is a sample of the newest royalty free media on Productiontrax.com:
New Techno Music
Computer Sound Effects
Animated & CG Backgrounds
Animal & Insects Stock Photography
Cinematic Film Moods
Tool Sound Effects
Contemporary Instrumental

Don’t forget that Productiontrax has a great selection of commercially licensed music priced under $15. We put our Economic Stimulus Section together to help our customers find the music they need in this tough economy.

For the latest Productiontrax news and information, or to leave us comments, visit us on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or read our blog. And don’t forget to send information about your projects to yourproject@productiontrax.com.

Thank you for your continued support of Productiontrax.com. We look forward to providing media for all your upcoming projects.