We all know sound occurs through the vibration of air molecules, but what happens when you deliberately manipulate the pressure? We’ve employed a vast range of devices for exactly that purpose: a five ton steam engine, an air compressor with many different attachments, truck air brakes, a domestic pressure cooker, spray cans, fire extinguishers, balloons, shaken up soda cans, paint ball guns & the most essential device of all; the human breath!
Every one of these devices provides a unique source of design material, whether its many varied forms of aggressive attack, or the sustained shriek & decay as the pressure drops… Use these as elements in their own right or convolve them with your favourite source material or impulse responses – the noise component means they cut through even the densest mixes. We also took the opportunity to record some very interesting ambiences – air hissing through a variety of pipes.
The library is available at the typical pricing/quality options:
— PRESSURE MAX (US$49) – 2,715 sounds (3.4GB download, 5.8GB unrar’d) at 24bit 96kHz Stereo
— PRESSURE MID (US$29) – 593 sounds (411MB download, 673MB unrar’d) at 24bit 48kHz Stereo
— PRESSURE LITE (US$9.00) • 298 sounds (113MB download, 204MB unrar’d) at 16 bit 44.1kHz Stereo
If you want to know more about the library and the next projects of Tim, let’s read this short Q&A session I had with him:
DS: What was the inspiration for the new library?
TP: Many years ago I was working on a scifi TV series (Cleopatra 2121) and I ran into a picture editor friend who made a funny comment when I told him what i was working: “Scifi sounds all compressed air aren’t they?” He was being ironic but the comment stuck in my head & I started noticing as I worked that compressed air is a really great source of sound design material, so I used the idea as a theme for this library, pursuing it with every kind of prop that uses air pressure I could think of…
DS: What props did you enjoy recording the most?
TP: The steam train was fun – partly because it meant getting out of the studio, but also because I was not trying to document a steam engine, I was purely pursuing it for steam releases & chuffs – useful elements due to their scale. After that I borrowed a friends pressure cooker and cranked it up in the studio, and found I could perform a wide range of releases with it. Next was an air compressor and using a number of tools (air guns, staple guns, air drills) I managed to capture a huge range of performances, including creating steady state ambiences by pushing low pressure air through various pipes…. but some of the smaller props generated some unpredictable & interesting sounds – aerosol cans, fire extinguishers, shaken up soda cans…
Designing Sound: Any tips on use of the library?
Tim Prebble: Apart from using the sounds as components in their own right, one aspect that is well worth pursuing is via convolution, whether using a dedicated application or via impulse responses. The thing with convolution is that it reinforces common frequencies between the two sounds, so the broad (& sometimes intense) frequency content of the pressure sounds means they will find a lot of common frequencies with the other sound used, which can lead to very interesting results. Some of the aerosol cans made very interesting sounds just before they ran out of pressure – spluttering in a very small way. I suspect these could make for very interesting use as impulse responses as they reminded me of listening to multi tap delay impulses, except randomized… There is a lot of varied material in this library that lends itself to all sorts of experimentation, the attack of some of the air release sounds is really aggressive, whereas I also did some sweeps (waving air tool across wood) that could be a great starting point for wooshes….
DS: What’s next for HISSandaROAR?
TP: I am very happy to say that after a lot of work by a lot of talented people THE DOORS library is finally ready to ship! Its a huge library, over 110GB, and has been a massive undertaking. So this week I’m shipping drives to the contributors as I think it is important to the spirit of the project that the recordists receive their copies first. Then in January 2011 I’ll release it on the site… I’m aiming for monthly releases on HISSandaROAR in 2011 – the response has been brilliant this year and I’d like to personally thank everyone who has supported it.
DS: What’s 2011 hold for you in terms of film projects?
TP: I have been preparing to go on a field recording trip to Samoa for a film called ORATOR that I’m doing next year, and it presents a unique experience for me in two ways. First I’ve upgraded my location recording setup to enable six track recording (a Sound Devices 744 C.Linked to my 722) so I am planning on recording ambiences in surround for every location in the film. I am also going to be composer for the film and the director wants a combination of traditional Samoan music elements, along with more ambient/found sound material, so I’ll be doing a lot of auditioning & recording of musicians while there too. Scoring films has been a life long dream but one that I did not want to pursue until I was ready and this film is a beautiful opportunity. The first record trip was planned for early December but I’ve just had my schedule tipped upside down by a new film project with a tight deadline & very creative demands – it will be my first 3D film project, mixing at Park Road Post in 7.1 – so the Samoa trip has been delayed to March 2011.
DS: Anything else to add?
TP: I’d just like to take the opportunity to say thanks to you Miguel, for all the hard work you have done this year. Its been great to see Designing Sound go from strength to strength and to also see the launch of Sonic Terrain. Film is such a collaborative art and its in keeping that the same ethos applies online in the sense of a global sonic community.
Do you want more? Let’s check this exclusive article at Sonic Terrain, where Tim talks about the recording process of the library.