Editing Episode 18 - Bangy But Disappointing

Well, now, here’s a novelty. It was only last month that I was opining – yet again – about Science Brian and his sound effects. But not to worry, I thought, because Episode 18 is an Action Dan episode. His sound effects are always lovely. And then this happened:

Script snippet: SOUND: AROUND 239 CHEAP NOVELTY CRACKERS ALL GOING OFF, BANGY BUT DISAPPOINTING

That Science Brian is such a bad influence

Still, no problem, I thought. All I have to do is find a ‘Christmas cracker’ sound effect from Freesound, multiply it up a few times, and bingo. Or bango. But then…

Freesound.org search results page showing "no results" after a search for "christmas cracker".

Nooooooooooooo

But… I… but… what?! There are thousands, if not millions, of sounds on there. And yet no one has thought to upload the characteristic ‘snap’ of a Christmas cracker? Then, a thought occurs. One quick Wikitextbook search later and I discovered that they don’t have crackers in America.* So that would explain it then: like many places on the internet, Freesound is dominated by contributors from the USA.

Right, so what to do next? Well, the Wiki article also included this phrase:

The split is accompanied by a mild bang or snapping sound produced by the effect of friction on a shock-sensitive, chemically-impregnated card strip (similar to that used in a cap gun)

As with just about any sentence on Wikitextbook, you can ignore 93.5% of this one. The important bit is ‘cap gun’. Surely they have those in America? And indeed they do. Sixty-nine of them. On Freesound, anyway.

So, I have a ‘snap’ noise. Now I just need 239 of them. As usual, this was done using Audacity, layering the sounds up bit by bit. Firstly three snaps, one after the other. Then those original three are copied and pasted in a new track, slighly offset against the original three. So that’s six. Then those six copied and pasted and offset against the first six. And another six. So now we have 18. Then we take those 18, add them to the end of the first 18, to give 36. Then offset those 36 on a new track against the first 36, and… well, you get the idea. In the end we have 236 snaps in one massive 2.085-second burst, followed by three more, “going off individually at the end” (see, I did read the brief…). Grand total, 239.

Was I happy with the final effect? Well… no, not entirely. There’s something a bit too ‘electronic’ about it, unfortunately. I did throw in some ‘crumpling paper’ as well, but that was lost in the final mix. Still, hopefully it gets the general idea across. All I have to do now is introduce cheap novelty crackers to the USA in time for next Christmas. Perhaps I should open a shop…


*I also learned that Christmas crackers were originally known as ‘cracker bon-bons’. So there you go.

Share this on...

2 thoughts on Editing Episode 18 - Bangy But Disappointing

  1. Shim

    It sounded about right to me… maybe the problem was that the noises were too similar, and you got an effect like visible tiling in games?

    So thinking about this reminded me of an article about the Cicada Principle, and I wondered whether that could be applied in audio. This article is relevant: http://www.sitepoint.com/the-cicada-principle-and-why-it-matters-to-web-designers/

    Perhaps this as applied to audio sampling would be useful for your sound effects? I might tinker with it, if I don’t get distracted first.

  2. Producer Dan

    Very interesting. Next time I need to layer sound effects I shall come back here and see what can be done.

    Thanks for stopping by :-)

Add your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *