What is this product?
This is a collection of professionally recorded and edited skateboarding sound effects, curated by skateboard filmmakers. The sound library – as the name suggests – focuses on street skateboarding sounds, where you typically ride on concrete, tarmac, and tiles of different kinds. Tricks are often made on concrete or metal ledges, and metal rails. All these sounds, in addition to board handling of different kinds, are recorded and prepared in a way that lets you combine the sound effects into fitting virtually any situations in street skateboarding.
Read about how we created this sound effects library, listen to the sounds, and browse the contents below!
“The Grey Forest“ – a skateboard short film with all sound added in post production
”The Grey Forest” is a skateboard short film I made in 2014 – around the same time we were refining the recording methods for the sound effects of the Skateboard, Street & Concrete Sound Effects Library.
Hence it was a great opportunity to test whether our recordings were up to the task, through making the sound design and foley for this film. We learned a lot from this process, both in terms of how to record, but mostly what to record, and how to cover all kinds of sounds needed in an effective way.
WHAT TO RECORD?
We set the goal to make a sound library that would contain everything you’d need to sound design street skateboarding. The first challenge we faced was what to record.
There are several hundred tricks that can be performed in street skateboarding, and every trick can be performed on a variety of materials (i.e. ground of asphalt, concrete or tiles, and metal rails or concrete curbs) – so the combinations are virtually endless. However, all tricks are built up pretty much the same way, which makes it possible to break the tricks – and their sounds – down into smaller modules:
The most basic activity in street skateboarding is rolling on the ground. We recorded at four different speeds:
very slow, slow, medium, and fast.
Also, there are different types of ground to roll on. We recorded on:
asphalt, concrete, and tiles.
There is a different sound to rolling when pushing speed, and yet another kind when rolling on only the front or back set of wheels (this activity is called a manual or wheelie in skateboarding trick terminology)
This is when the tip of the deck (called nose and tail) smacks into the ground, which makes the skateboard pop up from the ground. The pop is the beginning of virtually every skateboard trick. Pops can either be straight, or rotating, (depending on whether the trick will be a straight flight or a rotating one) and there’s a slight difference sound wise between the distinct straight pop, and the more scoping, shoving sound of the rotating pop. Once airborne the next step(s) can vary a bit, as described below.
– Wheel spins
In most cases, you get airborne carrying speed, and hence the wheels will keep on spinning in the air. The rattling sound from the bearings and urethane wheels is quite characteristic.
– Flip foot
A vast category of tricks is those where the skateboard spin and rotate in different ways beneath the rider whilst midair. The kickflip is an example of this, where skateboarder, after the pop, uses the side of the front foot to pull and flick the skateboard in such a manner that it flips 360 degrees around its own axis. The sound made when the shoe drags against the black grip tape of the skateboard is the sound recorded for ”flip foot”
– (Board) Catch
The next step in flip tricks is catching the board again to stop the spinning/flipping before landing. This is usually done midair, and there’s a soft but recognizable wooden sound when the soles of the shoes makes contact with the board again.
The skateboard wheels and bearings are attached to the wooden deck via a component called the truck. This is made of aluminum, and skateboarders discovered it has relatively low friction against both metal, concrete and stone surfaces. This enables the category of tricks called grinds, where the rider, coming in speed, jumps and aligns the trucks onto metal or stone/concrete rails or edges. The sound grinding makes is very distinct, and as the name suggests, it is literally grinding down the metal surface on the truck, over time.
Slides is an activity similar to grinds, except it is the underside of the wooden deck which is used to slide on metal rails, concrete curbs, etc.
The wheels are made of the plastic compound material called urethane, and are typically very hard, which means they will slide sideways on most surfaces, both intentionally and during high-speed maneuvering. There is a loud screechy sound to this.
What goes up must come down, and all tricks end in a landing. Most tricks have a straight landing, where all four wheels hit the ground at the same time. Some rotating tricks have a landing where the rotation is not finished all the way through, resulting in a partial wheel slide, combined with the impact.
HOW TO RECORD IT?
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.
Everything was recorded in 96KHz 24bit waveforms. The standard for audio in video is 48KHz. Since skateboarding is often 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
We would need a lot of takes for every category. Many of the sounds are very frequent. Skateboard films are endless variations of pops, landing and rolling. Those sounds recorded in movement, such as rolling, we would need both as following sounds and as fly-bys. Since the recording kit (the KMR81d and Sound Devices 788T) is compact, the following sounds were easily recorded – give the equipment to the rider to record onboard the skateboard.
Recording distance (and noise levels):
To get the lowest noise levels possible, and still never exceed the peaking of the recording volume, we were very thorough in choosing recording distances. Moving sounds were recorded at approximately a 1,5-meter distance. More controllable sounds, like pops, catches, flip foot, are recorded at a distance of 1 meter. Rolling on tiles allowed further away recording distance, since the sound of the urethane wheels rolling over the cracks between the tiles makes a very loud sound.
