Since moving from California to Texas I’ve had the opportunity to record a lot more thunderstorms. You can never have too many recordings of storms, and often a script or director will want to add some thunder to bring a tense mood to the scene. More often than not what they’re asking for is the crack of a close lightning strike rather than the rumble of distant lightning. There are some good thunder “cracks” available in sound libraries however they tend to be overused and after a while you can identify a Sound Ideas’ “6036 Thunder Clap and Rumble” or Hollywood Edge’s “Thunder Huge Loud Clap 1”.
(sniffs and pushes imaginary spectacles up bridge of nose)
One night last month, around 2am, a thunderstorm rolled in with thunder loud enough to get me out of bed. Shortly after positioning the mics on the porch safe from the rain I hit record and the sky lit up bright as day. I froze still waiting and hoping for my own signature thunderclap to be recorded. “CRACK…BOOM…RUMBLE” a marvelous three part symphony of thunder lit up the meters on my recorder and I would have high-five’d myself if I wasn’t worried it would wind up in the recording. But just then as my proud smile grew its largest I heard…”CAR HORN…CAR HORN…CAR HORN.” The damned alarm on a neighbor’s vehicle was triggered by the air pressure of the thunder and I could only think one thing. The same thing everyone who’s ever heard that sound, in every type of situation that alarm has gone off has thought. Not “Stop! Thief!” but, “Turn that $&%*@#€µ§∅ß¶∏™ thing OFF!!!”
Here’s a compressed version of the thunder recording with the car horn:
I couldn’t accept the car horn soiling such a great recording so I removed the car horn with Izotope RX. Here’s how that turned out: