— Creatures – Construction Kit – More than 9 GB of source material including more than 7300 single sounds in over 1000 files, oriented to create your own unique creatures.
— Creatures – Designed – 300 “ready to use” sounds of different creature designs, including huge and rumbling beasts, tiny and nasty insects, brutal and slippery zombies, and more.
— Creatures – Bundle – Includes Designed and Construction Kit collections at less price than buying both individually.
All the content was recorded at 192kHz and is delivered at 24-Bit/96kHz and comes tagged with Soundminer Metadata. For the Designed package, they are also offering a 48kHz version. More info at the official website.
And to take advantage of this announcement, we’ve prepared an exclusive interview with Axel Rohrbach, Sound Designer and Creative Director on BOOM.
DS: Why did you guys decide to create your own SFX library?
AR: All the guys working for the Boom library right now always did and still mainly do sound effects for media, especially games. But there was always one thing that we missed in the bigger and smaller libraries on the market (that was actually before all the independent libraries came up).
That was unprocessed material we can still be creative with. Most of the libraries are compressed, EQ’d, layered, faded and so on. We weren’t able to use them in exactly the same creative way that we could if we recorded our own source material. Because of that we started to build our own Construction Kits. Now we want to share our experience and recordings and offer them to all the other sound designers out there.
DS: That’s something really cool for sound designers, and also you have the designed packs, so you can reach other kind of customers, right?
AR: Exactly. The designed packs are for all people who do not want to design their own effects, or who are in need of quick results. They are of course also a good demo and inspiration for what is possible with the Construction Kits.
DS: Let’s talk about the first release… the Metals library… why did you start with this library? Is it all fresh material or did you also include material that you already had in your libraries?
AR: We will always record everything from scratch. This is necessary to hit the specific needs of the Construction Kits. Even if we already have older source recordings in the right style, we re-record everything because we really want to make top-notch and sophisticated products.
At the beginning we actually wanted to create the Creatures library first, but in this time we were in need of some trailer impacts and metal impacts for some games and trailers we worked on. Our need drives our products – which hopefully leads to the fact that a lot of other sound designers like our products.
So we started recording things, working with it, checking things out. After that, we started over and recorded everything again and built this library first – at this time, we already started with the Creatures library. But there was a huge beta-testing phase necessary to know what we want in the Creatures library and what not. That was a bit easier with the Cinematic Metal library.
DS: How was the recording process of the metals? How much time did it take you to finish this library? What kind of challenges did you find there?
AR: I honestly can’t really tell. We did a lot of recordings in our foley stage, we spend some days in a huge hall to create the reverberant impacts. We drove around looking for stuff we could record outdoors and went there again at night or weekends. I guess all in all it was about three weeks of recording. From my experience it takes about three times as long to crop, edit and name files.
Since we got pre-pitched versions in the library, we cleaned those separately. This took up a lot of time for all the 4400 files. During the process we had to change the concept a bit and that needed more readjustments in the files. One thing for example was that we wanted to include different recordings in one audio file. But after starting with the designed “Impacts” library we found out that it is easier to have them separated. We also reworked and changed the concepts of the Metadata a lot. That whole process of adding useful Metadata took up much more time than expected.
During the recording process of the Construction Kit, which has totally different things to think about, we already started to design the “Impacts”. We did that, because we wanted to know if we miss some things by using the Construction Kit. I had that for example with the car doors. I just missed some dry, short impacts. So we went out and recorded them and added them to the Construction Kit. Both products of one collection are always influencing each other.
DS: I see you’re very organized on the metadata of your files. Very good naming, description, tagging, very focused searches, etc… did you follow any kind of guideline for this metadata injecting process? how do you typically do this on your recordings?
AR: What should I say. No. ;-) I mean some words are pretty straight forward, but our Construction Kits are pretty dense and include a lot of sounds and all of those are based in the same subject. We figured it is just not enough to say like “this is a jump on a jetty”. You would never find this. So we included three main frequency characteristics (low, mid and high), 3 basic sizes (small, med for medium and large) and so on to keep it easy but straight forward.
