Jan 13 2013

VBS 2013 Development Diary: #6: Sound

Starting in 2009 with The Quest for the Lost City of Gold we started incorporating a digital soundboard into our VBS skit. I downloaded a program for my Mac called Sound Byte that lets you set up virtual racks of sounds, customize options for each sound, and assign them to keyboard commands. I needed someone to run the sound board, which I had just trialed and tested myself.

I chose Rahne, my then 12 year old. She was fairly tech savvy, and I didn’t know who else to hand it to. She has run the sound board every year since then, except last year when she had a part in the skit. After the skit she told me she wanted her sound board back.

Anyway when we get close to time to begin rehearsals I search around online for sounds to download. There are several sites that have royalty-free sounds free for download, and you can find sound effects CDs at pretty much any decent music store. Then you take a sound, drag it onto a button, and then assign options for it–looping, volume, when to start or stop the sound, whether or not to play it over the top of other sounds vs. being stopped by other sounds. This was incredibly handy when we had to have an ancient Mayan temple set collapse; we layered three different sounds—a low rumble, a stone-scraping-on-stone sound, and a second rumble—to give us a really colossal crash.

We also use sound effects to help pull off some of our special effects—but that’s another post.

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