One of the best places to go grab some fantastic props for recording sound effects are dollar stores. You can almost always find a range of amazing cheap toys, tools and other items that make noises for many purposes. With a little creativity, even the most basic things can be turned into Hollywood style sound effects. So today I took a trip to my local store and picked up a few things to record.
Right as I walked in, there was a specials board in front of the door and one of the first things I saw was an air horn. I already have several air horn sound effects in the library, but I just can’t resist loud noise makers so I purchased one.
Bringing it back to the studio, I placed a microphone around 30cm away from the horn and recorded a few blasts. For good measure I recorded short, medium and long blasts, some multiples and also so very weak blasts too.
One thing I find with such loud sounds is even in an acoustically treated room, there is still an audible level of room reverb tails in the recording. So I used my favourite quick noise reduction plugin, Waves NS1, just to help reduce the reverb and create a cleaner sound. Our full range of free air horn sound effects can be found here.
Marker pen on a whiteboard
I am often asked for more stationery and handwriting sounds so I try top produce them as often as I can. I found a small whiteboard and marker pen set in the dollar store and decided it was worth the $4 for the range of sounds I would get from it.
I started recording some simple strokes, then some scribbles, shapes and finished off with some writing sounds. Once I had sufficiently filled the entire space of the board with a mess of ink, I went and grabbed a larger marker and repeated the process. This was done as the original pen was quite thin and I wanted two variations just to provide multiple options for our members. They can be download for free here.
Metal coin tin
I found a small metal money box, which I thought would work well to record the sound of coins being dropped in, much like the charity collection boxes you see people holding and shaking to try and get donations. I started by dropping some coins through the slot and continued to do so until the tin was partly full. The sound of a single coin dropping into an empty tin to a coin hitting coins inside is completely different and provides a range of different sounds. I also recorded the tin shaking and being dropped.
That’s it for today. Tomorrow I’ll be out on location recording lots of different sounds so watch this space for more!