Saturday, August 27, 2011

Footstep Effects Box

I don't know what the proper term for one of these is, assuming there even is one, so I've dubbed it the Footstep Effects Box. I need the sound of footsteps on gravel, with a particular tone and feel, so I sought out some gravel and took my feet with me (I take them everywhere). The perfect gravel turned out to be crusher fines. It's rock crushed into pieces tiny enough to still be considered gravel, but large enough that it compacts when it settles. For this reason it's perfect for pathways or rough-and-ready parking spaces. I lined my garden path with some this spring, but unfortunately the sound of traffic is so abominable here that recording clean gravelly footsteps on my path is out of the question.

So I thought outside the box and decided I'd bring the gravel path into my studio - well, a bit of it, at any rate. I figured all I'd need is a shallow wooden box large enough to accommodate both feet, so I cut some scrap 1x4" lumber left over from a concrete pour, and a piece of scrap 5/8" plywood 18 inches square. A few drywall screws and Bob's your uncle's third cousin twice removed. Not bad eh? And it's made from recycled materials!

I've yet to test this contraption, but I've collected enough crusher fines to line it about an inch deep, given them a wash to get rid of the dust and dirt mixed in with the rock (the worst of which was sieved out first) and have them drying in the greenhouse. I expect you could line it with anything - dried leaves, for example - to create your own custom footstep sounds.

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