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    Cinematic Impact (Techniques)


    Hello fellow freesounders. I've been experimenting with impact sounds recently, and was wondering if any of you have dabbled in this type cinematic craft. By impact sounds I'm mainly referring to the sort of dramatic percussive sounds you hear on Horror and Sci-Fi movie soundtracks (scenes as well.) This goes for Low, Medium, and High impacts too. Not just the heavy hitters!

    It would be interesting to hear about your techniques or ideas in creating these types of sounds.
    So far my most effective method is an empty dryer and a hand held recorder.
    For example: https://www.freesound.org/people/CadereSounds/sounds/222526/

    Look forward to hearing more thoughts on this subject.

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    Nice sound!
    As you've proven yourself, EQ and reverb are already enough to get there; alternatively, you may try delays, well spatialized, eventually in ping-pong mode, slight filter sweeps to create more "movement", but there's room for virtually anything, even bass enhancers for instance.

    Another interesting thing to try is stretching, even without changing the sound length; it sounds kinda like a reverb, but distinctively not natural. It may smear the hit too much, but you can always mix it with the non stretched sound. You can try this:
    http://hypermammut.sourceforge.net/paulstretch/

    If you have Linux or Mac systems available, you could also create hits artificially with this:
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/industrializer/

    Reversing can also be effective if you want to hear a crescendo hiss before the hit, and reverb applied before reversing will also sound quite eerie.

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    Thanks for sharing your ideas!I realize there's room for just about anything, but it's still interesting to hear other views and methods. For instance, while I've tried just about everything you mentioned already, I had never even thought of using a filter sweep! Experimented with that a few hours ago and got interesting results. So, thanks again. happy

    I know this may sound blasphemous but I simply don't care for Paul Stretch at all..=/

    Was searching freesound for other impact sounds and came across this unusual but great find - https://www.freesound.org/people/beman87/sounds/169690/
    Just goes to show that there are many types of impact sounds. If you would've asked me last year I would've just said that the only impact sound is heavy and bassy.

    :::Mind Opened:::

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    You're welcome! smile

    If you like the kind of movement you can obtain with sweeps (resonance can be useful there too) you might also obtain something good from flangers/phasers/choruses, and a good thing to try is applying the "motion" only to the reverbs/delays, not to the dry signal.

    Some delays already come with further options, like pitch control, usable for Doppler effect or crazier things.

    Thank you for appreciating my Boom and Pad sound! Yes, LMMS is worth a try; whenever a request for such sounds comes up and I decide to give it a go, LMMS is my first option; it includes ZynAddSubFX with its great soundbanks, it supports VST/VSTi, it has a basic sampler, it's good for quickly sketching things.
    One of its shortcomings is the lack of aux sends (as far as I know! smile ), so doing the wet motion trick above is not straightforward; you'd have to duplicate the sound source, assign the copy to a FX channel, and use reverb/delay effects with a dry/wet mix control, setting them to full wet.

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    At first I thought we were talking about crashes, those kinds of impacts but anyway I'm caught up now.

    I don't think I'll ever fully tap the potential of pitch shifting sounds. YOu just never know what a slowed down sound might sound like until you try it, especially if sweetened with some high frequency content, a snap or crack, to compensate for the high-end loss that will probably result. Just use an eq to get rid of excessive subsonic and low-end content to keep things crisp.

    I recorded the push buttons on my friend's washing machine. I wasn't happy with the result, too much background noise and equing it out took away the character of the noise. I shifted it down 50 semitones and it sounded like a really good distant dungeon door - full of bass and, of course, the echo of the kitchen was slowed down to create a cavernous space.

    For more out of this world effects, I love stutter effects and amplitude modulation. Also, convolution is your friend. Not only does it give the most realistic reverbs but if you use strange sounds as your impulse response and then use quite mundane source material you can create very sinister textures and impacts very quickly. These are also brilliant for creating reverse echoes if you want the effect mentioned earlier.

    If you get the right impulse response, you could have a filter sweep reverse echo build up, followed by the main event with delays or reverb or both fading away afterwards, perhaps with some kind of spectral changes as well, all in one effect.

    Lastly, Ric Viers recommends recording inside an empty dustbin for good impact sounds in his book the Sound Effect Bible.

    Hope this helps.

    Follow me @JustinMac_84 for updates on my various projects, what I'll be posting to Freesound and various other goodness.
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    Great input! Thanks.

    Yeah, pitch shifting seems to go a long way for just about any sound, especially impacts. If you ever have the chance to find a decently priced Korg ESX-1 grab it! The pitch shifting quality and capabilities are the best I've come across so far.

    Your high freq suggestion makes perfect sense when it comes to compensating for the low end. I've recently been using a frequency analyzer for similar methods. While my hearing is good I still prefer to leave more trust in the visual spectrum of things.

    Can't say I've ever tried using a stutter effect for an impact, but seems like it could lead to something quite unique. Convolution is a miracle for dramatic percussive sounds, no doubt about that. Not sure what I would do without it.Probably cry..

    Never heard of Ric Viers up until now. Empty dustbin, eh? Very clever! Just might give that a go soon.

    That reminds me of an old job I had a few years ago at Target. I was working in the carpet and rug section, and we had to organize the tightly rolled carpet/s inside certain cupboards. When shoved, the larger carpets would make this massive sub bass type boom when hitting the back of the cupboards. It was a type of sound that you could feel vibrate under your feet. It was huge yet somehow delicate.

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    You could use amplitude modulation or stuttering in your reverse echo build-up. If you put some automation on it you could either have the stuttering increase or decrease in speed leading up to the bang, both of which might give quite interesting emotional tones, especially if you're going for a sci fi horror feel.

    Ric Viers did a lot towards the Sonopedia sound effects library and runs Blastwave FX I think.

    Follow me @JustinMac_84 for updates on my various projects, what I'll be posting to Freesound and various other goodness.

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