the doors

OK!!! We’ve got 114 recordists onboard now – this is going to be an awesome library! Heres my record list, please comment with any suggestions/alterations – I’ll edit this document to update it with peoples suggestions and improvements so it becomes a master document… Especially thoughts on naming conventions?


A photo of each door MUST be included (JPG pref 800 x 600) plus I’d like to know where (city & country) the doors were recorded..

1. DOOR interior close perspective: open and close – soft, medium, hard/slam
2. DOOR interior wide perspective: open and close – soft, medium, hard/slam

If the door is an exterior door ie the front door of a house:
3. DOOR exterior close perspective: open and close – soft, medium, hard/slam

4. DOOR close perspective: handle grab, lock, unlock

5. DOOR close perspective: creak, hinge squeak, movement
6. DOOR close perspective: door knocks and/or doorbell

Anything goes, but I’d like each person to contribute at least a few normal domestic house or apartment doors – they may seem boring to you but they can be essential for a normal dialogue scene in a film. Cupboards and smaller doors can also be included, along with character doors eg school, hospital, electric, garage, caravan, trailer, sheds, castles etc…

– 24 bit 96k
– stereo (if possible)

ADDITIONAL NOTES: (these notes are for any inexperienced recordists)
– Leave 1 second of quiet or more between each action (for reverb tail and clean edit points)
– if recording where bg ambience is present (eg exterior) leave 5+ seconds between actions
– Do not max out your recording levels, or normalise files when editing
– It can be a challenge to cleanly record door slams: good practice!

Deliver me one stereo 24 bit 96kHz file for each door containing all of the above actions, in the form of split stereo .WAV files:

Where name is:

DOOR [building] [door type] [material] [INT or EXT] [actions] [recordist initials]


DOOR Airport electric EXT open close TP
DOOR Apartment wood EXT open close lock TP
DOOR House front wood glass EXT open close doorbell knocks lock TP
DOOR House bathroom wood INT open close creak TP
DOOR House kitchen cupboard wood INT open close creak TP
DOOR Shed hinge creak EXT open close TP

I’d appreciate you entering as much descriptive metadata as possible. I prefer not to invest energy in program specific metadata which other programs cannot access. If only Basehead or SoundMiner can read it then its too proprietry for my tastes… In my tests the only metadata entry I did that could be read in ALL the apps I tested, was via Protools Workspace data entry, but I’m open to discussion about this. Once everyone is in agreement about this I’ll write a blog post here explaining the methodology – anyone who doesn’t have access to ProTools can let me know when they upload and I’ll tag their files (but I’d rather watch paint dry!)

I have worked out a scenario for the release of the library that I will email to each of the contributers – there are two aspects to it:

1. The people who record & contribute the sounds should be rewarded for their work, both in receiving a free copy of the finished library but also in other ways which i will elaborate on in the email.

2. Other people should be able to buy the library, but not get it for free (otherwise it means any of you could do nothing & receive the same benefits as those who do all the work, which isn’t fair)

So I will send an email outlining the exact details of this proposal, and if you are in agreement I will then send you a formal document so our agreement is official BEFORE any work is done or any files are uploaded.

I’ll then also set up an ftp account for uploading your finished, edited files & will email you login details once we are all in agreement about proceedings…

When you upload files I’ll also ask you to include the name you want credited as and I’m happy to embed a link with your name…

Also have set DEADLINE for ftp upload as June 12th

Please comment on this post with any changes to the record list or process/metadata etc… If anything is confusing or doesn’t make sense please ask!

74 thoughts on “THE DOORS – RECORD LIST

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Music of Sound » THE DOORS – RECORD LIST --

    1. tim Post author

      Timeframe is good – maybe a month?
      We won’t be making another doors library any time soon so its worth everyone having time to get their recording done & then have time to prep the files, which takes longer than you might think!

    2. tim Post author

      How about deadline for ftp upload of June 12th?

      I have a week off between films from then, so will have time to do the quality control & compilation then….

  2. tohm

    sounds great tim, this is going to be fun! Please be sure to give us plenty of time on this one… just in the last few days I heard tons of doors I would love to record. Two weeks maybe?

