Ultimate Snow 2 HD Professional Sound Effects Library is a reissue of Snowfall HD and Snowballs HD Ultra together in one collection with a few new sounds included. Recorded over the 2010-2011 winter season here in beautiful North Idaho, this 24-bit 96kHz collection contains 94 multi-take Broadcast WAV files totaling 425 individual snow sounds.
There are a wide variety of snow falling sounds recorded in some seriously freezing weather conditions. I recorded dozens of takes of snow falling off trees, numerous powder snow impacts and granular snow debris drops off my back porch. My porch has a 20 foot height so the snow had plenty of time to disperse and impact on the ground in a very graceful way.
I also fired up the John Deere tractor and dumped massive chunks of snow from the bucket with the engine off. They were quite frozen and when they hit the ground they burst into a million pieces.
The snowball sound effects were captured in many types of snow conditions. Wet, dry, normal cold and extremely frigid snowballs were dropped, hit, kicked, rolled, slid, rubbed, scraped and crushed along with very big chunks of snow dropped from my trusty JD tractor.
Highlights include: Large heavy snowball impacts, movements on very dry cold snow pack and falling down snowbanks. Some of the intense tension rubs and squeaks make for perfect avalanche and snow glaciers breaking apart. Medium and small snowballs are also included and round out this diverse collection of snowball effects.
Sound Devices 702 – Sanken CSS-5 – Sennheiser MKH-416 – Audio Technica AT-835ST – JD Tractor
|Format||Stereo/Mono BWAV – 24bit, 96kHz | Mac-Windows|
|Available As||Download Only|
|PDF Sound List||XLS Sound List|
One of the things I’ve always wanted to record was the sound of the snow falling off the towering Fir trees here in North Idaho. For the last 15 years I’ve tried many times but the conditions were always terrible. There was usually too much wind or the trees were wet and dripping or it was just plain impossible to get clean recordings. Over this past Thanksgiving weekend the conditions were perfect. Over a 3 day period 18 inches of snow had fallen, it was really cold and there was no wind to speak off. Now all I had to do was figure a way to get the snow to fall off the trees.
Recording and Mastering The Snowballs
First, a little background and set up on how I made the giant snowballs used in this snow sound effects library.
North Idaho gets quite a bit of snow in general. Some years more than others and this last year was one for the record books. I had a sense at the beginning that lots of snow was going to fall so I prepared massive snowbanks in my yard with my JD tractor. I piled it up high. One of the things I did not plan on was the six long weeks of bitter cold that started in mid December of 2010. This worked to my advantage though as I was able to carve out massive chunks of snow from these snowbanks I had built with the tractor. Once on the snow cover ground I could have my way with them. These snowballs were so frozen and light they could be picked up with one hand and thrown all over the yard. So, that’s what I did for six weeks in brutally cold sub-zero temperatures.
Wandering Around With the Microphone
I recorded this library at 192K with a Sennheiser MKH-416 and a Sanken CSS-5. After a few test sessions with each microphone I decided to use the MKH-416 for most of the recording session Because it has a nice bright top end and it’s light weight and easy to carry around. I used the CSS-5 for the large drops from the JD tractor and for some smaller snowballs thrown off my deck onto soft powder snow. 90 percent of the library is me holding the MKH-416 in one hand and making the snowball actions with the other. I did use a mic stand for some of the heavier snowballs and recorded from different distances.
One of the aspects I like about the MKH-416 for this type of material is the proximity effect it has when close in. I did a lot of experimenting with distance to the snowball and performed movement and dropping actions with the mic between 3 inches away and 18 inches away. I just kept on making snowball impacts and slides until I got some takes with some good thump. One of the coolest sets of sounds I got was just tipping the snowball on it’s pointed end back and forth as it rubbed and squeaked against the cold had snow pack. It was so cold that the tension between the snowball and the ground was really amazing and made for some strange aggressive stretching like sounds. Every now and then it would slip from my grip and fall over with a good beefy impact. Sometimes it would bounce and rock back and forth for some other interesting sounds. I would also spin large snowballs in place for some long snow grinding effects that simulated a snow slide and at other times I would push the snowball across the driveway. Thank god I don’t have any video Because I think I looked fairly ridiculous.
I spent a fair amount of time kicking and breaking apart the frozen solid snowbanks. I would climb up to the top and break off sections and record the debris falling down the side of the slope. I had piled up the snow 12 feet and higher and the back side faced down a hill so I had a nice long slide area. While I was recording I imagined that the snow was really huge and pitched down like a avalanche. I tried to perform with this in mind so I could get some useful material for that kind of sound design. I also wanted to get some great breaks and snaps to simulate a massive ice shelf falling apart.
Editing, Mastering and Final Delivery
The sounds in this library are very natural. I tried not to use any equalization or compression. The only time I used any processing was if there was a weird background tone or rumble that I though was distracting. Some mild limiting was used to level out the peaks and make things consistent. For the most part though, here in quiet North Idaho I get very clean recordings. The occasional car pass by and distant train horn just had to be waited out which was tough sometimes Because it was really cold for most of the sessions and my hands would get numb.
This is the first library I’ve released with multiple takes in one wav file. I have always preferred single file sound effects and still do but this library has so many variations per action that I though I would give this method a try and see how it is received. So far I like it for this kind of library. I do have a version of the library that has the sounds separated out so if anyone wants that version feel free to let me know and I can get it to you. -Frank
All Images and Sounds Copyright 2011 Frank Bry – Creative Sound Design, LLC. All Rights Reserved.