RFSD Title

Royalty Free Sound Design

By Devin Forbes

Film Sound Design can get pretty weird, like this story about how the sounds of velociraptors in Jurassic Park (1993) were actually mating tortoises, or this story about how the acklay sounds in Star Wars: Episode II (2002) were mostly comprised of dragging a wooden palette across the sound stage floor.

It can also be a real challenge for smaller productions, and they usually must rely on Public Domain resources to get what they need. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find these sites among the hundreds of spam websites that lack actual content, so we put together this comprehensive list of our findings.

1. Archive.org’s Audio Archive

Although admittedly difficult to navigate, archive.org has put together one of the largest collections of sounds out there, with over 2.7 million recordings for the public to use.

2. Freesound.org

Contains thousands of sounds for you to use, but hold on! They are licensed under Creative Commons, so there are guidelines you must follow to keep your project legal.

3. Soundeffects+

A great website filled with over 5000 free sounds that’s easy to navigate?! What has the world come to?! The only downside is that you must register to download anything. But a small price to pay for their extensive library.

4. Sound Jay

Another excellent site full of sounds that are all absolutely royalty free. Extremely useful categories, and the option to download .wav and .mp3 versions of sounds.

5. Zapsplat

Almost 9000 sound effects and music recordings royalty free for commercial and non-commercial projects.

6. Musopen

A collection of royalty free classical music. Recordings are under public domain or creative commons.

7. NASA and ESA

Sound designers everywhere will be happy to know that NASA and the European Space Agency have both opened Soundcloud accounts to host highlights of their vast library of sounds recorded over the many years of their operations, all public domain and free for anyone to use.

Not only is it just awesome to listen to these sounds for the fun of it, this opens up these strange space roars and chirps for use in films and music recordings. Whether they are kept in their original form or sampled into a sound no one has ever experienced before, this is a huge opportunity for creators everywhere.

In addition to their Soundcloud, NASA has even more recordings published on Archive.org.

Line Resource

Have any other cool sound resources we didn’t mention? Comment below!

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