I work on motion graphics, and have a project coming up with a lot of light elements and moving/flowing light streaks.

I've used wooshes before, layered with reverse bells and cymbals. Sometimes tried glass elements but rarely made that work, maybe doing it wrong or haven't found the right sample.

I've been using the same techniques and wanted to shake it up a bit and experiment from a different angle. Either different sources to start from, or effects to process through.

The feel of the upcoming project is positive, beautiful, and human achievement- nothing dark/haunting.

I'm thinking I might look into some synth sounds, something bright and crystal-like, but waiting on final music to see what I can match.

Any suggestions/tips?

4 Answers 4


Keep experimenting with different metal things. Metal objects with very clean magical like resonances aren't very common. You are probably looking for something long, not too thin and flat (or at least not a tube).

We have tons of metal objects at our studio, but one of them is above all others in this category - decorative barbarian sword :) It has very clean almost wineglass sounding resonance, but complex enough to not be just a simple sinewave like wineglass has. Scraping it's tip against flat surfaces (like laminated desk) gives great source for sounds like this.

  • Thanks! I don't have any metal to record on hand, but I pulled some samples I have and ran them through PaulStretch. Got some good gleam/shine sounds that would work great for some highlights, but lack a rounded and warm/positive tone. Maybe metal/glass would not work the best as a base due to it's cold nature? Mixing in with reverbs and exciters helped a little but need to take it a little more. Or maybe I still need to find something with enough complexity/resonance to work with. Maybe my samples were too limited in frequencies. What are some of effects you would try run it through?
    – EpicWizard
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 0:02


Try all kinds of sounds, then put an envelope on a high pass filter with a low(ish) initial value and a decay turning the filter up. You'll have to experiment a little. Try bandpass or notch filters.

I'd also suggest putting a reverb on it. Something very non-natural sounding, start with some plate reverbs, and go from there. Play with extreme settings

  • I don't think have a filter plugin that assigns envelopes controls- although I guess you can get something similar through automation. I'll have to take a look.
    – EpicWizard
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 22:26

I would like to add onto @sauli answer. I would experiment with different metal things as well and try it against different material deepening on the mood of the scene. I would also try make some type of dirt or something and lightly pour it over bells or chimes (you can find bells in the kid toys section of any department store) causing almost a musical element to it.

What is the feeling/emotion of the scene or what ever you are doing?


Some interesting ideas may lie in asian/oriental instruments such a tibetan bell or and I am not sure what they are called but 2 small metal circular objects on spring or light rope. Then hit then together and record using a bi-directional polar pattern and rotate the objects around the mic.

Also, wind chimes can be useful also rotating them around the mic.

For low toned streaks, I have used a plastic swimming pool tube around a metre in length and when you wave it around in a circular motion, it creates some really unique low and high sounds. Also, I find that when creating these kinds of sounds, you want something you can control when moving it and sustaining the sound.

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