Monday, June 4, 2012
Sound Effects For Old Time Radio And More
We have all watched movies and cartoons and heard what we thought were high winds blowing, doors being opened and people walking. The way those sounds were made, however, had nothing to do with the real events. Instead, there was someone turning the handle of wind machine or maybe, someone in a studio with a microphone aimed at their feet, as they stepped on a layer of stones.
If you ever got to see Monty Python's Holy Grail, then you remember the guys walking through the countryside, clapping coconut shells together to get the sound of running horses. You can put cornstarch in a bag and squeeze it to get the sound of walking on snow. The sky is the limit and you can use almost anything to get certain sounds.
If you were behind the scenes and at the studio of any big movie production or even, at any of those old radio shows, you would probably be amazed at the things that were used to get certain sound effects.
A sheet of styrene plastic can be used to make the sound of rolling thunder. Five gallon buckets are great for filling with water and then use an x-shaped cross on the end of stick to swish through the water for the sound of swimming or oars. A gravel box is used to make the sound of walking. It is just a small rectangular wooden box, filled with gravel. You can cover part of the box with plywood to make other walking sounds, as well.
If you want to make your own sound effects and experiment, there are a ton of resources online. Here are just a few to get you started.
You could just take a recorder and record actual events, such as, a lightening storm or a crowded barroom, but it is so much more fun to come up with your own creations. You can even buy sampled sound effects these days. Without good dialogue, good music and good sound effects, many of those old time radio shows could never have been successful.