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Essa Hansen @EssaHansen
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#NiaHansen #sounddesign thread on EXPLOSIONS and fun with liquid nitrogen. Because liquid nitrogen is fun. Don’t try this at home. 💥💦❄

#filmsound #soundeffects #fieldrecording #audiopost #postproduction #gameaudio
This explosion recording day was for War Horse. World War I is a time period that not very many living people have actually HEARD. This gave the sound designer and editors some liberty to be interpretive and nonliteral with some of the war environment, guns, vehicles, etc.
We tried various things with the liquid nitrogen, which all had very different qualities. When sealed in a plastic jug, it will eventually explode (or implode a trash bin). We tried different sized jugs… and different material cans.
We recorded near a small canyon for an excellent natural reverb. Everyone at Skywalker gets excited when we do fun stuff like this, so we had many extra recordists armed with all sorts of gear. At 1:36 you can see Benny Burtt hiked up the hill to record from a higher perspective.
Indoors, dumped hot water into liquid nitrogen. These explosions have lots of water/vapor debris that sounds like dirt spray. It's both powerful and “soft.” Too many explosions are harsh-sounding & can’t be layered with anything else before losing detail. Not these!
We wheeled Gary Rydstrom’s old 1/4” tape machine out to the recording site and set up two omni overhead mics. Out of ALL the recording gear we had rigged up, the tape was by far the best sounding. These "soft" explosions have a lot of great low end.
That’s me at 3:28. I can’t even remember what mics I was monitoring. In a controlled environment we could set up everything and anything ahead of time.

3:37 Don’t ignore incidental sounds! The wet crackling of the remnant liquid nitrogen was a great sound on its own.
We don’t always have time to do fun experiments like this, but I love when we do! Esp. when we get a lot of people engaged in What Ifs and other creative ideas.
Science is awesome and there are so many cool sound opportunities/ideas to be mined in Youtube experiments, don’t be afraid of doing research that’s not necessarily sound-related but could yield a unique sound—some animal, machine, chemical reaction, etc. that might be perfect.
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