let's say you have a scene and in the background someone closes a door. To go a bit futher, seconds later you hear a distant door shut down the hallway.
Do you always record (or choose from a library) the door close with an appropriate perspective or do you also take 'dry' rather closely miced door shuts and create the room using reverbs etc.?

Will you roughly divide your FX in categories such as close/medium/distant (and processing does the rest) or does the classification go much further so that you'll record nearly every distance you could ever need?

  • Somehow my 'Hello' got deleted and I can't edit my post. So once more: 'Hello everyone' Feb 18, 2015 at 2:25
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    Feb 18, 2015 at 13:16
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3 Answers 3


welcome to SD.

The slightly unhelpful answer is that it really depends on the sound. For the door example you give, a very close up perspective (like if you mic it 4 inches away) is going to need more done to it than a door recorded at a medium perspective for most uses. We get pretty used to listening to door closes at the distance we are from them when we use them, so this perspective is often the most useful for fitting into a scene. If the door is at the back of the room then you can eq and add reverb to taste. If the shot was a close up of a door closing then you may want to record something specially for it to get that full crisp sound, but it's not a situation that comes up too often.

As you may have seen in other libraries, sometimes you find particular sound effects recorded quite distant in specific acoustic spaces (some metal drops in a tunnel or bank vault door slams spring to mind?!). Sometimes these are great as they fit right in, but often the reverb is wrong and you need find a recording with less natural reverb. That said, if you are recording in an interesting location it's definitely worth grabbing some of that stuff.

So multiple perspectives and angles are good, but it's all a matter of time spent vs usefulness. Being thorough is good, but editing multiple perspectives which don't offer major differences is a waste of time and effort.

  • Thanks, that was not unhelpful at all. To clarify, apart from interesting locations and natural reverbs, recording at the distance we're used to hear the sound is the most 'important' (most versatile) perspective out of which multiple perspectives can more or less be created, apart from close-ups? For example, the door shut at around 2:16 from the following clip. I imagine it being about 4 yds back in the offscreen. Would you rather process a door shut recorded at 'natural' close distance or take one which already has a more distant character? youtube.com/watch?v=dvzhlcNesfA Feb 18, 2015 at 19:20
  • I would say most versatile, yes. As soon as you pull back natural reverb can clash. In that clip I would expect a medium close recording with a bit of reverb and maybe some eq to work fine. Having said that a recording further back from an office might be better, or there might be a good recording of that door somewhere in the location audio. Feb 18, 2015 at 20:20

That's a difficult one as so much depends upon context. Some things to consider for example might be timescale and budget. The simplest solution is to take a dry, proximal recording of a door and use some simple sound design to create the effect of a door closing in the distance - i.e. lower volume, less high frequencies, slightly wetter reverb that is suitable for the setting.

The importance of perspective would really come down to it's relevance to the scene and how much that sound helps to tell the story. If it just a case of background foley then the simple, quickest solution is the best. It will most likely get unnoticed. But if that sound is pertinent to the scene in question, and adds to how the story is told, then I would be out there looking for the perfect door in the perfect location...budget and timescale permitting, of course.

  • Thanks for your answer. I agree that the story the sound tells is the most important aspect. At the moment I'm studying some movies on which Ren Klyce did the sound and I love how there a constantly background sounds e.g. in a quiet office (House of Cards) or traffic/ neighbour noise (Girl with Dragon Tattoo) which create the atmosphere of the scene. Feb 26, 2015 at 21:25

Just to add to the above, I agree with what everyone has said but personally given the choice I would get the close "dry" recordings as it's obviously a lot easier to add perspective to a recording rather than take it away.

How you implement that perspective is perhaps another story, you can never replace real world acoustics so you might want to consider "worldizing" - a concept coined by Walter Murch where you play back your dry studio recording in an appropriate space and record the resulting acoustic characteristics of the sound in that space: http://filmsound.org/terminology/worldizing.htm. Essentially the same as recording on location but might allow for more experimentation at your own leisure.

Also another way of applying perspective might be to capture an impulse response of the location and apply via a convolution reverb. Particularly useful if the location has a unique acoustic. Logic Pro comes pre-packaged with an IR Utility that is pretty simple to use - a google search will show a number of tutorials and alternatives.

And finally, for an all in one distance fader try out a free plug-in called Proximity by Tokyo Dawn Labs. Coupled with a decent reverb it's very effective, particularly for foley. I always recommend it but I swear I'm not on commission! Whilst you're there, their Slick EQ and Feedback Compressor plugins are pretty awesome too.

  • Thank you! I especially like your tip that adding perspective is easier than taking away as this principle also translates to other fields (e.g. adding emotion fells easier than reducing emotion). Feb 26, 2015 at 21:30

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