How to add background music to a video clip

Free sound effects for video editing

Where do you find free sound effects for video editing when you’ve run out of budget? We’ll try and help you with a handy shortlist of free resources for free sound fx.

If you’re a video editor, you’ve undoubtedly had moments where you’ve thought, “this video sequence is great, but I just need to create some more background ambience” or “I need to add some footsteps” or you suddenly find that you need a big impact sound to emphasize the force of something crashing into something else.

Often this happens when you’ve seemingly finished the edit and you’re having a final run through. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll find that more often that not, you’re usually having this final run through right before the deadline, so there’s little time to go searching for sounds.

If also you’ve run out of budget for extra premium sound effects, you’ll be wanting to find some free sound effects for video editing and fast! Here are a few places that we know of, to find free sound effects for video editing that might save you a bit of time…

So where do I find the free sound effects for video editing ?


Freesound

I feel like Freesound.org has been around since the beginning of the internet, if not the begining of time. I’m sure it’s not that old, but I’ve been paying it a visit for many many years to find free sounds. There are several ways to find the sounds that you’re looking for – through tags, packs and remix groups, but I’ve always just searched for whatever I’m looking for and been presented with a multitude of sound files.

The sounds are offered under a creative commons license, many of which are under a CC0 version of the license, which is basically the same as a public domain license, meaning you can do whatever you like with it. Some types of creative commons licenses have a few other restrictions, like you need to credit the author, or you can only use the sound for personal use, so always check the license restrictions. We’ll go over what all the different licenses mean in another post, but freesound do link each file to some information explaining what you can and what you cannot do.

The site is a pretty basic design, but all you need to do is use the search bar. Having said that, there is now a community built around the site and if you visit the forum there’s lots of handy tips and information about legal concerns and production techniques.


Soundbible

I have to admit I’m slightly ashamed to explain why I know about soundbible.com. Often when I’m working from home, it’s just me and the dog. I love my dog but she often winds me up. So I will wind her up, by searching for dog sound effects to play on my phone. After searching for dog sounds, I found myself on soundbible. This gave me a myriad of files to tease and torment my long suffering dog with.

Once again the free sound effects for video editing, of which there are thousands, are offered under either a creative commons attribution license. This means you can use the file as long as you credit the author somewhere. there are also public domain licenses. Public domain licenses mean you’re free, to do what you want, any old time.

The site is pretty simple, but as with freesound, just use the search bar to find what you’re looking for. You won’t be disappointed with what turns up.

If you become a patron of soundbible by supporting them with a donation (anywhere from $1 and up) then you’ll have the capability of requesting sounds. This could be quite useful when you really need something specific or obscure.


Flashkit

This is a bit like stepping back in time for me. I remember visiting flashkit.com when I was a flash animator many years ago and I needed to find scripts, advice or other flash resources. Admittedly this site still looks the same as it did when I was perusing it. So it does look dated, but who cares when they have thousands of free sound effects to download.

The files on offer at flashkit are either freeware, shareware or linkware. This terminology seems so old to me. It reminds me of the free software I used to find on MacUser CD ROMs. But it’s all still valid. You can use freeware as you wish. Linkware means that you need to include a link back to the author and credit him/her. Shareware means you need to adhere to the rules in the description.

I did a few searches for old time sake and found everything that I searched for was freeware.


FreeSFX

FreeSFX offer thousands of free sound effects for video editing, but in return they’d like you to either include a link back to their site. What iff you’re not using it online and can’t include a link back to their site? In this case they ask that you either print the link somewhere or tweet good things about them.

You can use the sounds commercially and non-commercially. However they do have a few standard restrictions about what you can and can’t do with the sounds. The main restriction is to make sure you don’t just redistribute the sounds as your own.


Audiomicro

Audiomicro is a royalty free sounds site, offering premium music and sound effects for a price BUT they also have a big free sound effects section in which they have a few thousand free sound effects for video editing overall. Transport and vehicle sounds, animal sounds, cartoon & comic sounds and science fictions sounds are there in abundance, while a whole plethora of other categories awaits you.


Sound Effects Definition

On some sites I’ve noticed that the sfx and music often appears in both sections. This makes me wonder what attributes does a sound effect need?

I’ve had a look at various sources and groups and it seems that the overriding consensus is this. A sound effect is any sound that you create artificially for use in a production or creation.

Some sources such as dictionary.com state that a sound effect is any sound that is not music or speech. It then goes on to say you must make it artifically. But I beg to differ with the music and speech part. Speech can be a sound effect, as long as you create it for that purpose. If a film required a cafe ambience, this may require a recorded sequence of speech. You can say the same about music. You can create music to emphasize things in films or videos. Surely we’ve been doing that for years in films. And for that reason – dictionary.com – I’m out!