    As far as naming, would you also like material? I am thinking:


    Might help, but may not be necessary.

    1. Shaun F

      this WILL be fun. i love projects involving massive numbers of people. there’s always so many interesting things that come out of them.

      material types might make the names a little long/unwieldy, but that would be excellent material for the files’ metadata. i’d argue that if you have pro tools, use the workspace window as tim suggested; but if not, then provide that extra data somehow (either in the file name or as a separate text document).

      tim, any preference on types of microphones used? i.e. shotguns, stereo, m/s; i’ve got any number of them that i could use for stereo configurations. i’ve got some nice holophones too. lol ;p

      1. tim Post author

        re mics
        Stereo would be great, especially capturing the wide perspective/interior acoustics… We like shotgun mics… Oh man holophone! I’d looooove to own one of them!

    2. tim Post author

      Would it be safe to presume most doors are wood, and therefore only list non-wood attributes? its definitiely important eg if looking for doors with glass in them

      Actually no, we should specify for all, so that can go find “DOOR wood” and only get the wood doors – will update post with this

    1. tim Post author

      Have added you to database… suspect you might be the last one, other than a few people that I know that I’ve contacted & am waiting to hear back from….

  3. tim Post author

    Ok I have just emailed everyone on the recordist list with the rewards scenario – if you didnt get the email please let me know!

    1. Steve

      It missed my inbox, can you resend? Oh, DOH! I see what happened, combined two email addresses, mailbox of one with the domain of another. Too many inboxes, typing too fast.

  4. JP Neufeld

    I was just wondering if there was a program besides Protools that I could use to enter the appropriate metadata. There aren’t any free alternatives, are there?

  5. Mike R.

    I’d like a month to give me plenty of time to get the kids out of the house for a recording session.

    Also, I’d be recording M-S stereo – is it useful to differentiate between M-S and X/Y on the paperwork? (not sure it would serve any purpose but thought I’d ask)

    Also, perhaps purely academic, is there any interest in what equipment has been used for the recordings?

  6. Glenn

    Might be nice to have door knocks from both sides of the door (i.e. Same side knock and “through” the door knock. Yes?


  7. Raoul Brand

    I’m looking forward to this, will be traveling quite a bit in the next few weeks and should be able to contribute German, English and Irish doors. I’ve got a version of Pro Tools LE with my MBox but not used it much. Is it quite straightforward to enter the metadata?

    1. tim Post author

      It is very, very easy – don’t worry I’ll make a little tutorial here in a week or so…

  8. Erik G

    Nice! Cant wait for the tutorial!

    Tim: can you mail the tutorial when its the final so we know exactly how we shall record? =)

    / Erik G

    1. tim Post author

      the tutorial is for entering metadata…. But I will email out the final record list etc once I have confirmation back from everyone….

  9. Julian K

    Great idea Tim.

    I’m a new member on board and keen to contribute to the doors library. Your blog is amazing! I find myself discovering something new, creative and interesting every time i read through your archives or the current posts.

    Love your work.


  10. cjguitar

    A couple of questions:

    1. What kind of distances are you talking about when recording close/wide?

    2. How many takes of each variation are you looking for? I think it would be good to get at least 3-5 takes of each variation (say 5 int door open/close soft, etc).

    3. Do we deliver a different file for each variation, or put all variations, knocks, and creaks for each door in one file.

    1. tim Post author

      1. Close up = within 1 metre
      Wide perspective depends on location eg from other side of room, or from end of hallway – aim si to capture natural acoustic

      2. I think 5 takes of each

      3. One file per door including all actions with that door

  11. Mike R.

    Re-reading the filespec, I’m confused as to whether you want poly or non-poly files:

    Deliver me one stereo 24 bit 96kHz file for each door containing all of the above actions, in the form of split stereo .WAV files:
    DOOR name.WAV.L
    DOOR name.WAV.R

    You want single stereo file (poly) then list a separate L and R WAV file … which would be two separate files? I’m sure I am misunderstanding …

    1. Tim Walston

      I think he means one stereo recorded sound file for each door, i.e. all opens closes, interior and exterior takes will be edited into one long file. The actual delivery of said file should be split stereo WAV, not interleaved. That’s how I read it anyway…

      1. tim Post author

        Thats correct – one (split stereo) file per door

        otherwise we end up with 25 x 1000 doors = 25,000 files!

