Foley and Sound Design are, without a doubt, the black arts of post production. Gloves with paperclips are dog paws, feather dusters are bird wings and magnetic tape becomes tropical foliage in a storm… There are so many layers involved in getting a moment sounding right with Foley – and the only way you know it is right, is when nobody notices. So what’s the difference between Foley and Sound Design? Well, Foley could be viewed as a natural
recreation of the original sounds and ambiences, whilst sound design could be viewed more as a synthesized (and often stylized) version of what we believe something sounds or should sound like. Either way you look at it, the bottom line is that ambience or mood is being created through the utilization of layers and layers of smoke and mirrors and one of the top players in the game is the excellent ‘Boom Libraries.’
“Foley and Sound Design are, without a doubt, the black arts of post production.”
As any one in the ‘know’ will tell you, sound is the most important aspect of a movie. It’s what sets the mood and it’s what gives the movie gravity. Don’t believe me? Then watch a movie without sound – it actually makes no sense at all! These days, especially with low budget, straight to YouTube features, short films and even video games a great many productions are using libraries for Post Production of which Boom are one of the best known.
Now it would seem as though sound design plugins are about to become the new, acceptable paradigm. This is a brave new world and the beauty of a sound design plugin is very clear. A sound-specific generator with synth-like handles to further blur the line between disciplines is clearly the way forward for post production.
“A sound-specific generator with synth-like handles… is clearly the way forward for post production.”
First up is Turbine – A jet engine simulation plugin. It’s not just a clever and surprising idea but it’s also a very evolved representation of what is possible with a foley plugin. In all honesty, you are probably going to get in a real mess when you start playing
with this plugin as it is designed to be controlled through slow and steady (incremental) automation in your DAW. You will find ‘Presets’ in the top, right hand corner of the TURBINE. Each one is named after a different aircraft (there are non aircraft presets too) and each aircraft
aircraft presets too) and each aircraft represents a different audio engine. There are literally thousand of parameters to control each engine and, once you realize that the TURBINE sound is only half of what this plugin does the potential starts to curl your brain up at the edges.
Thrust offers the most immediate payback for the inquisitive mouse-keteer as you can grab the control lever and slam it straight to the ceiling. However, as plugin designer Axel Rohrbach was quick to point out to us, the resultant sound is not very realistic as Turbine engines don’t really operate that way.
The best results are to be had by automating in your DAW direct from the THRUST lever or, if you need micro resolution, then automate the value readout in the upper right of the THRUST module itself.
If the SIMULATION Tab isn’t fun to you then you’re probably better off editing gigabytes of .wav files together. You can leave the plugins to us… It’s almost mind blowing how you can set your engine simulation, angle, noise, wind, then simply switch tabs, plot a path for your aircraft and the plugin will literally handle the rest.
The early reflection ‘SETTINGS’ on the right of the interface help to really place the speed and distance of the aircraft in relation to your video clip, but of course automating the X, Y, Z ‘POSITIONS’ is paramount for ultimate realism.
“The early reflection settings on the right of the interface help to really place the speed and distance of the aircraft in relation to your video clip.”
Everything you adjust with this plugin has a definitive purpose (however subtle) and thus creates a visceral change in the dynamics of the sound. From BURN which simulates the dumping of avgas into the combustion chamber, to ANGLE which adjusts the sonics of the engine relative to its angle.
This 145MB plugin can easily replace a 5 GB library but the real advantage lies in the almost infinite user control. TURBINE is a truly ground breaking plugin.
“TURBINE is a truly ground breaking plugin.”
Now ENFORCER is not a foley plugin like TURBINE however, it is the answer to a lot of foley problems and it is far reaching in it’s ability to provide sweetening of the subsonic variety. ENFORCER is definitely left-field in it’s approach but it’s this type of thinking that solves time consuming problems in the world of production and post.
Essentially, ENFORCER is a synth that is triggered by an incoming sample. Not like Slate’s Trigger which actually replaces the sample sound with another sample from a library. No, ENFORCER actually adds a synthesized sound to the sample whilst giving you the option to duck the original a little or replace it entirely.
“…it’s this type of thinking that solves time consuming problems in the world of production and post.”
Above: The Threshold Controls
The Detection window of the ENFORCER lies directly in the middle of the orange and black GUI and this is where you set the THRESHOLD of your sound detection. First though, you’ll need to got to the right hand side of the plugin and use the TRIGGER FILTER controls to home in on the frequency range of the sound you want to work with.
“ENFORCER actually adds a synthesized sound to the sample whilst giving you the option to duck the original a little or replace it entirely.”
So, how do I do that?
Let’s say you have a Drum Loop. You really like it so you want to re-inforce the kick – but only the kick (this works with snares too, by the way). so you click and check the FILTER box and then do the same with AUDITION. Whilst AUDITION is engaged you can hone in on the frequency range and therefor the transient of the kick. You’ll see the circular energy pumping in the THRESHOLD window and at this point you adjust those THRESHOLD pincers to fully lock in. If the incoming signal is not very visible in that window then you can increase the SCALE control to blow up the graphic. Now dial in some DRY/WET and you will start hearing it reinforced.
Next up is the very important PITCH envelope. Rather than just simply offer simple enhancement of a drum with a static bass pitch, BOOM Library have designed ENFORCER to allow you to set a percussive style envelope with a very fast attack. This enables you to not only tune your kick to the correct key but also to exhibit the dynamic behavior of a real drum. The two check boxes with music notes on them allow you to switch between musical notes or a more scientific, Hertz.
As if the DRY/WET control wasn’t enough to shape and sculpt that final output, BOOM library included the excellent EXPERT tab under which you’ll find a comprehensive set of controls to duck the signal being enhanced to the point, if you like, that you’re actually replacing that sound. Pretty useful for Sound Design and music production applications. Thanks to a much requested update, you can also now trigger all this bass synthesis with your MIDI keyboard in the 1.1 update.
“…trigger all this bass synthesis with your MIDI keyboard in the 1.1 update.”
The really clever part of all this though lies within the excellent library of presets provided, which guide you to the general area you need to be in to begin your sub bass skulduggery. Of course, drums is not what ENFORCER was designed primarily for.
It’s original purpose was to give percussive foley sounds that titanic, cinema thump. Things like an Army’s marching footsteps, someone being punched in the face or multiple gunshots. For either of these purposes though – production or post production, ENFORCER is the new king of Bass.
“…ENFORCER is the new king of Bass.”
Compatible on Mac OS 10.9 and above
VST, AU and AAX Native
Compatible on Windows 7 or Later
VST and AAX Native
.:Required Hard Disk Space:.
- Tiny HDD footprint
- Great presets
- Does exactly what it says
- Non-resizable GUI
- Would like to see more presets
- Presets not keyword Searchable
- Great presets
- Now MIDI Trigger-able
- Non-resizable GUI
- Presets not keyword Searchable
- Have to read the manual (!)