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Hey Folks,

I'm working on a project where I need a lot of wood and metal creaking FX. Any suggestions? One colleague recommended going to Amish ship builders in Ohio where they are constantly bowing wood . . . but anything beyond the typical creaky hinge or squeaky door?

Thanks!

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i'd start looking mostly for textures and record at high sample rates, then you can use pitch shifting to manipulate size in post.

You're going to want props that are legitimately old and have loose internal fibers. I'd get some gloves and try looking at recent building demolitions, junk yards, those sort of places. Also, try the craigslist free sections. Sometimes furniture or other wood-based things show up there.

with regards to manipulation - think leverage. Don't be afraid to utilizes some levers and other tools to help with the bending and stressing - especially with metallic things. There are times when your own arm strength just won't be enough, even with small to medium sized props.

Another good way to get creaks is with friction. The right board at a 45 degree angle to another can do all kinds of crazy things.

man, now I want to do some. :)

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If you can get out of the city and onto open spaces or trails that go near or through farms, cow/livestock gates are incredible sources of metallic creaks. Any exterior wooden gate that's been exposed to the elements can often be super-creaktastic. Seasoned firewood can be pulled apart and sounds great when pitched down two octaves. Close-miking wicker chairs and baskets, with subsequent pitch-shifting, is super handy as well. Don't overlook the hackneyed but still awesome dry-ice-on-metal trick. Metal scraping on metal, like a shovel in a wheelbarrow or oil drum, can also be a good technique (as suggested by Rene, it's all in the angle). Heck, something as simple as a carpentry hammer's claw on the back of a shovel has given me good results in the past.

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Lots of old apartment buildings in Chicago have wood banisters in their main stairwell that date back 75 years. Lean on 'em and you can get some fantastic wood creaks. Not sure what area you're in but if there are old apartment buildings around, you might find some cool stuff.

  • +1 on old buildings. anything over 75 years old is going to be crawling with creaks. The problem is getting clean recordings sometimes, but with enough planning it can be done. – Rene Nov 11 '10 at 15:36
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I would get thinner planks of wood, set them on two bricks or something and step on them. That should give lots of wood squeaks, cracks, snaps. If it doesnt sound as beefy, try some pitch shifting.

Just my two cents.

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Take a trip to your local scrap yard. Car doors with different levels of decay can produce some wonderful metal creaks, as can trunks and bonnets. For the wood, old floorboards work wonderfully from an architectural salvage yard. You can attach hinges, preferably wonky and if you get the angle wrong even better as you will get really nice scraping noises.

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Some of my appliances doors have some nice creaks when they are stressed. I would try some stuff around your house. With a high enough bit and sample rate, you can get some serious sounds out of some really minor creaks.

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