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. I’ve learnt from this article source that except the licence, documents like insurances and pollution check should be maintained by the new owner of the car. So, I briefed myself on stuff like this before showing it to anyone.

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 from whatever the best auto insurance companies you have in your area. 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 thoughts on “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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