– Editing & Finalizing
We put together longer multi-takes based on category, in order to make it easy to browse and vary between different takes when sound designing. The recordings have no post processing except for a high pass filter removing very low frequencies (which would not have come from the skateboarding, but from movement interference sounds due to microphone handling). Also, no noise reduction, equalizing, saturation nor compression is added to the sounds used in the final product. We always strive to keep our products as unprocessed as possible – our philosophy is that the sound effects will match better in your mix, and allowing you to go further (creatively and technically) with your own choices suiting the sound of your project.
Listen to the Demo of the final recordings:
– File Naming
The naming of the sound effect tracks is according to the above described skateboard trick categories. On some occasions, the naming is also given by relevant skateboard tricks. But with the above description, you should do fine without having to learn the complete street skateboard trickipedia.
Browse the complete contents of the sound library below. Purchase it in our webshop
|Skateboard, Board, Blunt slide on concrete curb.wav||00:41|
|Skateboard, Board, Catch feet in air.wav||00:38|
|Skateboard, Board, Catch.wav||00:36|
|Skateboard, Board, Foot placement.wav||01:18|
|Skateboard, Board, Grind and slide landing on rail.wav||00:31|
|Skateboard, Board, Nose slide on concrete curb.wav||00:32|
|Skateboard, Board, Slide on concrete.wav||00:23|
|Skateboard, Board, Slide on metal curb.wav||00:28|
|Skateboard, Drop on concrete.wav||00:05|
|Skateboard, Fall on asphalt.wav||00:58|
|Skateboard, Fall on concrete.wav||01:21|
|Skateboard, Foot, Foot flip.wav||00:38|
|Skateboard, Pickup from concrete.wav||00:10|
|Skateboard, Pop on asphalt, Front truck landing.wav||00:18|
|Skateboard, Pop on asphalt, Straight landing.wav||00:29|
|Skateboard, Pop on concrete, Half cab.wav||00:36|
|Skateboard, Pop on concrete, Jump.wav||00:13|
|Skateboard, Pop on concrete, Rotating landing.wav||00:49|
|Skateboard, Pop on concrete, Straight landing.wav||01:14|
|Skateboard, Pop on spot on concrete, Front landing.wav||00:25|
|Skateboard, Pop on spot on concrete, Straight landing.wav||00:13|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Fast.wav||01:48|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Flyby, Fast.wav||00:26|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Flyby, Medium.wav||01:00|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Flyby, Slow.wav||00:36|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Manuals.wav||00:57|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Medium.wav||01:38|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Push speed, Aggressive.wav||00:39|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Push speed.wav||00:39|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Rotation landing.wav||00:51|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Slow.wav||01:38|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Tic tac.wav||01:13|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Very slow.wav||00:35|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Wheel slide, Long.wav||00:12|
|Skateboard, Roll on asphalt, Wheel slide.wav||00:52|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Fast.wav||01:08|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Flyby, Fast.wav||00:26|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Flyby, Medium.wav||00:41|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Flyby, Slow.wav||00:38|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Flyby, Very slow.wav||00:36|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Manuals, Fast.wav||00:28|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Manuals, Medium.wav||00:43|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Medium slow.wav||01:08|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Medium.wav||01:10|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Push speed, Fast.wav||00:52|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Push speed, Medium.wav||01:10|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Slow.wav||00:56|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Start stop.wav||00:44|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Tic tac.wav||01:33|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Very slow.wav||00:38|
|Skateboard, Roll on concrete, Wheel slide.wav||00:50|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Fast.wav||01:08|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Flyby, Fast.wav||00:44|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Flyby, Medium.wav||00:41|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Flyby, Slow.wav||00:35|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Flyby, Very slow.wav||00:46|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Manuals, Fast.wav||00:40|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Manuals, Medium.wav||00:44|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Medium.wav||00:51|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Push speed, Fast.wav||00:50|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Push speed, Medium.wav||01:10|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Push speed, Very slow.wav||00:49|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Slow.wav||00:55|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Tic tac.wav||01:09|
|Skateboard, Roll on tiles, Very slow.wav||01:12|
|Skateboard, Truck, Grind and slide on metal rail, Medium speed.wav||00:21|
|Skateboard, Truck, Grind on concrete curb with cracks.wav||00:20|
|Skateboard, Truck, Grind on concrete.wav||00:34|
|Skateboard, Truck, Grind on metal rail, Medium speed.wav||00:31|
|Skateboard, Truck, Grind on metal rail, Slow speed.wav||00:20|
|Skateboard, Truck, Landing on concrete curb.wav||00:54|
|Skateboard, Truck, Smith grind on concrete curb.wav||00:30|
|Skateboard, Wheel, Spin in air.wav||02:00|