All posts in the category "Sound editing"

Sound effects and sound libraries: the more the better when searching for the right sound

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Sound effects libraries

Sound design and sound effects editing to picture is the sonic interpretation of a scene. The diversity and the endless quest for the high quality sounds that each project demands is always a challenge. Filling all the sound needs of each project with high quality sound effects is a tremendously huge, unpredictable and long quest that a lot of people tend to ignore or even worse, take for granted, although that is where resides a great part of the richness of the result. Sound Libraries are really the source of all the sounds used by the sound designers.

Having worked many years for or in collaboration with larger scale sound post production facilities that own large commercial CD Sound effects libraries and rich original recordings libraries, I am well aware of the benefit of having a large, rich and complete sound library. Hundreds of thousands of sounds searchable and directly importable in a Pro Tools FX session. A prerequisite for an optimal sound design. As a freelance sound designer, now it happens more frequently that I provide all audio services of a project for which I have to personally hold the rights to use each sound effect in the sound design. I had to find appropriate solutions to meet my sonic needs.

Addressing that particular issue of freelance and remote sound editing, Pro Sound Effects offers The Hybrid Library for Freelancers & Independents. I bought it at a promotion price and It got delivered on my porch on a Orange Lacie Rugged 500 gig, filled with 350 Gig of sounds. It was a real pleasure to unfold, plug and listen to it the first time and scanning through the 59 419 unique sounds, regrouping many sound collections such as SONOPEDIA 2.0, BW Imaging Elements, Zombie Apocalypse, Foundation Library, SCSE Basic, 5.1, Animals I, Foley I, Rare Animals, Technology Water! It’s like a breath of fresh air, especially because most of these sounds are not internationally spread. The recordings specifications, sound qualities and microphones vary between the different libraries from good to very good. It has few 5.1 ambiences too. Hopefully, other providers will follow in similar or even better offerings…

Aside from that recent acquisition, I bought many Independent SFX libraries directly from the net. They are very interesting in adding flavor, originality, richness, precision, and diversity to a specific sound design. All these specialized sound libraries really contribute to improving my sound designs. I recently had the opportunity to try a lot of them together in a more sound design oriented TV Mini Series Cat 8. Ultimate Fire HD, Unseen Noises, Hologram room, Jet Turbines, Rockets, Contact Mic are front and center throughout the first episode. It’s on Netflix now! You can find direct links to many at Creative Field Recording.

A Danish initiative, proposes to consolidate and bring together collections of independent SFX libraries in a large catalog of collections of sounds. This facilitates the discovery of several other manufacturers of sound libraries. My MPSFX Sound effects collections are part of their growing catalog!

Sharing and exchanging personal recordings with others is a good way to mutually enrich our sound libraries. Many crowd sourcing projects have arisen on the net. I even exchange my sound collections with other sound library makers. I have been also involved in many recent multi-microphone and multi-recordist recording session. Sharing the content among all the participants. Please contact me if you are interested in collaborating.

I intend to release new sound collections in the coming months. As a sound collection maker, I guarantee that the price of my sound collections is not reflective of the large amount of time it took to record, edit, master and publish them. I still have to sell a lot of libraries in order to cover my expenses. I certainly need your encouragement and support in order to continue doing so! Please visit the MPSFX Sound Effects store to explore the sound collections. Here are links to the different collection pages: MPSFX_TRAINS01, MPSFX_WATER01, MPSFX_ENGINE01, MPSFX_CRYSTAL.


Friday, October 19th, 2012

Given that M/S stereophonic recording theories and practices have existed for over fifty years, many people are still reluctant about its regular use during production or post production, especially during the sound editing and mixing stages. Recent improvements in post-production softwares, along with an increase in computing DSP power, facilitate the integration of this type of recording technique throughout the entire work process.

For some background, the Mid-Side (or M/S) recording technique is a coincident miking technique developed by Alan Blumlein, which captures sound from a fixed point in space using two microphones. It provides a natural stereo image that can be easily adjusted or modified after the recording process. There are several plug-ins that allow you to modify the reproduction of sound in space; amongst them the Waves plug-in S1 (stereo imager) and M/S decoder (MS Matrix), which are commonly used by many studios and professionals. Based on similar matrixing  theories are ambisonic recording techniques, which were popularized by the Soundfield microphones and more recently the Double M/S, proposed by Schoeps, arise from the same mathematical theories about the sphere.

One of the most recognized assets of the M/S technique is its versatility and ease of capture. It can be used as a mono cardioid microphone (M) pointed towards the source. During shooting, it can serve as a primary or secondary boom, and for wild recordings it is suitable for recording sound effects, voices, or even music given the circumstances. For ambience recordings it can give a natural stereo image. Due to the extreme proximity between the two microphones, phase problems are avoided, such as those commonly caused by differences in space and angles between the microphones. One down side of this technique is a less defined stereo separation when compared to other stereophonic recording techniques that have greater spacing between microphones, such as AB or ORTF.

Adding a close M/S pair during a shoot can be used to add detail to busy scenes, or if recorded from a distance, can enhance the atmosphere surrounding the action. These ambience tracks can later be used as a part of your sound library for the project. I benefited from this recently, which I describe in my article about the film War Witch.

