EXCLUSIVE: The last big piece of the Todd-Soundelux bankruptcy has fallen into place with the sale of the company’s massive sound effects library, which has been purchased at auction by Sounddogs.com for $600,000. The library contains millions of sound effects from thousands of films the company worked on over the past 30 years, including films that won more than 20 Oscars for best sound effects. Soundelux, which for many years was one of Hollywood’s leading postproduction facilities, declared bankruptcy in May.
Now that the Soundelux library has been sold, there’s not much left of the company, which only recently employed more than 200 people. “With the sale of the library, there’s very little remaining of the company and we’re moving forward with the liquidation,” said Leslie Cohen, the company’s bankruptcy attorney.
“I am very fortunate to have acquired the greatest sound effects library on the planet, and that’s saying a lot because my library is really good too, but their library is amazing,” said Rob Nokes, president and founder of Sounddogs, which sells sound effects to films and TV shows. The collection includes almost every conceivable sound, from car doors slamming, to rain on a tin roof, to the roar of a WW II bomber taking off, to the sound of arrows whooshing through the air in the movie Gladiator.
“Todd-AO and Soundelux recorded and created sounds for all the movies they worked on,” Nokes said. “It’s an absolutely incredible collection, the depth and quality of the sounds. Hollywood is known for its big sounds, and the scope of the library is vast.” The final product of films Soundelux worked on still belongs to the companies that made the films, he noted, but the individual sound elements once owned by Soundelux are now owned by Sounddogs.
Sounddogs currently provides sound effects for the Fox shows Bones and the upcoming Backstrom, and for FX’s Tyrant, for which Nokes traveled all across the Middle East and Indonesia recording sounds of prayer and of everyday life. Selling sound effects, he said, is a niche market, but many film and TV companies find it much more economical to buy them than to record or create their own.
Recording sound effects in the wild may also be one of the industry’s most adventuresome jobs. Nokes, who has traveled the world recording exotic sound effects, said he recently returned from Sumatra “to record the sounds of desolation from an area devastated by a volcanic eruption — tin roofs flapping and people rebuilding their lives.”