What they use to make bass in movies?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Ken Burkstrum, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. Ken Burkstrum

    Ken Burkstrum Stunt Coordinator

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    I had no idea where to put this. I'm wondering what kind of things they use in real life to make those deep sound effects. I've been trying to make my own by messing with normal around the house stuff and then lowering the pitch and using an equalizer to drop the frequencies but it sounds really muddy and stupid.
     
  2. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    A synthesizer? midi? They have a lot of $$$$ and equipment. They can basically do whatever they want.
     
  3. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    deep sound effects? It really depends on what the sound effect is. Horses have been traditionally simulated with coconuts. Thunder-- a thin, somewhat flexible sheet of plastic can be waved back and forth. Body blows are sometimes simulated by whacking at frozen vegetables (e.g. lettuce heads) or large cuts of meat. Some sound effects are created by recording at slow speed.

    Perhaps this page will be of interest.
     
  4. Ken Burkstrum

    Ken Burkstrum Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeremy, I've got an SVS equalized with a BFD, just thought I should say that before I say that everything that comes out of a subwoofer sounds alot alike. I'm not a professional foley artist so I'm in no position to look search for that absolutely perfect bass sound to simulate a heavy object hitting the ground. The ass end of a lightning sample may have some good bass to it, I won't know until summer comes around.




    Ok scott, take a little boy's voice and make him sound like Liam Neeson.

    Make a lightsaber sound out of a piece of paper tearing.

    Make the Jurassic Park III footsteps by dropping a pencil on the floor.

    You can get a nice 24/96 field recorder for $200, an agreeable quality sounding mic for $100 and Adobe Audition for what is it, $400 I think. You definetly don't need alot of cash for it. Alot of equipment still doesn't make the sounds for you.

    I know how to take a sound and get a thousand things out of it. My question isn't "how do they do it", it's "what do they do it with?", because they don't just magically create sounds on a computer.

    The only things I know of are those big trucks, the ones that make that deep sound even from a distance. Sitting outside with a recorder all day waiting for one to go by and hope nothing else is making noise to get in the way is kind of.......something for people who like to sit on the patio all day. Trains have alot of that deep rumbling but all the other noises tend to get in the way.

    I really just don't know what kind of things I can do to turn into good bass samples. I figure there has got to be some professional sound designer or foley artists on this site, or guys that just know a hell of alot about it.

    Thank you for that site Jeremy, looks interesting.
     
  5. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    I dimly recall picking up a book on creating sound effects-- distractions in the college library. I don't remember many of the details--- not my field, But the author did stress that the crack of a bullet is mostly treble.


    From wikipedia.

    As for all bass sounding alike, well from what I've read, SVS subwoofer owners should have a inkling of what real bass sounds like. I have a Dayton 10 inch (since discontinued). But when I go into Best Buy, the bass escaping from the car "audio" section sounds awful. Just awful. My home setup is somewhat more bearable. If all bass sounds the same, why do my ears hurt?

    Maybe it's the treble notes in that "thud" that make all the difference...

    A while back, I saw the CBS presentation of Terminator III. Throughout the movie, the LFE channel was active, almost as through someone told the sound designers to keep "that 30 Hz" constant... Really quite strange. One doesn't really expect a snake to slither quite so loudly. for instance.
     
  6. Ken Burkstrum

    Ken Burkstrum Stunt Coordinator

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    It doesn't sound the same, it sounds alike. A smaller dynamic range with aid from harmonics to help people distinguish.

    I read about that film projector with the lightsaber thing, an article about that was like the only thing I've ever been able to turn up on google while looking for LFE technniques.
     
  7. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    With midi you can do whatever you wish to the sound of a pencil dropping.
     
  8. Ken Burkstrum

    Ken Burkstrum Stunt Coordinator

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    Scott do you know what midi is?
     
  9. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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  10. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    musical instrument digital interface
     
  11. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    that's akin to claiming to understand how a weak acid works by noting that pH stands for "power of Hydrogen".
     
  12. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    Hey, he asked.

    And pH doesn't stand for "power of hydrogen". [​IMG]

    You don't have to know what the "p" in pH stands for to know exactly how a weak acid works, BTW.
     
  13. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    it is commonly believed to stand for potenz which can be translated in any number of ways. Power, if your focus is on the mathematical apparatus, potential, if you wish to focus on the chemistry. Alas, neither is correct.

    Now, suppose you have a musical keyboard, and you wish to play a "tune" made of footsteps, so as to accompanny a chase scene. Probably the wrong way of doing it, but I digress. You develop a system of assigning notes to various sounds of footsteps-- Heavy boots tend to sound somewhat dfferent than high-healed shoes. You could record one footstep, and speed the sound up to raise pitch, slow it down to lower pitch, but the richest assortment of notes-- and the most realistic ones --would be assembled through recording a variety of different shoes, and assigning them to the corresponding notes,

    I think I've seen cdroms containing individual samples for each of the 88 keys of a piano, and more. Midi is just a protocol for describing when and how to play various samples.
     
  14. Ken Burkstrum

    Ken Burkstrum Stunt Coordinator

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    Which is why I asked if he knew what it was because what he said doesn't help.

    I use MIDI synths and orchestra samples to write music with cakewalk sonar.
     
  15. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Balrog = dragging cinder block across concrete slab

    T-Rex footstep = leather boxing glove hitting heavy bag/ slowed way down + tone drop (digitally), assuming I remember correctly, it was on TV over 10 years ago.

    Foley punch #1 = sledgehammer (sometimes a wooden bat) + side of frozen beef

    Now heres the big question, and anyone who owns a gun can ask this: Why don't movie gunshots ever sound like real gunshots? (aside from being really really quite, they all sound like the same gun)
     
  16. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I think most film makers get lazy with gunshots, they don't really know what different firearms sound like and assume that the audience doesn't either.
    On the other hand, some movies take great pains to get it right, Saving Private Ryan being one. The filmmakers came to my neck of the woods in Georgia and recorded actual WWII era weapons from a guy who collected them. You can tell a M1 carbine from a 50 cal.and even Tom Hanks 45 cal. sidearm all sound different.
    As far as why gunshots are quiet, they would have to be attenuated because if they were actual volume, the sound relative of everything else would be deafening.
     

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