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Old June 14th, 2011, 05:23 PM   #1
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Body drop sound effects

Hi all. I am doing some sound design work and find myself needing to create the sounds of two bodies hitting the ground. The first is a guy getting thrown off of a roof onto a gravel driveway, and the second is a guy getting thrown off of an interior balcony onto a cement floor. I've got some ideas about how to go about this, but figured I'd check with everyone here to see if anyone has any tips to offer.

I'll be recording these onto an H4n. Mics available for this are Rode NTG-3 shotgun, AT-4040 cardioid condenser, a pair of AT-2020 card condensers, and a pair of omni's (MSH-1's from Naiant Studios). I'm looking at attaching two sandbags together with zip ties and dropping them for the sound. My gut is telling me to run the NTG-3 on a boom pole and try to get it as close as possible without endangering it, and then run the AT-4040 on a mic stand about 4'-6' away from the impact area for more ambient sound. I'll probably mix in some other sounds to get a more grisly effect, such as some bone snapping sounds, etc.

I've also thought that instead of sand bags, I might sew up an old pair of jeans and long sleeved shirt, fill them with sand, and attach at the waist with zip ties. I'm also thinking of recording one set with the sand dry, and another with the sand wet. Any thoughts?
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Old June 14th, 2011, 06:01 PM   #2
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Re: Body drop sound effects

One thought, although I did not look specifically for this fx, is that there are many providers of sfx material on-line, much like the royalty-free music providers; for a nominal charge you get endless license to use. Google is your friend on this. Might be easier than trying to do it yourself, if not quite the same creative satisfaction....
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Old June 14th, 2011, 08:41 PM   #3
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Re: Body drop sound effects

Check out soundsnap.com
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Old June 14th, 2011, 11:00 PM   #4
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Re: Body drop sound effects

I don't remember where, but I read phone books are good for this. Did it with a phone book for some fx on my last animated short.

Gaff tape or otherwise bind the phone book so the pages don't flap. Might try several phone books together in a towel/soft material. The idea is to hear the "whoompf" and almost feel the impact/weight in the sound, but you don't want to hear the paper flapping or the hard cardboard edges of the book hit anything.

I used my hypercardioid boom mic when I did most of these (an AKG SE300B/CK93), and put it as close as I safely could. Used my ME66 shotgun for really really quiet sounds.

Also built a "sound booth" out of four furniture blankets in a square configuration. . .put the mic in there and did all my recording in there.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 12:23 AM   #5
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Re: Body drop sound effects

Thanks all! I've used soundsnap and freesound.org for stuff in the past, but part of the idea with this film is to record all of the sound effects in house. I'll look for a ready made effect as a last resort, though.

Good thought about the phone books, Josh. I might give that a try as well. As long as the end result is convincing, I don't care what I use to achieve it!
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Old June 15th, 2011, 12:40 AM   #6
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Re: Body drop sound effects

Oooh. . .how bout a phone book with several inches of raw meat wrapped around its entire surface?
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Old June 15th, 2011, 12:59 AM   #7
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Re: Body drop sound effects

have you seen food prices lately? lol!
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Old June 15th, 2011, 01:07 AM   #8
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Re: Body drop sound effects

You can have my ex-wife, chuck her off the building and get a scream as a bonus.

If that doesn't work, then try throwing some sandbags down, that should produce a nice thud.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 01:18 AM   #9
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Re: Body drop sound effects

nowhere in my post did I say not to eat the meat afterward. think of it as a unique method of tenderizing. The combination of phone books and floor are sure to give it a unique, gritty texture sure to excite even the most jaded palate.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 06:22 AM   #10
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Re: Body drop sound effects

Josh, how can have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

Vincent, do you throw the phone book down on top of your ex or is that a seperate action?.

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Old June 15th, 2011, 02:30 PM   #11
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Re: Body drop sound effects

1. Try a cloth or burlap bag with about 5 lbs of potatoes in it. Record it dropping on concrete.
2. Get some celery stalks, make a recording of you twisting it quickly.
3. Mix the sounds, you should hear a thud and bones breaking.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #12
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Re: Body drop sound effects

Don't forget a quick exhale sound!
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Old June 15th, 2011, 07:49 PM   #13
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Re: Body drop sound effects

I like the potato bag idea! Also, thanks to Jon for the quick exhale. Its the little things in sound design that make it pop, you know.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 02:04 AM   #14
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Re: Body drop sound effects

For a more "splat" sound, try dropping a hard boiled egg, a soft boiled egg, and a raw egg on concrete. Listen to all of them and choose the best splat. You can also try varying the mic to subject distance for more realism.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 02:27 AM   #15
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Re: Body drop sound effects

I did a splat with the phone book thing, but dropped it on a wet towel.
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