I rewrote the Creatures Metadata a bunch of times. Some words are used here again (small, medium, large and we added tiny here) but some had to be new or different. What I think is most difficult is to provide a good “matrix”-like possibility to search things without preventing sound designers from being creative. This is like that: first I thought the Construction Kit’s lighter roars could have a filename like “Goblin”. That way it is easy to find the sound again. On the other hand I want to make sure that sound designers do not search for “Goblin” if they want to design sounds for a “Goblin”-like creature, simply because it will influence their choice too much. I like to have them search more abstract things like “small”, “roar” and “high” to get inspired by the Construction Kit and finding exactly what they are looking for at the same time.
DS: And what about the new release… Creatures. How was it approached?
AR: It was all about totally experimenting and getting more experience. We started doing this about 6 years ago. Ever heard the creature sounds in the RTS game Paraworld or EA’s Battle Forge? These are some guys from Dynamedion making dinosaur and creature sounds, partial combined with some major animal libraries.
DS: How was the process of the recordings itself? I mean, did you record all the sounds or invited someone to record? What kind of gear did you use for that?
AR: No, Michael Schwendler, David Philipp and I recorded the Creatures library. We have recorded all things on our own so far. We tried a bunch of microphones and ended up using the Sennheiser MKH8050 for most things. I love this mic, pretty reliable, high frequency response, high max SPL and so on. Oh, but don’t try it without the filter module in between. You will get some really annoying ultra low noises if you just tip with your finger on the boom-pole. The recorder was a Sound Devices 744T. I really love this thing. Easy to use, again very reliable and awesome mic preamps and limiters.
DS: You had some crazy times naming these files, didn’t you? How did you do the classification of the performances (bellow, growls, yells, etc) and how useful is that structure in the searching process?
AR: We just tried to get as many descriptive words as possible for that. This is for example blow, breath, hiss, spray, ruckle, rattle for airy sounds. Since this could be a bit confusing, we added a second descriptive word in the Metadata. This means a hiss could also be found if you type “breath” if the hiss is soft. You could search for hard breaths by adding “hiss”. Of course you can also exclude words. For example the other way around. If you really want a soft breath you could search for “breath” and exclude “hiss”. This sounds complicated, but it just takes a few searches to get into this when using the library (tested with guys who never touched this library before)
This is why we always do a beta test phase in an early product state with some experienced sound designers. They give us feedback we wouldn’t find out alone, because we already know the content of our library.
DS: So, what’s next on BOOM? I know there’s a Lion library in the works… Could you tell us more about it?
AR: Of course! We recorded a few wild cats. Sebastian Pohle and I started with a test recording session in November 2009 with some lions here in Germany. Last June I was there again and stayed a few days and nights. We got tons of awesome lion recordings, a full-grown lion, one younger lion, 2 full-grown lionesses and one young lioness.
A few weeks ago I visited a gamefarm near Seattle and recorded tigers there. Right now we have more than 9 GB material of lions and tigers in 192kHz, 24-bit stereo. I would estimate we will crop this to 3 GB – I think that this will be one of the most extensive lion and tiger libraries on the market.
We recorded again using high frequency response mics – so besides a really cool animal library this will be a perfect addition to the Creatures library. Since you cannot really “construct” lions, this one will be our first release as is. No designed version, no Construction Kit – or in other words: both in one. Also, we will sell this one in 192kHz, 24-bit this time.
DS: And the next one will be guns, right?
AR: Right. This will again be a “Construction Kit” plus a designed product. This library was recorded in 96kHz, 24-bit and will be released with this sample rate. Our customers will be able to purchase final designed / mixed weapons and the original cropped, named and cleaned 12 channel multi-track recordings in a “Construction Kit”. This way you can start to mix your weapons from very realistic to absolutely over the top, distant or in your face close up – whatever your needs are. Like with all the Construction Kits, it will take more time working with the Construction Kit. So getting the Bundles is the best way to stay flexible, fast and still creative – whatever your projects needs and budgets are :-D
DS: Finally… This year we have seen several new libraries emerging on the Internet, similar to BOOM. All of them by sound designers, for sound designers. What do you think about this new era of sound effects distribution?
AR: I think the bigger sound effect companies never wanted to be anything else but libraries for sound designers. The major libraries definitely are done by sound designers and they produce sounds of course for sound designers. However nowadays, with all the smaller new libraries, you get the perfect addition to the big libraries: very specific products from guys, who provide what they do best. I don’t think any of us want to replace the bigger sound effect companies – it is more like a new very professional wave enriching the market.