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Hi guys,

I'm working on a short film at the moment in which one of the characters falls of a skateboar and cracks his head open. The lead in sounds of the skateboard work, wheel screech, a gravel crucnch, though I am having trouble 'cracking his head open' (on concrete) naturally. Although we don't see what happens, the DIrector has specified he wants to hear the sound very close.

I have tried combining a cocunut break with rock melon and water melon cracks, but having no success

Has anyone tried to create a similar effect in the past? Or can point me in the right direction of where to find a pre-made effect (as always, time is of the essence, project deadline is monday)

Many thanks in advance

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Although your description seems pretty specific, it also leaves a lot of questions that might give clues as to what your head crack should sound like. For example, what genre is this film? If it's horror, I'd assume there's going to be a lot of blood during this scene and it's probably going to sound larger than life. If it's a mockumentary or something along those lines, it would likely be a lot more understated.

Using coconuts, watermelon, etc. seems a likely bet but if that's not working, try other types of impacts - rolled up newspaper, wood cracks, slab of meat, eggs, carrots, celery. Try sorting through your sound effects library (since you're new and might not have one yet, look into getting a library - Hollywood Edge, SFX Bible, Blastwave, etc. have a ton of generic sound effects that could be useful).

On the topic of making this skull crack "larger than life", try adding in some heavy bass thumps, heavy body-falls, kicks, explosions, thunder cracks, etc. Try beefing up your sound with a low end enhancer (Waves' Lo Air, MH's Thump) or adding some distortion to really exaggerate the intensity of this moment in the film.

Good luck.

  • Thanks for the suggestions Bryce. Didn't quite get a good sound in the end, but certainly appreciate the help. Will be a sound I'll be working on in my spare time, the bodyt thunmps however did beef it up... – Beaks Jan 9 '13 at 12:23
  • You're welcome. I find sound editing to be very much a trial-and-error process. Sometimes you try something that doesn't work, so then you try something else. Even if what you're doing isn't working, hopefully you learn something from the process. I know I still have plenty to learn but am happy to experiment. – Bryce Raffle Sound Jan 9 '13 at 18:38
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As Bryce said, the answer is layers. Its not working...yet. Beef it up, fill it out. Think frequency ranges - are all your bases covered or is it thin in some places? And once your done go back and see if there are any sounds that you don't need now that you've added a bunch more, which will help with keeping it from getting "muddy". Lastly, be really picky about lining up your initial transients - even a couple frames of difference can make a crack into something more thunky. Good luck!

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Sounds like you are on the right path. Maybe layering those wet crunchy sounds with an impact sound like a bat crack pitched down, and adding a low body hit impact sound, like punch effects.

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hi there, Try using celery, I've heard it works well for punches

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Have you tried using wood yet? The deeper you want the sound the thicker the wood. Use an axe to start the process and then when you are ready to record use your hands for a brief crack.

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    Cheers Iain, wouldn't have thought of this, but something to think about for next time – Beaks Jan 9 '13 at 12:24

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