As a creator of video and audio I am trained to look and listen for faults in my productions. Sometimes my boss accuses me of working all day on something that, he thinks, only I will notice. And he’s probably right but I can’t let something go out there looking bad, or, even more importantly, sounding bad. I probably do hear mic rumble no one else is aware of but, I think, this attention to detail is a common trait of video production peeps.
Here is an example of a video, a company put out, probably thinking that, it was good enough, but listen to those audio artifacts! I usually discourage people from learning to hear mp3 compression artifacts because, once you start to hear them, it is impossible to un-hear them and that path only leads to ridiculously expensive hi-fi choices. In this video, even the most untrained ear can hear the compression artifacts. It has been crushed so much the narrator has a digital lisp. There’s also all that high end digital sizzle and zing that’s almost painful to listen to.
If you ever need an example to send to someone who wants to know what compression this is a good example to send them, It is also a good of example of when a technical issue distracts your viewer/listener from your message. Who can even pay attention to what this company is selling when the audio is so distracting?
If you’re a filmmaker at any level from just starting out to an industry expert you know that, in the edit process you always find a few sound effects, foley or ambient noises that you’re missing. If you’ve been in that situation you’ve probably been to freesound.org. Freesound is a constantly growing library of Creative Commons licensed sounds. If you’re looking for something their search engine usually returns a few hits of sounds that might be useful and it is often quicker and much more convenient than digging out your field recording equipment and hunting down the sound for yourself.
That said, I’m sure lots of us have a few eclectic sound recording languishing on our hard drives that we recorded for one project or another. If you have something you’re willing to share the process of uploading them is a little geeky (ftp) but they do have a web interface too and it is a simple way of uploading a bunch of files at once. You simply upload your files, then describe and tag them and then wait a couple of days for them to be approved. What’s in it for you? What goes around comes around and what good are those files you’re hoarding especially if you’re not going to use them again. I just uploaded some of the sounds I’ve collected in recent months and it felt good to share. I hope other filmmakers will consider doing the same and freesound will become an even more comprehensive and useful resource for everyone.