Megasonics 6: The Ins and Outs of Sound Effects

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Megasonics 6 (MS006), featuring Foley sound effects, is the latest installment in the Megasonics SFX series. We sat down with sound engineer Preston Shepard to find out more about the sound effects creation process, what makes this album unique and different and what sounds were the most enjoyable to capture.

Megatrax: We know there are many, but can you give us an overview of the types of sound effects that are on the album?

Preston Shepard: Megasonics 6 includes a wide variety of common Foley sounds ranging from office/computer equipment to weapons Foley (guns, knives, swords etc.) to human sounds (cough, sneeze, snoring, eating and drinking), and footsteps on various surfaces with different types of shoes.

MX: Talk to us a little bit about where the Foley sounds for this album were created.

PS: The Foley sounds for Megasonics 6 were recorded at a stage called “The Sync Tank”, which is a Foley stage out in the Calabasas area.  The Foley artist was Jody Thomas whose credits include “The Practice” “The OC” “Smallville” “One Tree Hill” “Chuck” “The Mentalist” “Southland” and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” among many others.
MX: What were some of the techniques that stood out to you when creating these different effects?

PS: We used a variety of standard techniques to record these sounds.  One of the more unique things that we did, which differs from standard, is that many of the sound effects were recorded in stereo.  In film/TV most Foley sounds are recorded in mono, but we felt that our clients would find the stereo recordings more useful for their purposes.  In the interest of flexibility however, we used a special dual capsule microphone that means our Foley sounds can be “collapsed” to mono with no loss of quality, should our clients need to use them in mono.

MX: What’s the difference between creating these effects with Foley and creating them synthetically?
PS: While it is possible to recreate some of these sounds synthetically, I think it is easy for even the untrained ear to recognize “the real thing” when they hear it, so I tried to preserve as much realism as possible with minimal processing, so our clients can have maximum creative freedom when using these sounds for their projects.

MX: There’s so much variety in these effects, you had to have had a favorite sound, right?
PS: I really enjoyed making some of the weapon sounds on this album, including knives, swords, and guns.  I wasn’t allowed to play guns as a kid, and so it was fun for me to “play” with weapons and capture the sounds that they make.

MX: Before this project, had you worked with Foley?
PS: I have been fortunate to work on over two dozen feature films and a couple of different television shows as a sound editor and mixer, so I have spent a lot of time combing through some of the massive commercial sound effects libraries, trying to find that perfect sound.  I believe that our contribution with Megasonics 6 includes a wide variety of sounds, with many options for each sound that will be very helpful for our clients.  Foley is telling the story with sound, making the artificial worlds feel real, and I think it brings projects to life.
Megasonics 6 is available at now.  While you’re there, check out the full Megasonics catalog!

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