crashing cars for a living

What to do with an old car that still goes, but the idea of it actually passing a warrant of fitness is less likely than discovering a perpetual motion engine in a junk store in Westport? I believe one of the best options is to donate it to a bunch of maniacal sound editors & let it become one with its particles as we smash the living daylights out of it!!

here is the ‘before’ photo, a donated Ford Telstar parked outside my old studio in Jessie Street – the front windscreen was already smashed but other than that it actually was quite driveable… Late the previous evening, when the city was quiet, i put a couple of mics inside the car & stomped around on the roof & got some great sounds until one of the neighbours woke up & asked me what the hell I was doing?!?

The first time we did this we had six sound recordists and a serious array of crow bars, hammers & axes. This time there were just four of us – we got access to the local landfill/rubbish dump after hours & spent the next three hours wreaking every kind of sonic havoc that we could muster. First up was reversing it into other car bodies & a huge pile of fridges and we got some massive metal impacts! Then we drove slowly into the other car bodys & recorded some fantastic metal scrapes – the kind that when heard in real life you just know the next phone call is to your insurance agent. Here is a video clip of reversing into fridges (hint, if you ever do this – reversing is better for recording car crash impacts for a start as it doesnt damage the engine)

And a few ‘car meets mountain of fridges’ sounds:

After we had tired of driving moves we decided to try & blow the motor up. A brick was found & placed on the accelerator & we stood back as the motor screamed its lungs out. After about ten minutes the entire exhaust & muffler were glowing red hot & the motor began to self oscillate in revs until it finally seized.

By this point the motor was VERY hot & we recorded some fantastic hot metal ‘tinks’ as it cooled

Next up we recorded puncturing the tyres with a sharp knife:

Followed by an array of axe & hammer impacts on the doors, bonnet & roof

Everyone went home physically exhausted.. and the following day we compiled all the various perspective recordings into a fantastic library that has been used in more than a few films since. Highly reccomended for the sound effects library (& for any residual violence/stress relief) and SO MUCH BETTER than the generic sound FX that you can buy in commercial librarys. They are also easier to find/remember when hunting through the many thousands of sound files in my library, simply because I was there and recorded it myself – every sound effect from that session is permanently imprinted in my brain, unlike generic library sound effect….

And here are a few of the ‘after’ photos”


2 Responses to crashing cars for a living

  1. Pingback: Designing Sound » More than 50 Articles/Tutorials about Sound Design, Film and Recording, Plus Wooshes Sound Desing

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