How sound effects are made?

The sound in Movies, TV, video games and Radio plays are often embellished thanks to sound effects. For instance when a door slam in a video, you will hear the corresponding sound. But have you ever wondered how these sounds were made?

There are two types of sound effects: on the one hand, real sounds, and on the other hand, sounds about things that aren’t real or no longer exist.

Real sounds

These ones are made as you can imagine. If you need a sound of someone eating carrots, then someone will be recorded eating carrots with a microphone. Maybe you noticed that sometimes you could hear sound effects while in the real life you wouldn’t have heard the sound at all. Indeed, in a video if someone takes a picture you will hear the sound of an old camera. These sounds are here to help the viewer understand the situation and especially to improve the quality of the rendering. So all sound effects will generally be louder than in real life.

Invented sounds

Do you know what a lightsaber sounds like? Probably yes. But are they real? No. Sound designers and sound effects engineers have worked together to create it. They are complicated to make because you have to imagine what the sound would do for real. If you want a sound of an object that doesn’t exist or no longer exist, you’re going to have to create the sounds you think they made.

However, synthesizers are pretty new in comparison with the history of sound effects. So before being computer-generated, designers and engineers had to find a way to produce these sounds. And they were crafty!
How? By combining sounds of real life. For example, T-Rex’s “voice” came from various real animals such as a whale for its breathing, a lion and an alligator for its roar. But they could also use multiple tools such as a VHS tape to reproduce the sound of dry bushes.

Watch this video to understand the sound effect of a light saber!

So next time you watch a video or listen to an audio, pay attention to sound effects and try to guess what is the real thing behind it.

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