The Red Library is a collection of over 1,500 nitrate optical sound effects from the 1930s & 40s created for Hollywood studios. They were collected by a prominent sound editor who worked in the industry for 44 years. The fragile optical elements were donated to USC, and transferred to tape by USC Cinema students in the early 1970s.
I’ve nicknamed this “The Workbench Library”. These optical recordings were not masters, but leftovers. Editors always transferred more than they needed, because printing optical tracks was a slow process. The Red Library effects had been filed away in boxes for later use. Because of this, they aren’t as sonically clean as the Gold Library (also on Freesound.org). So I’ve done a little cleanup on these sounds, mostly fixing splices. But the goal of this project is preservation, not restoration. So embrace the noise!
Note: Gold Library file names start with a “G”, Red Library with a “R”.
I have been recording and manipulating sound since 1964. After graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, I worked as a sound editor and production mixer in Hollywood, specializing in noisy action-adventure films that are blamed for the downfall of society. I am now Academic Sound Coordinator in the School of Film/Video at California Institute of the Arts.