REVIEW: FIVE NEW COLLECTIONS FROM THE HOLLYWOOD EDGE
PRODUCT: Hollywood Edge: five new collections
PRICE: Varies based on the collection, but range from $159 to $1,885
- Updates to The Premiere Edition created by sound designer Alan Howarth
- The Sound Designer Tool Kit 2 includes an entire disc of musical elements
- Tonal Atmospheres Vol. 1 offers pre-made sound landscapes for sci-fi environments
The Hollywood Edge has released five new collections: The Premiere Edition 8, 9, and 10, Sound Designer Tool Kit 2 and a new series called Tonal Atmospheres Volume 1. All five collections are offered as .WAV files with embedded metadata for easy use with Soundminer.
THE PREMIERE EDITION
Updating their flagship collection, The Hollywood Edge introduced three new volumes for the Premiere Edition, created by sound designer Alan Howarth. He has worked on such films as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poltergeist, Die Hard II and Back to the Future. Each new edition comes on audio CDs and data DVDs as 44.1k/16-bit WAV files. The editions can be purchased separately or as a package.
Premiere Edition 8 focuses on transportation. While it contains some rarely used transportation methods, such as steam locomotives, it also includes some very modern effects of electric buses and electric cars. Some materials that appear in previous editions have been re-recorded for these latest editions.
Different microphones and varying mic placement offer a greater variety of the same source. For example, the sound of a Bell Helicopter hovering has been in prior editions, but those earlier effects sound different from those offered in this new collection. While both effects were recorded cleanly, the latest effect has more information in the higher frequencies. So, if you needed the helicopter hovering sound to cut through mid or lower ranged ambiences, then the newest effect might work better in your mix.
Premiere Edition 9 covers a wide range of sounds from nature, crowds and sports. It also offers an interesting sub category of effects: gorey sounds made by food products. These effects are pure culinary horror. For example, "Bell Pepper Rip Knife" is a juicy tearing sound that finishes in a light stab. The "Corn Snap Wet" emulates a compound fracture, and the "Grapefruit Tear" sounds shockingly similar to ripping flesh from bone.
Premiere Edition 10 mostly focuses on Foley effects. Interesting to note about this edition are the sci-fi and monster effects. There are some great spaceship sounds, but unfortunately they are labeled in a way that I would never use as a search in Soundminer, specifically the file "Bird of Prey Railroad Slowdown from Humpyard." The metadata doesn't include the words spaceship, hover or sci-fi, which would bring up similar sound files. If I did a subcategory search using the word "space," the files do come up, but this is outside of my normal work routine.
Another example is "Vortex Dry Ice Scream." It's a metal screeching sound that would be great for horror scenes. Unfortunately, the word metal doesn't appear in the description or file name metadata, so it doesn't come up when I'm searching for metal screeches.
Other than a few poorly-labeled files, these three new editions make a great supplement to the existing Premiere Edition library. They offer a new perspective on previously recorded sounds, plus the addition of new, clean and extremely useful SFX.
SOUND DESIGN TOOL KIT 2
By adding 1,600 new effects to their Sound Designer Tool Kit, this second edition offers clean and pristine production elements that range from stingers and whooshes to music accents. The collection is delivered on five audio CDs and two data DVDs as files that range from 96k/24-bit to 44.1k/16-bit.
The first two discs focus on stingers, whooshes and impacts. The first disc offers huge whooshes and impacts to sweeten action scenes or logos. The second disc has whooshes and explosions that are lighter than those of disc one. Disc two includes comedy accents like "Piano Chromatics," silly mouth farts, guitar slide accents and "Frying Pan Hits."
The third disc is full of eerie sci-fi drones and pads such as "Children Talking in Heavy Reverb." In addition, there is also whoosh-like effects such as: "Cymbal Bowed Metallic," "Demon Growl Hover," "Electric Arc Short Circuit," and more traditional whooshes like: "Whoosh By Flying Female Ghost" and "Jet By Processed."
The fourth disc offers a limited variety of ambiences. There are also a few animal effects that mostly cover birds and insects. Water effects range from "Cave Water Fall" to "Bubbles Underwater" and also include ocean sounds. The weather effects are limited to ocean storms, rain and thunder, and wind. Thrown into the mix are a few isolated effects like "Clock Tick," "Door Wood Creak," "Zipper Warble Pan" and "Car Horn Doppler."
The most useful disc I found in this collection was disc five. It has helpful musical elements — something a sound effects library can never have enough. There are whoosh-like effects such as "Piano Jarring Passing," "Piano Reversed Fast" and "Symphonic Hit Passing." It also has hits and accents such as "Drum Hits Symphonic," "Symphonic Hit Horror," "Blues Guitar Short," "Horn Section Slide" and "String Pluck Chord." It includes longer musical elements, like melodies on the "Sax Melody Solo," "Horn Section Criminal" and "Flute Short Light," or musical enhancements like "Chinese Koto Arpeggio," "Symphonic Cacophony" and "Guitar Fast Heavy."
The Hollywood Edge started a new collection with Tonal Atmospheres Vol. 1, which is composed of richly-layered ambiences that would fit perfectly in any sci-fi or horror project. The 191 effects are delivered on a data DVD as 44.1k/24-bit WAV files.
As indicated by the title, Tonal Atmospheres is a collection of sound landscapes that help to set a mood or scene. The sound files are constructed in various ways. Some use a hum or hiss as the base and add layers of shifting tones, so the result is a wash of sound that is often dark, desolate and eerie. Some have a more focused sound, usually the files intended for computer/sci-fi effects. And others are more music based, such as the file "Happening," a bed of sustained strings with shimmering effects.
Each file has a unique sound with elements that would pertain to specific environments. The file names provide a fairly good idea about the environment it could be applied to. For example, if you needed to create the feeling of a huge empty space, then "Sewer Noise Subterranean Textures…" would be well suited for those cavernous places.
Tonal Atmospheres includes musical effects, such as: "Horn O Plenty," brassy hollow tones surrounded by a steady electrical hum; "Space Melody Sci-Fi Engine," a melodic sci-fi engine drone; "Harmonious Angelic Choir," a resonant drone with soft panning delayed hits; "Choir Vocoder," an artificial choir; and "Nightmare Bell Tones," varying random pitches and metallic tones.
These new editions by the Hollywood Edge conform to their high standard for sound effects. They are clean, useful and creative. The Premiere Edition updates compliment the existing library by offering a mix of new modern effects and new recordings of previously-covered materials. The Sound Designer Tool Kit 2 included discs of musical elements that always come in handy. For dark or eerie ambiences, the Tonal Atmospheres Vol. 1 offers a wide variety of environments to fit almost any sci-fi/horror project. Above all, the collections offer high-quality sound effects at an affordable price.
Jennifer Arrowood is an Audio Engineer/Sound Designer with Ultra-Sound Audio Post/The Napoleon Group in New York City. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.