Just wondering if anyone knows where I can find some decent recordings of a variety of elephant movements & vocalizations. Looking through our library I see we have WWA, AT, & DIGI. We have a nature doc coming up in the next few weeks entirely about elephants, and I'm not entirely positive that we'll make it through with what we have.



Maybe get in touch with Ann Kroeber? Seems like the sort of thing she might have recordings of in abundance ;) Could be worth a shot!

  • No worries! Good luck :) – Andy Lewis Nov 15 '11 at 16:33

You could suprise them and use tie fighters

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    I don't have any of those in my fx library either. – Steve Urban Nov 16 '11 at 1:46

Be sure to check with the production company for any location sound recordings they may have from the shoot.

  • @Jay - Based on the time of year and the amount of time booked, I'm guessing this is a repackaged show cut together from multiple old shows. I hope I'm wrong in my assumptions and will certainly still check with the Post Sup, but lately there isn't any access to original location recordings. – Steve Urban Nov 16 '11 at 15:23

Also think about other sounds an elephant might make -- flapping its ears, blowing water from its trunk. These things can be designed on your own (e.g. flapping bed sheets), without needing to go out and record an elephant.


In contrast to how little sound they apparently make while walking, elephants have a pretty killer roar when unhappy - saw this video today and this was the first thread I thought of. Bone chilling.



Per the LOTR documentary on the Return of the King sound design, they said that elephants (even the big ones) walk around and are nearly silent. They went to go record some gigantic footsteps for the hour-and-a-half battle scene that has the evil elephants. So this little fact might help you out - no footsteps to cut! Yay.

Might be time to dust off the old trombone..

Good luck!

  • I'll try and work that angle ;) Thanks @Utopia – Steve Urban Nov 16 '11 at 15:25
  • @Steve Urban HAHA! I could see you sitting down in the mix room with the director and going on about "For this documentary, I wanted to use silence to lure the audience in. I used silence throughout the whole doc, it should really grab the attention of the listener and really knock their socks off with the PBS logo wipe at the end of the credits!" – Utopia Nov 16 '11 at 17:37

Like Utopia already said, the elephants doesn't really sound much when walking. Near well nothing at all actually, at least the ones I've seen at zoos here in Sweden. They have a very effective gelatinous cushion-sole under their feet with some pretty amazing shock absorbing properties! I actually got MUCH more interesting movements from cows...especially one humongous pointy psychopath who came to the conclusion my ass was grass & she could do with a snack... Jeez...

If you still wanna make a more Hollywood-esqu sound for their feet I'd say foley (much faster) or some creatively designed sound editing (more control) with excessive use of pitchshifting and bass-processing/LoAir is pretty much the only way, but as most people knows pretty well real elephants doesn't really make the ground tremble, I would probably solve this by gaffa-tapeing skin-cushions from sofas to my feet, or perhaps regular cushions wrapped with leather jackets and then duct-taped to my feet, recording at the nearest (undisturbed) crappily sustained lawn or earth-patch. Or, of course, in the studio if you have the possibility of real foley :-)

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