  12. tim Post author

    Apologies – this blog was offline for an hour or so just now… corrupt plugin – grrrrrrr…….

  13. Frank

    What about the levels of the recordings; should they all be normalized to a certain level, or do we just keep them as they are?

    1. tim Post author

      It depends on the action…

      a loud door slam should go up to approx 90% full scale

      a normal door open should be 50-70% full scale

      a normal door handle grab would be relatively quieter…

      there should be normal relative dynamics between the takes
      ie don’t go normalising a quiet door handle grab so that its the same peak level as a door slam!

  14. matt L

    clarification: we want more than one example of each perspective, right?

    “1. DOOR interior close perspective: open and close – soft, medium, hard/slam”

    could read:
    “1. DOOR interior close perspective: open and close – soft (x3), medium(x3), hard/slam(x3)”

    – or perhaps a x5 would be better? scenes with the same door opening multiple times isn’t uncommon.

  15. Davide Favargiotti

    a month should be the right timeframe.
    maybe could be useful to have an audio file of one door recording as an example (level, takes order, metadata and file naming, etc)

      1. Steve

        Tim, I too had declared my interest to join the project in the comments on the first post, but have not received anything. Can I still join in?

  16. Dave Whitehead

    Just to throw it out there. If was recording doors for myself I’d be more likely to use two different mics recording the same source

    e.g. maybe a DPA 8020 attached to the door and a Sennhesier 8050 wider.

    Do you want matched mic stereo recordings or is this type of variable mic setup OK? Perhaps in that scenario the filename could be A and B or something like that, rather than .L and .R?

    What do you think?

  17. Gregor Arnold

    I will probably record using my M/S-Setup. Do you want the final file to be decoded, because possibly it would be to confusing for the “end user” to check every file in the library for every aspect? Or do you want them to be delivered as they are, leaving the decoding i.e. the stereo width up to the final user of the sound? (If it’s up to me, I always keep my M/S-recordings in my library as they are)

    1. tim Post author

      There are going to be a variety of recording techniques & methods so I guess leave them undecoded…. People can always ignore the S aspect & just use the mono channel if they dont use MS

      1. Max

        Tim, why not decode it to normal stereo, the end user can always encode it back to MS (to change width or something) by using a free tool like Tom Erbes Matrix if needed.

  18. robin

    Great project! But I need a couple of clarifications.

    1. “Thats correct – one (split stereo) file per door”

    I am confused then by the naming conventions. If both channels are in one file how can there be files named “DOOR name.WAV.L” and “DOOR name.WAV.R” as specified?

    2. Do you want only one file per door as stated? Or one file for each perspective of each door? I presume the second, otherwise there is no way different files could be labelled INT and EXT.

    1. Enos

      I think he means a split stereo file (not an interleaved one). So its a dual mono stereo file of which the left and right sides are automatically labelled .L and .R

      Also I think he wants one file per door (not perspective). You can name the different actions in the right order in the metadata which makes it easy for anyone to find the right door and right action.

      Correct me if I’m wrong though 🙂

      1. tim Post author

        see comment below this one…

        I think cjguitar is right – we’ll have to do seperate file for each action

  19. cjguitar

    I think it would be better to separate the different actions, including knocks and creaks, for easier organization (and searching). If I’m searching for door slam, I don’t want to go through 15 different sounds in a file to find the slams. So one file could be door slams, close x5 and wide x5. I personally hate files that have like 30-50 events all tied together, it makes it difficult to handle, I prefer keeping them in bite sized chunks, 5-10 sounds per file.

    1. tim Post author

      What do other people think?
      If each action is a seperate file, that maybe up to 12 files per door

      As much as anything I am trying to think of how we will access the final library…

      In this case each person will upload a folder with their name on, inside that folder will be ten folders, each labelled with the general door title.. Inside each folder will be up to 12 files of the actions for that door.

