The Art of Recording Vehicle Sounds

Sound effects are extremely important to movies. With every effect you add to the movie or your project, you draw the audience more into what they are experiencing. Wh...

Posted on October 26th 2021

Sound effects are extremely important to movies. With every effect you add to the movie or your project, you draw the audience more into what they are experiencing. When it comes to vehicle sound effects, working with an expert will really make you feel the difference. Field recordists will take the initiative and make the most suitable installations for you to get the sound effects you need.

There’s great art to recording a vehicle. And there are a lot of ways to do that. The fun part is how do you put a microphone onboard in motion recording. The usual setup is putting a microphone on the muffler. Most sounds of a vehicle are coming out of its muffler. So that’s a point that you need to be capturing. But when you’re doing your interior recordings you need to do those in separate passes. You need to do all the exterior maneuvers, start and drive away, in and stop, pass by, and then you’ll re-rig and put microphones all around the vehicle because you’re gonna be in motion all the time. Then you need to have an interior perspective of the vehicle. You need to have at least a quad set up so you feel like you’re inside the cockpit of the car. When you’re recording vehicle sound effects you wanna have some interior cockpit feel and it’s the best way to do it.

There’s a lot of controversy about how you record the engine. If you put a microphone on the engine side you can get so many mechanical noises. But nobody shoots a movie from inside the hood and you can’t hear all these sounds when you are driving the car. The best way to do it is placing some microphones, spot mics, right up by the firewall, right behind the dashboard, and get the engine perspective so that if you’re gonna rev it and do some kind of performance-based driving, you get a decent feel for the engine without the tap it clatter or the valve train and air compress, the air conditioning compressor squeal. You just don’t want all those miscellaneous sounds because they’re very mechanical and clattery and it can be distracting in a scene about probably two people talking. But if you are filming a movie about cars and cars only, that person capturing the sound is gonna take into consideration the kinds of sounds that you want. In that case, you probably wanna have two or three mics inside the engine compartment because you wanna hear those flaps open up and you hear the carburetors open and breathe gasoline down into the manifold. So you’re kind of, you’re thinking creatively based on the movie when it comes to where your microphones are gonna be placed. So anytime field recordists can make a vehicle sound like it’s what it really sounds like, they’ve helped the filmmaker tell a little bit of the story.

Vadi Sound Library has these kinds of vehicle sound effects: Boat horn, car engine noise, window closing noises, handbrake sounds, doors opening and closing sounds, movement sounds, exhaust sounds, and much more! You can check all our sound effects through our sound library! Vadi Sound Library has a bundle of vehicle sound effects you might need. You can check the bundles according to your needs on our site, download Vadi Sound Effect Library, and try its free version. Don’t forget to stay tuned for more information.