March Newsletter 2014

It has been a very long and cold winter here in Michigan! And I got to shoot an Independent film in it! I spent all of February in New Buffalo, MI shooting a feature film called The Middle Distance. This film is about 70% Michigan made, so I was very thrilled to be a part of it. The key positions were filled with very experienced people who were just fantastic. There were also a lot of very well picked greenhorns who were all about learning, and picked up on set protocol really quickly. Once again, I was the boom-op, working with my partner in crime for all things production and post, Robert Langley. It's a great collaborative pairing. He takes a little more of the lead role on productions, and I take a slightly more lead role in post. But, we are both killing it on every project! We make a great team!

Next up for us is doing post-production on an Independent film called Saugatuck Cures. This is a Michigan production that we are very pleased to be a part of. That all starts Monday! So I got 2.5 days off between projects... Man, I need a vacation. Is there such a thing in the Independent film world? haha!

Glass Smash HD -
Early in January I released a new library called Glass Smash HD! This library is a massive collection of pristinely recorded glass breaks, glass debris, and footsteps on glass. This was all done in my "dirty Foley room." This is a small space in the basement that is shrouded in professional sound blankets, furni-pads, and acoustic foam treatments. The floor is cement, making it the perfect place to drop and throw glass. This collection is a year in the making as I began collecting and breaking glass in January 2013. Due to an 11-month flood of work, and some other libraries that became priorities because of the work I was doing, I finished recording this library in December 2013.

The objects I broke have mostly been recycled. I did save about 20lbs. of broken glass for future use. The objects smashed include a 30" tube tv, chandelier, vases, glass table tops, panes (including several at a time), spaghetti sauce jars, hot sauce bottles, beer bottles, champagne bottles, beakers, growlers, light bulbs, punch bowls and cups, fish bowls... Just about every size of glass you can think of. I didn't realize until it broke that old tube TVs are highly pressurized. The explosion "rocked the house" so much, my neighbor had to check in on me to make sure I didn't die. It's got some great "umph"!! Sounds great with a sub woofer!! So, be careful if you ever embark on this journey.

Then I decided to create glass debris. I knew that users would want everything from buckets of shards all the way down to light, powdery debris. So, it's all in there, and there is a ton of variation. As with all of my libraries, I try to provide as much variation as possible. That's why I don't just break one wine bottle - I broke 11. I also broke 17 wine glasses. I had a lot of friends with old glasses, and I scoured resale stores all over town!

But I wasn't done. At the end of various sessions I piled the glass up and walked on it providing a ton of footsteps on various types of glass. I walked, ran, jogged, and made "SmallMoves", which consist of pivoting, creeping, single steps, and weight shifts creating little crackling sounds.

Library Specs:
Size: 776.82Mb zipped, ~1Gb unzipped
Audio Files: 381
Individual Clips: 578
Sample/Bit: 96k/24bit

Check it out here: http://www.soundopolis.net/glasssmash

CB Radio HD has been released. CB Radio HD is a small collection of static produced by different channels on a 40-channel CB Transducer. Included in the collection are button sounds and antenna extension and contraction sounds. I found a pair of “Realistic TRC-222 40-channel Citizens Band Transceivers” at a second hand store, but only one works! Such is life. So here are the sounds the surviving “walkie-talkie” produces.

Recording Technique: This collection was a simple one. I used a Sony PCM-D50 in ORTF setup, recording at 96k/24bit. I just held the device up to the recorder and hit record, flipped through various channels. Super simple. I found that the static sound was very “static”… Duh, you might say. But when I touched the antenna it would attenuate the sound a bit. So most channels were recorded for ~30 seconds as is, and then again varying touching the antenna to give it a “breaking up” cadence. Those tracks are labeled “warble”.

For the button clicks and knob turns I took the batteries out of the CB transducer so that I could get them clean without any static. This includes a “channel button,” which shows you which channel you’re on; the talk button, like all walkie-talkies; the channel selector dial, which … selects the channel, and produces a clicking sound; and the volume dial, which also acts as an on/off switch. The “Battery Test” button sounded just like the channel button, so I didn’t bother. The antenna sounds were the biggest challenge as the antenna extends out 3 or 4 feet, so I tried to give enough variation in speed and force to meet all antenna needs. It was actually quite an awkward antenna. You couldn’t just pull it all the way out in one quick motion. I don’t think anyone could look cool and suave pulling this antenna all the way out. Not even Kurt Russell… And he’s a badass.

Library Specs:
Size: 500+Mb unzipped
Audio Files: 34
Individual Clips: 61
Sample/Bit: 96k/24bit

Check it out here: www.soundopolis.net/cbradio

Website ReDesign -
In the coming months, Soundopolis.net will be unveiling a complete makeover. With the help of David Lee at Lee Media Services, we had already been boosting the user experience with easier account creation, and streamlining the purchase process. We are currently working on a whole new front page design - with style! Right now the sight is very "blah", and it really doesn't represent what myself or my company are all about. I can't wait to introduce you all to a new me, and a new Soundopolis!

Future Releases -

FREE SFX 2! - Due to the popularity of FREE SFX!, I have plans to assemble another collection of free sounds. I am still debating between making it a sampling of current libraries, or a random collection from my personal vault... Maybe a combination of both? We'll see.

Untitled - Early in 2013 I messed around with a 1/2 watt guitar amplifier, one of those cigarette-pack sized amps. I recorded about an hour of sounds. I ran the output through some guitar effects, and a Fender CyberTwin Amp. I basically broke the cover off the small amp and played around with the insides. What I've created, I don't even know yet... I've been extracting various tones and sounds from the recording. It's a lot to go through, and it may take me another year to really produce a cohesive library out of these sounds. But there are some gnarly sounds in there. Just need the time to chop it up and organize it. Stay tuned!

Thank you for your support!

David Fienup
Owner/Sound Designer
Soundopolis, LLC