I found Red Dawn on Netflix the other week. I had actually never seen it before, so, given our theme, I thought I’d check it out. The idea of Soviet proxy forces attacking a high school in the middle of nowhere, USA, is about as ludicrous as the thought that the couple from Dirty Dancing would lead the resistance, but that’s Cold War paranoia for you. I thought it might make a good sound effects story though. In my version, Godzilla shows up to save the day, after a fashion. He was hibernating through most of the 80s, but if WWIII woke him up, he’d be on our side.
Most of this came from Freesound:
School bell.wav https://freesound.org/people/13FPanska_Stranska_Michaela/sounds/378394/
Chalk on chalkboard.wav https://freesound.org/people/Liefdier101/sounds/366615/
Kids in classroom https://freesound.org/people/laserlife/sounds/361400/
War sounds https://freesound.org/people/Dragout/sounds/150305/
Crowd in panic https://freesound.org/people/ienba/sounds/491405/
I found the Godzilla screech on Youtube. I brought him into the story mainly because he has such an iconic sound. To put this together, I needed school sounds and combat sounds, hence the bell, voices, chalkboard, helicopter and gunfire. I thought I should have some sort of building collapsing sound to go with Godzilla. I couldn’t find one I liked so I settled on the earthquake. After downloading everything, I imported all of them into Audacity. I went through each track and renamed them so it would be easier for me to edit. Then I arranged them vertically, from first sound to last, again for ease of editing. The import left them all starting at the beginning, so I had to move sounds horizontally on the timeline. I changed the View to Zoom->Normal (ease of editing again), and to move a sound, I highlighted it, cut it and pasted it in later in the timelime. I clipped some sound effects shorter and added some fade in and fade out effects to others. Level-wise, they sounded balanced enough on playback. I noticed the chalkboard sounds lasted longer then the rest. They were drowned out by all the commotion, and up by the top of the stack so I didn’t see it. So I ended up with the copters and gunfire and screaming and screeching and when it all died down, there was still someone calmly writing on the chalkboard. It was good for a laugh, but not what I was going for so I cut it shorter. Here’s what my Audacity screen looked like:
From there I exported to mp3 and uploaded to Soundcloud. Audacity automatically mixed it down to two tracks.
It was fun to do and I think it came out well. As I wrote this up, I was quite aware that the reason it went so smoothly had a lot to do with familiarity with the program. All those little things I did for ease of editing saved time and frustration, but that came from previous struggles.