We (I work at a premium car manufacturer, in development) always use black or grey Tesa Gaffer tape, the type that's almost fabric-like, rather than plasticy, with lots of fibers in both directions.
It doesn't tear off the paint, holds very well (I tested it up to 280 km/h, taping mics to the underside of cars etc) and leaves little to no residue.
If it ...
Besides the obvious answer of extinct animals. My first priority would probably be to record ambiences without the presence of human civilization. No cars and traffic, no aircraft, no electrical interference from cellular and radio...just pristine nature.
I once tried (very nervously) putting my zoom H2 in a plastic tupperware box and holding it in a bath of water. You can get a pretty convincing underwater ambience, and also if you run the taps at the same time and place the box in various positions around the bath - even under the taps - you can get some good watery rumbles. Word of warning; check the box ...
I found by quickly running the back of the fingers together (or more so the fleshy middle joint section below the nail) in a fast up/down movement made for a pretty cool insect flight sound when pitched up and octave. Perform a few 'pass bys' at the microphone for added variety!
For the more close-up crackling sound, get your hands on some styrofoam peanuts and a very quiet mic/room. Crank up the gain and gather a couple handfulls. Very slowly squeeze and release the bunches of peanuts — it creates a surprisingly realistic mimicry of the crackle and creak of ice. HERE is a sample. It's relatively untreated, but you could play with ...
Could you pump a watermelon full of air until it explodes or at least cracks? That might be a good layer of sound to throw in there. Hm. Going to have to get out the foot pump and go to the market tomorrow.
I used a box of fruity pebbles and a wood plank to make a scifi grain sound for a logo design last week. good times!
I think I'm going to do a mentos-diet coke record session sometime in the future as well.
Blow (gently) directly into your microphone.
Roll off the high-end.
No synths, no fancy jiggery-pokery.
If you're worried about ruining a nice condenser, try it with an SM57 with the cap pulled off.
You could also try dragging the 57 along the ground. The rougher the better.
Templates, templates, templates
Know your hot keys front and back
To do the above, practice, practice, practice so it becomes muscle memory
As George said, organize your workflow into jobs, passes, or procedures - scattered workflow is the quickest way to get gummed up - in it's most simply form, do all editorial together as one, and do all mixing/processing ...
Typically, I'll drop a marker and keep moving forward. On most projects that I'm on I don't have the luxury of spending hours on a specific sequence, let alone a particular effect. If it's not coming to me fluidly at that moment, I keep making progress on the rest of the project. Eventually something, a clip down the timeline, a phone call, a daydream, ...
I know: using a violin bow ain't something new, but when I bowed the ironing board of my flatmate some real nice sounds came out of it:
and one thing I still want to build and record is the "jam jar jet"
My approach to this would be:
Search for appropriate elevator sounds. Maybe you will find the perfect sound with everything you need in a library. If you do, then great. If not...
Consider finding an elevator to record. There are still plenty of elevators like that around (at least here in the UK) if you know where to look. Hotels, restaurants and shops ...
For the sound of dog I actually normally just use a kind of heavy-duty gloves I've epoxy-glued paper-clips on. I was gonna try other things as well when it was still just gaffed on, like pieces of horn and different types of wood, but truth be told I found this configuration to be absolutely spot-on for what I needed instantly!
For the sense of weight, I've ...
Business Cards? Post-It Notes? Credit/plastic cards? These are just some ideas, but it also depends upon the action required. Break away from the literal sound playing cards make and think of textures and frequency variances. All the above props offer different tonality, brittleness, frequency characteristics. It's the juxtaposing of various carefully-...
depends on what the moves are.
if they're of shuffling, dealing, etc you may want to bring someone in that's had a lot of experience doing those things. card moves can sound dramatically different in the hands of a pro vs in the hands of an amateur.
As for the horse, you can watch a top artist doing it here.
The dryer, why not record a real dryer drum. Just open one up and spin by hand. I've done this before. Sweeten it with the metal box idea. Usually the simplest idea is the best.
Laser beam...you should probably do something that no one suggests...that way it's original :) Old school method would ...
The basic principle is called double tracking. You can read a good introductory article here: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr09/articles/doubletracking.htm
In the first example there is pitch difference and a strong spatial element being applied.
Well they are harsh sounds...
First make sure that what you do as step number one is to control the source, change material (paper/board type, different pen or chalk etc) until you get a sound you really like.
Authenticity is rarely important, fake it!
Second, mic choice can go a long way, try a dynamic mic. Stay away from regular dialog/boom mics, use ...
To get rid of harshness at recording try the following:
Record with a distance. Rarely do we hear a paper get torn from a distance of 20-30 cm. More so 50cm+++
Go off axis. This will get rid of directional and thus high frequency material a bit.
Try DeEssers or Multiband Compressors to get rid of peaks in the 4000 and 8000 Hz region
Use dynamic mics instead ...
It depends. If I know for sure there are no way anyone would see me, and I'm in my own studio - tee and boxers. In extreme cases also a thick Palestinian scarf (textured with skulls and crossbones for that extra audio push!) covering my mouth and nose to further reduce the risk of accidental breaths or such.
But mostly I use a tee washed with a lot of ...
Usually the smaller more intimate sounds will provide the detail, so you'll have those larger, slower, heavier wave sounds as the body and you can provide movement and texture and detail with smaller splashes, sprays etc mixed in.
Drop a melon or a watermelon off a 2 story house to concrete.
Cut one almost in half before you throw it so it gets broken more upon impact.
Or just save your money and time and the harm of innocent fruits and buy Vegetable Violence from Tim Prebble's Hiss and a Roar company.
I agree with the other answers from Andy and Benjie for the use of fruit and twigs etc.
Also, ask yourself what stylistic approach you want/need to take for the scene. Do you want a 'realistic' sound or something more comedic? etc.
For a comedic or cartoon approach sounds of inflation from a pump and balloon, coupled with a balloon pop and a bit of light ...
Haven't tried myself yet but I wonder how it would be like if you tape a contact mic to your stomach and record those noises, even though you have to pressure the mic in order to get response.
Also, if you bury a hydro mic in the ground and jump over it you get great lower sounds.
Great suggestions above! Nice topic!