Following on from a previous post Wooshes 101 which focused on generating naturally occurring wooshes by moving small objects past a microphone, this time I’ll focus more on generating wooshes artificially, or at least adding the movement aspect to a sound via processing…..
I am always on the look out for sounds with movement in them; the obvious examples are vehicles which exhibit the physical movement of sound via the Doppler effect. I presume most people know what the Doppler effect is, or at least if they don’t know the term, they have certainly heard it every time a siren goes past – heres two examples of vehicle dopplers:

download doppler 01:truck horn mp3
download doppler 02:car horn mp3

I was ‘given’ that truck horn doppler when i was out recording a whole bunch of general car passes for a TV series ages ago. I was recording on a stretch of open road in Happy Valley in Wellington and of course as soon as a truck came along & saw me standing there with a microphone he obviously couldn’t help himself & let rip with a horn blast as he passed. Thanks dude! And ever since its meant I can use MY truck horn doppler (should the occasion arise) as opposed to the generic truck doppler horn that exists on a certain commercial sound effects library that I hear over & over again, even on big budget Hollywood films…

And here are a couple of examples I generated by moving a firework fuse towards & past the mic:

download doppler 03:fireworks mp3
download doppler 04:fireworks mp3

So the need to create movement in sound hasn’t gone unnoticed by some of the software developers and I have three plugins that work to varying degrees to generate the effect on static sounds.

The first is the Waves Doppler plugin

Doppler video 1 – wind….. hmmm seems youtube is MONO!?!
Forget the videos for now, they make no sense at all in mono

download Waves doppler 01:wind mp3

download doppler source 01:wind mp3

download Waves doppler 02:car exhaust mp3

download doppler source 02:car exhaust mp3

I have used it to create elements for passbys where I didnt have a real/recorded doppler that was strong or powerful enough, one example was for a car chase in a film (The Locals) & I recorded a lot of material with the two cars but one of them (the Subaru) had an exhaust that I just couldnt get close enough to to record a fast loud passby… but I had a lot of onboard recordings with seperate mics (on exhaust, engine & interior) so I took a powerful sounding piece of the exhaust mic (accelerating) and put it through Waves Doppler and managed to create some really powerful sounding passbys… these were layered with the real recordings but helped a lot to make the FX rate in the mix, in what I knew would be a loud scene with a lot of music…

Another example: I use Waves Doppler to create passbys for sounds which would be too short/fast to pan on a mixing desk, but where I want more movement in the sound than simply cutting it eg Left/Right… The Waves Doppler plugin is only a stereo Doppler, but at times I have created big fast movements in 5.1 by making & then cutting two seperate dopplers from say surround Left -> Left and surround Right ->Right

I find the Doppler plugin to be a bit hit & miss with it predictably generating good passbys, so I tend to cut say 10 copies of the same region on a track & print/re-record it through the Doppler, varying the trigger start, the speed of passby & the midpoint each time, so that I end up with a lot of variations from the same source material. Also this way I can edit the dopplers to use the most appropriate for a specific moment and/or combine different passes…

I tend to only use a small amount of the Dopplers pitch variation on most sounds as it is too artificial/extreme to my ears… ditto for its built in reverb… And IMHO its a shame Waves don’t develop the Doppler plugin further – there are plenty of features they could add or develop further that would make it even more useful.

The second plugin I own & use is the GRM Tools Doppler

download GRM doppler 01:wind mp3

download doppler source 01:wind mp3

download GRM doppler 02:car exhaust mp3

download doppler source 02:car exhaust mp3

I find GRM Tools Doppler generates the most interesting sounds when you move the midpoint, so the Doppler is chasing your mouse around the screen, rather than simply circling a static midpoint…

Unreal Dopplers?
Having these two plugins means I can generate movement in any sound and it is often by applying such processing to a non-obvious or lateral sounds that interesting elements can be generated. I also often find it worthwhile trying the doppler process on the source sounds both forwards & backwards. The different attack/release between the same sounds forward & then reversed means the effect of the Doppler can be VERY different.
Heres a bunch of random sounds that I have dopplered over the years: some obvious, some less so:

download doppler example:aircon scrape mp3
download doppler example:cable twirl mp3
download doppler example: cloth moves mp3
download doppler example:growly breath vox mp3
download doppler example:plastic sheet mp3
download doppler example:plastic tape mp3
download doppler example:screams mp3
download doppler example:sheep baa fast by mp3
download doppler example:sub bass rattler mp3
download doppler example:tiger vox mp3
download doppler example:wind draft mp3
download doppler example:wood scrape mp3

Ok I’m giving up on Youtube for videos with stereo soundtracks – seems its possible but it takes much trial & error & the audio quality suffers…. Anyway here are mp4 videos of the two Doppler plugins I use:
download GRM Doppler 1 mp4 video (1.5MB)
download GRM Doppler 2 mp4 video (1.3MB)
download Waves Doppler 1 mp4 video (0.8MB)
download Waves Doppler 2 mp4 video (0.9MB)

and VIMEO embedded videos

Wind through GRM Doppler Plugin

Doppler FX1 via GRM Doppler from tim prebble on Vimeo.

Subaru Exhaust through GRM Doppler Plugin

Doppler FX2 via GRM Doppler from tim prebble on Vimeo.

Wind through Waves Doppler Plugin

Doppler FX3 via Waves Doppler from tim prebble on Vimeo.

Subaru Exhaust through Waves Doppler Plugin

Doppler FX4 via Waves Doppler Plugin from tim prebble on Vimeo.

6 thoughts on “SD102: WOOSHES

  1. tomlowd

    that was interesting and inspiring as always. i envy the time you have to play around and develope sounds.


  2. tim

    Please excuse my lack of maths ability – I mention three plugins & then discuss only 2 of them… The third plugin I own but havent used much (whereas these other 2 i have used a lot over the years) & when i went to play with it realised it wasnt exactly a doppler plugin… it can do dopplers but it is more about spatialisation, as in simulating 3d in a 2D (stereo) world. Since my work is primarily delivered into a 5.1 or 7.1 mix environment when i got the plug & discovered all this I kinda went hmmmm…. but that is not giving the plug its fair dues & as time allow I will investigate what it is capable of…. FWIW the plug is WaveArts panorama,
    check it out & let me know if/how you use it

    my Kyma can do doppler kind of stuff too,
    but thats a rather deep rabbit hole I tend to stand around the edges of,
    peering in going whoaaaaaaaw…. one of these months/years I will find
    the time to delve beyond the surface…

  3. Pingback: the music of sound » Doppler Plugin Videos in stereo via vimeo

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

  5. Pingback: Inside the Waves Sound Design Suite [Pt 4] – Transformation Tools

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *