What is this product?
Footstep sound effects are – or should be – an essential part of your foley library. The Footstep, Dirt and Gravel is our seventh Footstep Sound Pack, and it’s time to write a bit about how we make them.
Even though this product insight will focus on our Dirt and Gravel Sound Pack, it can be thought of as a guide for footstep recording and editing/finalizing in a more general perspective as well.
|37 files // 18min 8 seconds // c:a 1517 unique sounds/steps|
|96kHz, 24bit, mono wave files|
|Neumann KMR81d // Sound Devices 788T|
Our aim is to provide noise-free, well balanced natural-sounding footsteps with a big variation of sounds, and yet easy to find just the sound you’re looking for. And last but not least – the sound effects should be matching in your mix easily.
– Noise levels. Footsteps on this kind of soft ground aren’t very loud. Hence, any background noise becomes a critical factor.
– Unwanted movement sounds from clothing
– Unwanted low frequencies picked up from the microphone mount. Bass under 100Hz tends to slip through even the most well balanced suppressing rubber shock mounts.
– Wind noise, appearing particularly on recordings where the microphone is moving in higher velocities.
THE RECORDING PROCESS
All sounds were recorded over a period of three days back-to-back, since they offered us great conditions for field recording with very low levels of background noise at the designated location, and no wind.
The microphone used is the Neumann KMR81d, a completely digital microphone. The sound waves entering the microphone are instantly converted to digital data, without any analog amplifying in the microphone itself.
The recording unit used is the Sound Devices 788T. The rubber shock mount for the microphone is from Rycote.
Everything was recorded in 96KHz 24bit waveforms. The standard for audio in video is 48KHz. Since sound effects often is used for video filmed in slow motion and high frame rates, it’s very likely a desire to be able to sound design for slow motion, which means sound effects would be pitched down in order to match the motion. The 96KHz recording allows for pitching the sounds down to corresponding 50% of speed and still be within the 48KHz sample rate, with all data within the human hearing range preserved.
– Recording methodology
Recording distance (and noise levels):
As mentioned above – footsteps on this type of rather soft ground aren’t very loud. To get the lowest noise levels possible, and still have the microphone pick up as much of the spectrum as possible, the recording distance was kept to 1 meter (3 feet 3⅜ inches). Recording at closer distances would mean less relative background noise, but this would also bring the proximity effect into play, compromising the neutral sound of the recordings.
FINALIZING THE PRODUCT
After recording, the editing and finalizing are the final steps before the product is ready for use. So what have we done?
Short answer – as little as possible.
We believe in minimal processing, this applies to all our products.
Because our sound effects should be matching in your mix as well as possible.
But, a couple of things are done. All editing and post-processing have been done in Reaper.
FabFilter Pro-Q (linear phase mode) is applied to remove very low frequencies.
Fade-Ins/Outs Noise reduction:
A few sound effects have noise reduction via the Accusonus ERA Noise Remover on the fade-ins and fade-outs.
Field and Foley Recording
First of all – why bother to do field recordings of footsteps at all – when they’re easy to record in the Foley studio?
Because field recorded footsteps sound more natural.
For all our footstep sound effects, as much as possible of the actual field recordings are used throughout every sound effect. However, as mentioned above as one of the key challenges – interference sounds will occur at low frequencies whilst handling a moving microphone in the field. Hence, everything from 100Hz and below has its source in footsteps recorded in our Foley studio = no bass interference noise. One could argue to just cut below 100Hz and leave it at that, but we are aiming for the full spectrum and natural well balanced sounding SFX
Listen to the Demo of the final recordings:
Browse the complete contents of the sound library below. Get it in our webshop
|1||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Fast, Short take.wav||00:08|
|2||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Fast.wav||00:51|
|3||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Jog, Fast, Short take.wav||00:10|
|4||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Jog, Fast.wav||00:39|
|5||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Jog, Long steps, Short take.wav||00:08|
|6||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Jog, Long steps.wav||00:34|
|7||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Jog, Slow, Short take.wav||00:08|
|8||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Jog, Slow.wav||00:34|
|9||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Jump, Variations.wav||01:02|
|10||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Jump.wav||00:03|
|11||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Medium fast, Short take.wav||00:10|
|12||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Medium fast.wav||00:44|
|13||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Medium, Aggressive, Short take.wav||00:12|
|14||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Medium, Aggressive.wav||00:34|
|15||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Medium, Drag feet.wav||00:47|
|16||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Medium, Short take.wav||00:14|
|17||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Medium.wav||00:40|
|18||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Movement, Variations.wav||01:12|
|19||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Movement.wav||00:03|
|20||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Run, Short take.wav||00:10|
|21||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Run.wav||00:37|
|22||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Separated, Hard, Variations.wav||00:49|
|23||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Separated, Hard.wav||00:01|
|24||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Slide, Variations.wav||00:58|
|25||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Slide.wav||00:02|
|26||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Slow, Aggressive, Short take.wav||00:11|
|27||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Slow, Aggressive.wav||00:34|
|28||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Slow, Short take.wav||00:24|
|29||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Slow.wav||00:54|
|30||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Start stop, Variations.wav||01:02|
|31||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Start stop.wav||00:05|
|32||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Steps, Variations.wav||00:52|
|33||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Steps.wav||00:03|
|34||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Very fast, Short take.wav||00:08|
|35||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Very fast.wav||00:43|
|36||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Very slow, Short take.wav||00:20|
|37||Footstep, Dirt and gravel, Very slow.wav||01:21|