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Sony Pictures Sound Effects Series

Sony opens its vaults in debut release of five SFX disks By Charlie White

What do you get when you put together the work of the finest sound designers and Foley artists from Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics all on one 5-CD set? You get the Sony Pictures Sound Effects Series ($400), a collection of sound effects that is of high quality, but whose scope and selection is thus far incomplete. Logically grouped on five different CDs according to their content, this collection of sounds could prove itself to be an indispensable part of your production workflow.

Sony has compiled over 1200 separate sound effects in is five-CD set. Digging deep into Sonys vast vault of sound effects compiled over the past few decades, this treasure trove of noises, hits, bangs, squeaks, squawks, and backgrounds are about as good as it gets when it comes to sound effects. As I listened to the disks, I noticed that the quality of the sound effects is remarkable.

What do you get with these disks? Lets take a short tour. Disc 1 contains various growls of lions, tigers, bears, dogs and cats. In addition, you hear the sound of bugs, snakes, monsters, and various liquids pouring, water boiling, and volcanoes erupting. Disc 2 contains longer background sequences including forest and jungle noises, birdsongs and calls, and a good selection of traffic and other background noises that you would hear in a city. An unusual entry is a two-and-a-half minute sequence called ?room tone, which could come in handy if you need to insert ambient sound in between words in an intricately edited dialogue sequence. Disc 3 has an excellent selection of home and office sound effects, all of which are of very high quality and realism. One of the sound effects on this disc strikes a hilarious note, depicting a urination that lasts a full minute and a half. Somebody get this guy a doctor he mustve guzzled five gallons of beer in one sitting!  

Also on disk 3 is a superlative collection of window and glass breaking sounds, a great variety of noises that sound extremely realistic. And then for action movie producers this disc contains a variety of weapons and explosion noises. Then theres disk 4 that contains whats called cartoon sound effects. Note that if youre looking for the Warner Brothers, Disney or Hanna-Barbera cartoon sound effects collection that many of us grew up with, you wont find it here. But then, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon collection, for example, is a four-CD set and costs nearly $500. Anyway, theres a vast collection of all kinds of weird noises, many of which dont sound particularly cartoonish. Also on that disc are sports and recreation sounds, containing an overabundance of hockey sounds, but containing some good crowd noises nonetheless. Then theres the vocals and wallas folder, which contains lots of applause sounds, but not many wallas. I would have liked to have seen a far greater selection of applause, laughter and cheering than was offered here. Almost every imaginable vehicle sound is on disk 5, including various aircraft motorcycles, cars, trucks, trains and boats. There are also some extremely realistic sounding car crashes on that disc.

Checking prices of other sound effects packages, this 5-disk product is more expensive than most. But you do get 1200 high-quality sound effects, and Sony does promise to release more disks in the future. It would be much easier to deal with all of these files if they were all on one DVD the five CDs contain 2.27 GB of material, which would easily fit on one DVD. Instead of constantly having to deal with the five individual CDs and their jewel boxes, I found it much easier to simply transfer all of the sound effects onto my hard disk. Then, the avi files, grouped into ten folders according to their categories, can be easily imported into any nonlinear editing application. I suppose the package would be less versatile if it were offered on DVD, because many production studios and audio mixing facilities arent yet equipped with DVD players. Even so, almost all audio mixing facilities are equipped with hard disks, so whether the package is available on CD or DVD, all the effects could be transferred to a hard disk without a lot of trouble.  

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Related Keywords:sound designers, Foley artists, Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics, 5-CD set, Sony Pictures Sound Effects Series, high quality, collection of sounds

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