One of my favorite things about the new collaborative way that the internet has brought us sound people together is The Sound Collector's Club.
TSCC is the creation of Michael Maroussas, and the basic premise is that all members pay a nominal fee to help with hosting the files, then each month a new theme comes out and we all go out into the world and record it, with each contributing member contributor getting instant access to the other recordings from the group.
Its an insanely cool way to beef up your library, because it has you out recording on a regular basis, and it puts you in contact with a group of great sound recordists from all over the world.
Its multiplicative recording.
So after some twitter riffing on themes a while back Michael had decided to roll with one of my favorites:Dog Barks-BGs
In my personal library I call them neighborhood dogs.
I have a moderate collection of these recordings, the first of which I made when out walking my own dog. She's actually very good at staying quiet while others are going nuts, so for a few weeks I just went on my walk and brought my trusty D50.
They say that if you take a closeup photo of someone and put it across the room, that doesn't make it into a wide shot. The same is true of audio, and the reality you get from recording the dogs in space like that trumps faking it every time.
Once I had a few of these, they went into immediate effect as I was cutting BGFX for various films and shows. The texture of the dogs is really great to add a little bit of stress or drama to just about any urban or suburban environment.
Having individual dogs was nice when I could get them that way, because it allowed me to just kind of edit it in some drama in the gaps when I needed them. They make great little punctuation marks on an outdoor scene.
They're also fun to establish and have going for a while, then pull them out to jolt the subconscious mind into noticing that they're not there anymore.
BGFX are all about the one off elements, and neighborhood dogs are one of the more useful outdoor oneoffs you can find. I highly encourage any sound people to record some dogs from a good distance, join The Sound Collector's Club, and share with the group!