Teaching Audio, part 4 - Sounds Effects, Sound Design, Music and Audio Libraries


When not working with original material recorded directly in the field (which isn't usually ethical for journalism, but is fine for other types of work, such as documentaries, podcasts, etc ...), adding music and sound effects can be really helpful to move an audio story along. It's important, however, to hit that right note, not sound too cheesy, or over the top, or quickly dated. Lots of podcasts will hire sound design artists to add in and produce all the audio effects, to give it that extra auditory layer that will wow listeners and keep them interested in the story being told. Here's an episode from a podcast about sound artists.

Internet Catalogs

The catalog of Kevin MaLeod's copyright-free music is used by many. Vimeo now has a music store with some free offerings. Here's a link with lots of free music links. And another one. Are you specifically looking for a news jingle for your newscast? YouTube now has a distinct copyright free audio library section.Here is Archive.Org which has lots of old, free stuff.. This is Free Sound. This is the Free Music Archive. Here is the Creative Commons site for free music. Free Sound is my favorite sound effects library. Here are a few other sound libraries: http://www.pdsounds.org/, http://soundbible.com/free-sound-effects-1.html and http://www.audionetwork.com/sound-effects. If you can't find a site you liked here, and the sound you were looking for, keep googling, and you'll find it.

Audio Artists

I like to listen to strange, mashed up audio art from time to time. Any good podcast should have it's good intro, finely edited mashup to give the show its framing. In this episode of the Snap Judgement podcast, called Colin from Marketing, sound design artist Pat Mesiti-Miller does great work throughout the audio documentary to keep the listener "audio-immersed". On the art side, as I've said before, Miranda July is one of my favorites. Below is another video in which she mixes her own voice, with sound effects and a strange story. Here's an article on the importance of mashups and remix culture.

Audio Insanity

Another master in the mashup, remix, social commentary genre, insane video artist Ryan Trecartin knows how to also work the audio, so listen closely as the madness in the video below escalates.

If you found this tutorial useful, check out other installments. Here's the full list of chapters from my audio tutorials:

Teaching Audio -- Instilling Passion

Teaching Audio part 1 -- Recording Audio

Teaching Audio part 2 -- Writing for the Ear

Teaching Audio part 3 -- Audio Editing

Teaching Audio part 4 -- Sound Effects, Using Music and Audio Libraries

Teaching Audio part 5 -- Anchor Leads, News Writing, Judgment and Features

Teaching Audio part 6 -- Voicing

Teaching Audio part 7 -- On the Scene Reporting

Teaching Audio part 8 -- Interviews

Teaching Audio part 9 -- Newscasts and Stacking the News

Teaching Audio part 10 -- Commercials

Teaching Audio part 11 -- Raising Your Game

Teaching Audio part 12 -- Podcasting Intro

Teaching Audio part 13 -- Window Dressing

Teaching Audio part 14 -- Podcast Lists

Teaching Audio part 15 -- Big Podcasts, Little City

Teaching Audio part 16 -- Listening to Podcasts and Publishing your Own

Teaching Audio, part 17 -- Joining Podcast Communities

Teaching Audio, part 18 -- Podcasting for PR

Teaching Audio, part 19 -- Promoting Your Podcast

Teaching Audio, part 20 -- Making Money in Podcasting

Teaching Audio, part 21 -- Building a Career in Audio

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