I now have the database tool in my hot little hands and after some tweaking will be ready to start inputting all the data for the current library sounds. That's nearly 13,000 sounds to be added to the database. As soon as that is done the full Sound Library website will be ready to go live. On target for a February launch. I am very happy to be so close to finally going live with the full site.
As part of preparing the library for launch I have been going through and checking all the sounds, making sure they are levelled well and generally have no problems. Initially I did not included many stereo sounds in the library, but I have been going through all the raw material and where available replacing the sounds I down mixed to mono with stereo versions.
Initially I think I was trying to reduce file sizes as most of the ambiance sounds were already quite long, but the ambiances also benefit more from being stereo than most other sounds. I really need to get a stereo shotgun mic so I can record the majority of my material in stereo initially as currently most of my samples are recorded in mono. I would not always choose to include stereo versions of all sounds, but I do think I should increase my options when recording raw material. Over the years I have evolved the way in which I record my raw material with a wider range of microphones available and better equipment to capture sounds, but there will always be room for improvement, so this year I plan to add both stereo and surround sound versions of a range of material.
Well this turned out to be a disappointing experiment. I have been thinking about doing a lot more recording with the hydrophone as I have captured some great material and want to continue to see what interesting results I can come up with recording under water. I decided to see if I could capture the sounds of ice cracking as it froze and melted so I placed the hydrophone into a plastic container, filled it with water and put it in the fridge. I attached the H4N to the mains power supply so it could run without fear of battery failure and left it on all night. 5 hours worth of recording later I an have nothing at all except the background hum of the refrigerator. Ok, so maybe ice doesn’t make much noise while its freezing, but I thought at least it would crackle and snap as it thawed out. So the following night I took the whole lot out of the freezer and left it to melt, again with the recorder running. Sadly I recorded another 5 hours of absolutely nothing. I was disappointed, but more than that I was very surprised, I really thought there would be some sound generated as the ice melted. I am going to do some more tests on this, but so far it has been a bit of a failure.
On a more positive note I did record a train today. There is a major freight terminal not far from where we live and some pretty big freight trains head out across the creak at the edge of the terminal. This means they spend several minutes clunking across the old metal bridge which makes a great sound. Anna and I were going for a walk as one went past so I got out the Zoom H4N which I was carrying and got some material. The sound these things make is pretty impressive and I want to find out if there is a regular schedule for them so I can bring down all my gear and do a proper recording session. Placing some mics right on the edge of the bridge would get some awesome sounds as these trains can be really heavy. For today I got a good short sample that I will use as motivation to get more.
I am continuing the process of creating some more sounds through manipulating recorded material. I have been getting some excellent and surprising results from stretching the sound files. In some cases I am using extreme stretch functions to create new sounds and the results have been a lot of fun. Most of the resulting sounds have a ghostly quality to them, and many of them would be very useful for science fiction or fantasy type sound effects. The most surprising result was a series of sounds that sound very much like whale song, but with a metallic quality, so I named them all Cyber whale calls. I’m sure they will be very useful for all those people who need the sound for a cybernetic whale singing. I still want to add more melee weapon sounding effects and a new task for next week is to try and create sounds for magic and spell effects, I have never created anything of this nature so it will be a good challenge for the week.
Back to Melbourne and back to work for the new year. I have now set myself a firm deadline on the website. For various reasons I have very good motivation to get everything finalised and up and running. It has been a lot of work so far but January is going to be even worse as I try to get it all finished. I plan on having the entire website including the fully functioning sound library launched before the end of February 2010. There is still a lot of work to go and I have a variety of other things I need to get done this month as well, so January is going to be a busy month. I hope it all comes together so that I can finally launch Sound Library and make it available to everyone.