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Production Elements: A Definition

A production element or imaging element is a sound effect. It is an piece of audio that is used to enhance a radio production by adding interest to promos, intros, extros or transitions. An imaging element can be used to grab the listeners attention as well as to create an audio logo or ID for a radio station or program.

Production element sound effects are generally used as backgrounds or as punctuation to highlight a message. They are often abstract sound effects rather than actual real sounds. Although the element may use a sound effect as its basis (though not necessarily so) that sound effect is flanged, pitched, bent, stretched, and designed to create a new sound for a specific situation. Production elements have their own vocabulary of titles that audio engineers have created over the years. Following is an example of some of the terms have been developed by sound library designers and developers to classify the kind of sound effects you will generally find in an imaging elements sound library:

Stingers & Sweepers
IDs & Logos
Beds & Pads
Attacks & Sustains
Bumpers & Dissolves
Punctuators & Enhancers
Sounders & Stagers
Work Parts
... and you cannot leave out the Whoosh

Sound effects are a popular addition to a production elements sound library, especially very popular sounds like science fiction, transportation, weapons and machinery. A production elements sound library can also contain communications sound effects like a computer, fax & modem sound effect, electronics, microphone feedback, radio tuning & static, record groove noise, signals & interference, tape recorders, telemetry and telephone dialtones and ringtones. Sound effects are also a popular addition to a production elements sound library, especially very popular sounds like machinery, transportation and science fiction.

There are also Musical Elements sound libraries that include short musical melodies, a brief musical chords or the sounds of a musical instrument being played by itself These short sound effect / music clips and instrumentation are often used at the beginning of a piece or bring to finish it. They are also used to provide backgrounds to a voiceover or as transitions that take you from one part to another part of a feature film, broadcast, promo or audio-visual presentation. And, of course, many Production Elements CDs also offer a selection of short music tracks that have also been designed for punchy radio use - rock and guitar riffs, segues and sequences are especially popular.
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