      Once I’ve listened to all the files & approved them for quality & naming etc
      I will then copy & sort them into the master library, so for example there would be a master folder of

      DOOR House
      DOOR Apartment
      DOOR Office

      This weekend I will record two or three doors and go through the entire process, as a proof of concept… I suspect I will also need to include some kind of serial number in the name for each door so that if I use DOOR slam TP 1034, then I can easily find all the files recorded with that door by searching for “DOOR 1034”

  20. cjguitar

    I could see maybe 10 files max for each door, combining similar actions. Some of this would not apply to some doors:no doorbells for interior only doors for example (bedroom doors).
    1. Soft close x5/wide x5
    2. Medium close x5/wide x5
    3. Hard close x5/wide x5
    4. Ext Soft close x5
    5. Ext. Medium close x5
    6. Ext Hard close x5
    7. Handles x5 and locks x5
    8. Creaks/Movement x5-10
    9. Knocks Int. x5/Ext x5
    10. Doorbell x5

    What do you think?

    1. tim Post author

      One issue is that close (open & close) and close (perspective) are the same word…. Surely we could combine the close & wide perspective into one file?
      I also think EXT and INT should be different files/folders – not all doors will require INT and EXT coverage…

      1. Soft open close x5 (close & wide perspective)
      2. Medium open close (close & wide perspective)
      3. Hard open close (close & wide perspective)
      4. Handles x5 and locks x5 (close)
      5. Creaks/Movement x5 (
      6. Knocks x5 and/or doorbell x5

      1. Soft open close x5 (close & wide perspective)
      2. Medium open close
      3. Hard open close
      4. Handles x5 and locks x5
      5. Creaks/Movement x5
      6. Knocks x5
      7. Knocks x5 and/or doorbell x5

      I’ve done a mock up of this so will start a new thread, only about naming as we need to nail this for everyone, so I dont inherit a renaming nightmare 😉

  21. tim Post author

    NOTE: no more recordists thanks!
    I’ll be deleting any comments from now on asking to join, sorry

  22. cjguitar

    I did intend for the close and wide perspectives to be combined in one file. Only one other clarification/observation, for me in most cases, a wide recording of an external door would be too noisy, depending on where it was recorded and how much BG noise is happening. I don’t really see the point, unless you are unable to get a clean int recording.

    1. tim Post author

      I have quiet exterior wide recordings in my library that I’ve done eg on farms, at a beach house etc… so its not impossible, especially with door slams… But I know what you’re saying and I do expect for each recordist to use their initiative & experience when recording – we only want what is useable!

  23. Durand

    In case my email bounced back, I’m definitely in for this and down with specs sent in the email. Looking forward to participating in this epic “doors” endeavor.

    1. Thierry

      Microphone names can be in the metadata (I always put them on the tracknames). As for mics I mostly use Sennheiser MKH416, 40, 50 and Neumann KM84 for closer perspectives and DPA 4051s for the stereo wider (more distant perspective).

      One question about close perspective and stereo: a close up “real” stereo recording of the door is not really viable is it? I would prefer the close up recording to be dual channel with one mic extremely close and one mic a bit further away. What’s the consensus?



  24. Brendan Hogan

    Before doing some door recordings I revisited the recording specs and realized that those of us with Pro-Tools LE systems can’t edit and export at 96k. I’m surprised this hasn’t come up yet. Am I the only one with an LE system? Or did I just miss it somewhere. Anyway, I guess I could do the editing in another application unless it’s decided that 48k is acceptable.

    1. tim Post author

      Protools LE supports 96k

      it is the interface that is the limiting factor
      eg my 002r at home happily handles 96k but my MBox doesn’t

      The spec for the library is 96k

      In a worst case scenario upload your 96k recordings unedited
      and if I have time I could prep them…

        1. Brendan J. Hogan

          Ok, I feel like an idiot now. All the years I’ve been using PT and I never realized it wouldn’t let you edit at sample rates not supported by the audio interface. Other applications do but not Pro Tools. So I’ll either edit in Peak or buy another interface which I was meaning to do anyway.

  25. Jfriah

    Wow! GOOD one, Tim!!! I’ll definitely be keeping track when it is completed. I don’t think I’ll be able to contribute (worked off my butt right now which is, really, a GOOD thing in these times…) but would be interested in purchase later!

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