Aug 5, 2009

Posted in Sound Effects

Sound Effects

Sound Effects are crucial, since the success of a radio thriller hinges on the ability to create vivid mental images of the action. “You need to look for settings that have sound effects that work,” said Oney. “A restaurant, for example, has recognizable sounds.

Oney and the crew generated all their own sound effects. The low moan of a fog horn was simulated by blowing across the top of a tequila bottle. The sharp crackle of flames was created by crinkling plastic. And Steve mimicked the buzzing of mosquitos for one night time scene.

Steve Oney will go to any lengths to find interesting sounds. “We did recordings in a Jacuzzi tub, from inside a car wash and in a World War turret in the backyard of an Osterville house for this show,” he explains.

Armed with a tape recorder while on a trip to Florida, Oney got the idea of taking it into the hot tub with him. “I put the mic in a plastic bag so it could go under water,” Oney remebers. He then experimented, placing it sometimes close to and other times away from the powerful jets. “It made a variety of sounds. I’ll use the sound where they’re trapped on the bottom in the sub and they have to set off some explosives to try to free themselves,” he says, obviously quite pleased with the results.

To create the sound of the bathysphere being lowered into the ocean, Oney and his wife Debbie, late one night, secured microphones to the back wheels of their Volvo wagon and put one down the gas tank. They then rocked the car back and forth to find just the right sloshing sound.

Steve oney is always thinking sound. When a reporter rewinds film in an automatic camera, Oney likes the sound and stores away the idea away for a future production. For one show, Oney needed sounds of cars crossing a bridge. he went around his house pounding everything with his fist to see what it sounded like. Finally he found hitting a piece of rubber with a toilet bowl plunger gave him the effect he wanted.

For every 20 things that Oney tries, he uses one. He sometimes prethinks effects that he needs. It’s been said that Oney doesn’t watch a sunset, he “listens” to it, perceiving even the enviroment through his ears.

Some sound is recorded on video tape on a digital recorder which produces a quieter, more suitable sound for compact dicc and can be more easily manipulated when edited. The sounds are then laid on six-track tape along with the dialogue, other sound effects and original music. “Quality and time are related,” Oney says of the laborious process. “There is a sculpting process to it.”

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