During sound editing, we can also dig into the source recordings from alternate takes to boost and enlarge ambiences or crowd atmospheres.

There is often confusion about what to do with the M/S recordings during the editing stage. To clear this up, they should be separated into two categories: dialogue and sound effects. This choice should reflect their expected functions in the final mix. If using your M/S pair as secondary on-location dialogue boom the tracks should be grouped and sorted with the primary dialogue recordings, whereas if your M/S pair is capturing atmospheres (without voices) the tracks should be handled by the sound effects editor, and later treated as a sound effect by the mixer. If used as a sound effect, the M/S tracks will more likely be processed and mixed in stereo, or even surround. Though be sure not to duplicate the sounds into both categories, because if synced by both the dialogue editor and the sound effects editor, phase problems will occur from having duplicate tracks.

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Web Echoes 2: Sound Design, technical challenge, … innovation

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

It is still very hard for me to conciliate sound design and web design at the same time. I finished to work on War Witch at the beginning of February, so I am writing a series of posts that will lead to new collections. Stay tuned! A lot of new ahead!

As an appetizer, here are my Web Echoes…

Steve Papagiannis, a supervising sound editor from the Los Angeles area, started Stavrosound blog about six months ago. So far, his articles are oriented towards dialog editing and it’s particularities like crackles or even more dreaming ideas like this.  Very cool!

One Stop Digital, Excellent technical resource for Pro Tools users, published this post that talks about programs that conform sound to picture.  More possibilities.

Another blog about Sound Design is azimutaudio.  He takes the time to review few SFX libraries.

This post from has an super article about gun recording.

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About the sound of Café de Flore

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Café de Flore is still warm out of the oven, it reaches this week our screens after exciting Premieres in Venice, Toronto, Montreal, Sherbrooke, Québec, Ste-Adèle and others!

2 films in one ::: The two stories of the film evolve independantly which allows for a different sound aesthetic. Then, they tend to bleed in each other, but the emotion persists, the pace is accelerating, the music spins and  the magic works.

Work in progress ::: Personally and passionately edited for more than 10 months by Jean-Marc Vallée, and gradually reaching the sound editorial crew as the version evolved, the film was built to the end… yesterday!  That defined the post production process.  As editor, Jean-Marc was very much involved in sound editing and mix.  Dialogue editor Mireille Morin digged down the sources with numerous additions and alternatives to clear the dialog to a very mediculous level. Sound effects editing was done using mostly original recordings.  We premixed and conformed before final mix, always aiming to improve  to the maximum potential of our sources and our resources, still ready for new ideas and picture changes… before the official deadline, Venice! Music is obviously a very important theme with Jean-Marc Vallée’s films.  Working closely with DJ/sound editor Luc Raymond to tweek and adjust the soundtrack to the end.  The entire sound process was a real and true team work.

The Evolution of technology ::: Work in progress needs control of all the elements to the end, not always easy to follow with picture changes. I discovered new applications and web tools during Café de Flore that helped to deal with the situations : DropBox, SoundCloud, WordPress, Google Apps, Evernote, and other sound related applications Edimarker, Edicue,Pro Remote, idisplay, Lockstep!  These apps are very promissing to help us achieve the tasks of film sound.  There are new solutions close at hand. First, should we adopt them collectively.

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Portable and discrete sound recording kit

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

I often carry with me an ultra portable recording kit for weekends,  in the countryside, city walks and other public places.  In addition to being compact and discrete, it reproduces the environment, it’s acoustics and specificity.

This is a binaural recording system that I have personally fitted into a bag that I wear around the waist. It produces a smooth and natural stereo sound. It is particularly immersive. It is very realistic to headphones listeners.

It consist’s of a pair of DPA 4060 omnidirectional microphones mounted and self powered by Core Sound battery box(here) and a M-Audio’s MicroTrack I.  The mic preamps of the recorder are not the ideal, I have to say, but I usually don’t need to push them too much.  It’s a gain in portability and discretion.  All this comes in the bag. I can go almost anywhere.  It is worn around my waist because I’d rather have the mobility of my head at all times. The Rycote’s and the mics are on both sides of the bag.

Read more → is online!

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Seventeen years of projects, recordings and sound design are behind the creation of this website and my online Sound effects Collections store, available to sound designers from all over!

Development of a sound designers community on the Internet
In recent years, a larger growing community of sound designers took up residence on the Internet.  Sites like Designing Sound or SoundWorks Collection succeeded in firmly establishing themselves and offering a variety of very accurate content.  Their use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter has contributed to spread and extend the phenomenon.  The number gives even more meaning to sharing!  Other user forums sites such as Social Sound Design and have become very popular platforms and facilitate discussions on any topic of interest regarding various postproduction sound professions.  Sound designers, mixers and other recognized professionals participate more and more actively.  Information is available to anyone who seeks it. I subscribe to this trend that seems beneficial and here to stay.  I would like to contribute progressively over time.

Bilingual website
The site is available in French and English. One way to promote exchanges between film cultures!

Exploring the site
The links on the right column lead to other sound design sites of high quality. They have inspired me and I warmly thank the authors.  The Films section covers my work as a film sound designer.  I wrote a text for the latest most significant work.

Sound Collections
The sound collections will be made available online gradually. The first two have the following labels:


Enjoy your visit!


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