Pigs are Awesome

Pigs are awesome. Not only do they provide three of the best foods (bacon, sausages and chops. Sorry veggies) and fit neatly into teacups they are also the basis for some of the best sound effects and creature sounds.

Pigs have been used in tons of films and games for creatures and sweeteners to other sound effects. There have been hundreds of uses of squeals, grunts and roars but in this post I'm only going to example two, Aliens and Backdraft. In Aliens (1986) pig squeals are used as a   large component of the Aliens vocals.

Check out their use in Aliens;

In Backdraft Gary Rydstrom used pigs and other animal vocals including snakes and lions to give the fire a character and to make it sound more aggressive. This wasn't the first (or the last) use of animals in effects like this but the film is a pretty good showcase of the technique.

Use In Backdraft 4:12 (I know its not a pig but Its the only decent example I could find on YouTube)

With this sort of use in mind and a spot on my Game Audio Tutorial To-Do List with "Creature Effects" listed I organized to go and record some pigs. After talking with the owner I found out that they are most vocal just before they are fed and hate being picked up. So we left them un fed for an hour later than usual and waded in with the recorder. I quickly found out that to get a decent recording of the piglets squealing I needed to get away from the sows when picking the piglets up, as they objected to this quite loudly, as any good mother would. This wasn't quite as easy as you'd think as the sows weigh about 600 pounds and will only move where they want to and the piglets (more small pig than piglet at this stage) weren't exactly light. Overall I managed to get some good recordings out of the trip some examples are bellow;

Recorded at 192k with a Rode NTG-3 and a Fostex FR-2

Thanks to Sheilah and Ruben Lord for helping out and letting me come record .