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Ive just started on a film featuring a old man who builds models. And they move. :) Some manually driven by strings and turning wheels, some electric and some mechanical. Great fun! But with limited time I wonder if anyone else has done stuff like this before? Cheating full on is not what I want, I can give it to my foley guys and they will make it move, but I want to do it the perfect way, ie my way :).

So I need to build a few model parts, to generate some sound. Where the heck do I start?

Suggestions on both how to do it or where to find stuff welcome. I'll start with scrounging my two local thrift stores for stuff to dismantle. I'm thinking old typewriters, stuff with less than perfect bearings etc. This will generate a shitload of trash when I'm done.

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If you have any prop/costume friends, ask them where they source their materials. Hopefully that can recommend a recycled art materials store in your area. Plus you can just donate the materials back once you're done with them, so you won't have a pile of rubbish when you're finished. If you happen to be in Australia, there's these two I can recommend: http://www.reversearttruck.com.au/ and http://www.reversegarbage.com.au/

If time is short you may want to buy some sound libraries to add to your recordings. The following may suit:

http://echocollectivefx.com/wordpress/collections

http://hissandaroar.com/sd006-tortured-piano/

http://rabbitearsaudio.com/rea009-antique-engines/

http://rabbitearsaudio.com/rea004-metal-machines/

http://rabbitearsaudio.com/rea002-small-motors/

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    the next Tonsturm library looks like it might be useful too vimeo.com/38446770 – user49 Mar 16 '12 at 19:45
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Are there any horology schools or similar (clock making) places near you? Might be worth seeing if they'd let you in to record some mechanisms and intricate workings for a few hours ;)

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Thrift/Second hand stores are definitely the right direction to go for this. Perhaps carboot sales as well? You may find that broken or incorrectly working mechanisms on clocks, toys and other similar items may produce more interesting and unique sounds, something that you could then mix with fully working mechanisms to give the appearance of full function but with added 'character'.

Another place to search for such things would be eBay as there's always something like these items going, even not in fully working condition being sold for spares/repairs.

Have you heard of Mechano? Simply put it's like Lego with metal but has nuts and screws. These normally feature motors etc which may be useful. You could also manipulate the metal (e.g. rubbing two pieces past each other that are joined together via a mediumly tightened nut and screw) to get some 'one-shot' style samples that you could than build mechanism sounds from in a DAW.

At the end of the project don't think of it as trash, think of it as future source material!

Good Luck!

  • oh I wouldnt ever consider the sounds as trash, just the physical remains of my experiments... – ErikG Mar 18 '12 at 19:12
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    Sorry Erik, I was actually on about the phsyical remains! :D You never know how you could use them in the future for sound design etc. Maybe record yourself destoying them? But if you haven't got room for them and you feel that you've got all the sounds you can out of them then I guess you could throw them away or donate them to charity or something? – Alan Pring Mar 19 '12 at 11:58
  • I didn't actually think about meccano. I'll see if I can find some used, at the mOment it seems like its almost fallen out of fashion here, but I think my son aged eleven and an avid Lego fan would like to keep it after I'm done:) – ErikG Apr 1 '12 at 17:39
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