FEATURED Publisher--July 2013
Godfather of the Sound Effects Industry:
Brian Nimens of Sound Ideas
The legendary CEO and Founder of Sound Ideas, one the Largest Sound Effects Publishers in the world, defined the industry for the last 35 years. Innovating and partnering with the best in the business, customers around the world love his products, and the competition, not so much. Meet the man who started it all…
--Who is Brian Nimens? What is your educational/professional background?
My training is "on the job" training, solving problems and coming up with solutions as they were needed. Back in the day, there were no specialized training programs for this industry. So I’d say Brian is one of the pioneers who saw a niche developing and went about teaching himself what he needed to know in order to fill that niche.
--When and how did you start Sound Ideas?
March 1, 1978 is when Sound Ideas started--in a small 750 sq ft basement unit of a commercial building. Back then, we were a 4-track recording studio, specializing in doing commercials and corporate videos. The original concept was to build a comprehensive sound library so folks would come and use our studio. But after spending so much time developing it, it really developed a value of its own.
The first sale was to the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) in Toronto. They came in a listened to the collection, gave a me a couple of months to complete the work for them, and became the proud owners of the first ever Sound Ideas Sound Effects Library, which was delivered to them on reel to reel tape--state of the art at the time.
--What would you have done if you did not start Sound Ideas?
I would have been a recording engineer until my ears gave out!
--Talk to us about your production facility. What type of equipment do you use for pre-production and post production.
In recording sound effects over the years, we have used many different types of recorders. First of all the Nagra; then we used one of the first digital recorders by Sony (the PCM 2000), and then progressed onto a Beta Tape, then to DAT tape. And today, we use the Sound Device which is a hard drive recorder. We use both ProTools and Vegas to do our editing.
--Tell us about your Sound Ideas staff, such as how many people work full time as sales consulting, or how many in sound production?
There are 2 recording engineers, 5 sales people, an IT person on staff, and a graphic artist. In addition, we have 4 office staff, who run the accounting and admin side of things, and 1 person who coordinates some of the production and documentation details.
--How do you see the future of the Sound Effects industry with the advent of the internet and the "free sound effects"?
It goes without saying that the Internet has affected us. More people are buying just what they need from download sites like StockMusic.com (which is our sister site) instead of buying complete libraries.
Our biggest challenge in the industry is actually piracy.
So much so, that we actually created a public service website at www.helpstoppiracy.com as a way to get the word out and educate folks in the industry and general public in an entertaining way--some of the videos on the site are really good.
--What is your most expansive sound effects library that you have produced ?
Without a doubt, that would be our new General HD--all the sounds are brand new and recorded at 24/96 sample rate. It took close to 3 years to put together. It, along with its brand new edition released this year--The General HD 2--is the most comprehensive collection of current sounds.
--Since you started Sound Ideas, what is your biggest regret?
Not buying Google Stock back in the day.
--What is the most successful library that you have ever produced in terms of sales?
The Series 6000 series. It is synonymous with Sound Ideas brand name and was produced and released just after the last large recession in the early 1990's hit North America. The timing was great and the product itself really hit the mark.
--Does Sound Ideas buy Sound Effects or Music?
Yes we do. We buy music and sound effects from all over the world.
--What is your advice to a younger sound producer who wants to start a career in the sound fx business?
It's a tough industry to break into. It really has to be a passion, and you really have to want it. There may be years when you are working as an intern at a facility--and even that may not be permanent. But like everything in life, you may find a particular area that you are good at and that someone will pay you for. My best advice is never to give up on your dream.
--What makes Sound Ideas products different from other libraries?
It's all about quality control. Nothing gets by our engineers.
--Please tell us about your Feature Film Collaboration Sound Effects?
The feature film series start off with LucasFilm. Skywalker ranch purchased some Sound Ideas libraries, and we approached them to see if they would consider releasing some sound effects in a collection. The result was the Lucasfilm Sound Effects Library: 3 CDs produced by Sound Ideas & 3 CDs produced by LucasFilm.
With that under our belt, it was then actually easier to approach other feature film companies such as Universal, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox. They could see what a collaboration with Sound Ideas would look like, and they were willing to partner with us.
We had unprecedented access to their sound libraries. With the Hanna-Barbera sound effects collections--we sent an engineer into their archives and he worked onsite with the MAG masters--so there was a great deal of initial work to be done to accumulate the sounds in a format that could be worked on. All the sounds had to go through a no-noise process in order to be useable in modern studios.
--What would you like to share as a final message to our readers?
It has been a pleasure being the subject of your first ever Publisher of the Month series. I want to thank the audio community as a whole for their continued support and business: we look forward to serving the community for at least another 35 years.
My best advice is never to give up on your dream.
We buy music and sound effects from all over the world.
Our biggest challenge in the industry is piracy.
in 1978 Sound Ideas started--in a small 750 sq ft basement
To download Sound Ideas Sound Effects and Music Libraries click here