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Production and Use of Sound Effects

Sound effects are artificially created or enhanced sounds that are used in artistic works to emphasize or express an action, mood, or feeling. Sound effects were initially used in radio dramas, but can be observed more often today in podcasts, theater, films, and television shows. They are often synchronized with certain actions, such as a door's slamming being accompanied by the appropriate noise. Sound effects may also be used in the background of a scene to create anticipation or other emotions.


Unsurprisingly, the most realistic sound effects tend to be recordings of actual sounds. To create these sound effects, the actual sounds that are recorded may also be edited or enhanced; sometimes, the pitch, intensity, or another aspect of the sound may be altered using software. Sound effects may also be created entirely digitally by using software or sound equipment to recreate the intended effect. Such sound effects tend to be less realistic. Both of these kinds of stock sound effects are widely available and may be found in sound effect libraries.

Multiple sound effects may be played at once or closely together in films and television shows. This is often done to establish realism, as sounds are often concurrent in reality. The use of several subtle sounds such as those of fabric rustling, light footsteps, and quiet conversation in the background of a film can make otherwise uncomfortable and unnaturally quiet scenes convincing and lifelike.

Sounds can also be layered to create a new effect altogether. This sort of layering of effects is often done when no existing sound effects fulfill a producer's needs and none can be easily made. This practice is especially common in science fiction movies, which often feature various mythical creatures, imagined monsters, and futuristic innovations and infrastructures that call for sounds that do not currently exist.

The term "Foley effects" refers to the sound effects recorded live for a specific film and added to the visual footage post-production. Foley effects are largely created using various props, many of which are used in innovative fashions, but may also include some stock effects. Some reverberation is added to Foley tracks to make the sounds more realistic and complete the effects. Foley effects are often subtle background noises, but may consist of louder and more immediately noticeable sounds as well.

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll http://www.recordforall.com audio recording and editing software.