90 Second Sound Design - Household Tools to Sci-Fi Laser

90 Second Sound Design - Household Tools to Sci-Fi Laser

The Challenge

As previously mentioned I’m challenging myself once again to try and create or record one new sound a day for 2019. I won’t do a video for every day.. but ideally I’d like to make one weekly.

I give myself about 30 minutes to make something then maybe an hour later if it’s something I actually end up making a video for. So sometimes I just take inspiration when it strikes. On this particular day, I was doing some yard and house work. I was looking for a hammer in the garage and couldn’t find one anywhere. As I was digging through the tools with no hammer in sight, I simply decided to stop and take the opportunity to make good on my daily sound design goal.

Charging the Laser

A ratchet set - perfect for getting some mechanical clicking without having to edit some other sound together later.

A drill - pitching drills down in different ways you can come across all sorts of crazy textures. There is tones of tonality in there. During recorded I also moved it around a bit to take advantage of the doppler effect.

  • Side note here, I used Izotope RX for pitch and time modulation. If you’ve never explored using RX for it’s pitch capabilities, I highly recommend it. I’d like to share more information on this, and I will another time.

A telescoping boom pole (for painting) - This thing makes some nice clicking and sliding sounds. Didn’t need to really process it much but I did pitch it up overtime (as shown in video).

The Laser

So before I mentioned I couldn’t find my hammer - I would have used that to hit a few things and record the result. Instead I grabbed the paint roller and the pan that goes with it and used that to do some banging around.

This part is where most of the processing needed to be done. You can scrub through the plugin chain in the video for the exact specs on what I did but the overall though process was this:

  • Use Subsynth to make it sound not so weak

  • Add some distortion and help it sound a bit more percussive / explosive

  • Use a transient designer to get it sounding super punchy / bit more like a gunshot

  • Alter feedback on Eventide H910 to dial in a classic “pew pew” laser like sound

  • Reverb, not so much for spatialization or anything but more for tonality and further shaping the way I wanted to sound to decay

So there you have it! Most of what was done was not much more than simple layering and trying to look at common objects in a new way. This is the biggest thing I always recommend to my students who are interested in sound design. Never underestimate what’s in your junk drawer or garage for that matter.