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Sound Effects: A Definition

We asked our friends at Sound Ideas to come with a definition for us. At Sound Ideas, they record, design, publish and distribute different types of sound fx that make up the Sound Ideas Sound Effects Library. The different types include; isolated sound effects, special fx, foley sound effects and background ambiences.

Isolated sound effects include the sounds of everyday items like jackhammers, vacuum cleaners and car crashes. Closing doors, animal sounds, explosions and car tires screeching during a car chase would be other good examples of isolated sounds.

Special fx include various sounds that are designed to be used for places and objects that may only exist in the imagination. You could use special fx in science fiction, cartoon, and fantasy productions to stand in for the sound of a disruptor, for a cartoon fall off an impossibly tall cliff or for a magical spell or hex.

Foley sound effects are named after Jack Foley. The effects simulate everyday and extreme sounds – and are used for synchronization and the replacement of audio in motion pictures. Foley sound effects include the trace sounds that are created when people handle or touch items like the rustle of clothing or picking up a coffee cup. Without Foley sound replacement, you would never hear the sound of footsteps in a TV show or motion picture – sound like this must be added to the soundtrack in post-production.

Background ambience tracks provide a sense of the environment for a production. They make the audience feel that the action is really taking place “on location” in that particular grocery store, city park, forest or during that fierce thunderstorm.
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