The First Crowd Sourced Sound FX Library

What were you doing back in 2010?
While crowd sourced projects are quite common now, back in 2010 they were unheard of.
Late 2009 Kickstarter had launched and the idea of crowd sourced funding was gaining some momentum. Back then there were very few sound/field recording blogs or online sound resources at all, but a small community had developed around my MUSICofSOUND blog and I came up with the idea of us all collaborating on a group field recording project.

The subject: DOORS!

Door sound effects can be the bane of a sound editors existence. Nothing pulls me out of a film faster than an inappropriate sound effect. Back in the days of CD sound libraries, there had been a number of very lightweight door sounds made available in a commercial CD sound library that just sounded wrong to me – they sounded more like fake doors from a film set, rather than an important strucrual element of a house or building. And yet I kept hearing them used, again and again. I had always aimed to record doors for the films I worked on, and was always surprised how easy sound editing is when you have the right source material. But if you don’t, it can be a frustrating exercise.

After much discussion we put together a recording list for THE DOORS, along with naming convention and a resolution of 24/96. With a deadline of August 31st 2010 as the final upload deadline, a total of 67 recordists scattered across the planet set to work.

The resulting library totalled 121GB and 5,241 files, but I was completely stumped as to how to deliver a copy to each contributor. Back in 2010 the Internet was not fast enough or reliable enough to delivery over 100GB of data. And downloads were charged per MB, so it would get expensive fast, with 66 people downloading 121GB each! Eventually I resorted to this:

I divided the recordists into lists based on what region of the world they lived in. And then I created six copies of the library on hard drives, packed them up and sent them off. Each recordist would receive the HD, copy the contents and then contact the next person on their regions list, to arrange passing the HD to them. And despite my concerns the process worked perfectly, and a few months later everyone had their own copy.

I considered options of releasing the library as a group project but in the end decided not to, for some very simple reasons. First was that the size of the library was still an issue for delivery. Second was that I did not want to spend my time accounting to a large group of people. And third was due to my R&D and development work with HISSandaROAR.

The project ended up a great success, and the library has been an incredibly useful asset, not only for DOOR sound effects but also all the other sounds associated with them: door knocks, creaky hinges, impacts, latches, chains, locks etc…

Here in 2023 looking through the list of recordists from 13 years ago, it is also fascinating to see what people are doing now. It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that as far as I know everyone is still working with sound and doing excellent work, as this was a group of self motivated, creative and skilled people who were open collaborators in a project that seemed impossible. Until it wasn’t!

So if you were one of the contributors, I hereby raise a glass to you!
Kanpai!

THE DOORS Contributors, sorted by hard drive x snail mail :

HD1 (NZ/Australia) – BEN SINCLAIR – AGE PRYOR – DAVID WALSH – MICHAEL TORNABENE – TOM HEUZENROEDER

HD2 (USA/Canada) – MICHAEL RAPHAEL – ALEX NOYES – GREG SEXTRO – JOEL RAABE – MATT HAUSER+OWEN O’NEILL – BILLY M WIRASNIK – COLIN BIRNEY – MATT R SHERMAN – MICHEL MARCHANT – JOHN LORANGER – MATT SHERMAN

HD3 (USA/Canada) – CHARLES MAYNES – CHRIS M JACOBSON – GARY MEGREGIAN – RYAN COTA – LAWRENCE EVERSON – JEFFREY PITTS – TIM WALSTON – MIKE NIEDERQUELL – LUKE WILLIAM GILBERT – BRENDAN HOGAN – JEAN-EDOUARD MICLOT

HD4 (USA) – ZACHARY QUARLES – RENE CORONADO – DAVID BONDELEVITCH – GRANT JOHNSON – TOHM JUDSON – SHAUN FARLEY – STEVE URBAN – PATRICK CAMPBELL – MIGUEL ISAZA

HD5 (EU) – THIERRY DE VRIES – DAVID VRANKEN – THOMAS VERTONGEN – TOM VAN HAM – ARNOUD TRAA – MAX FRICK – SEBASTIAN POHLE – TILMAN HAHN & LUIZ MELO – EMIL KLOTZSCH – GREGOR ARNOLD – ALASTAIR SIRKETT – ANDREW QUINN – BERNARD OREILLY – ENOS DESJARDINS – KEIR DOHERTY – RAOUL BRAND – ROBIN PARMAR – ANDREA DAMIANO – DAVIDE FAVARGIOTTI – PETER MEMMER

HD6 (EU) – PETER ALBRECHTSEN – MIKKEL NIELSEN – FREDRIC VOGEL – THOMAS ALF HOLMEMO – ERIK GUSTAVSSON – CALLE LEPPÄJOKI – MICHAL FOJCIK – MICHAELA PATRIKOVA

Kanpai!

 

 

 

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