One of the most overlooked aspects of filmmaking for beginner filmmakers is sound design. Screenwriting, cinematography, direction, and editing are all essential to a great film. But proper sound design is what can take any project to the next level. That being said, foley can be a lot of work. Sound effects can also be expensive. But these shouldn’t keep you from creating engaging soundscapes for your project. So we’ve created a list of the best places to find free sound effects. From massive libraries to niche sound effect packs, you’ll find them all here. Let’s dive in. 

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Sound effects downloadlist

1. Envato Elements

Let’s start our list with a few sites that provide a general library of free royalty free sound clips. Envato Elements is a complete site full of resources like stock video, graphics, and stock music. Among their resources is a massive free sound effects library. You can filter through an extensive list of categories ranging from “Game Sounds” to “Industrial Sounds.”

Envato Elements — Free sound clips

Envato Elements  •  Free sound clips

All free royalty free sound clips are available to use in gaming apps and video. They even have a filter that lets you find looped sound effects which is great for ambient or atmospheric sounds.

Sound effects downloadlist

2. 99 Sound Effects

The 99 Sound Effects pack is a collection of free sound effects for video editing ranging from digital noise to retro 80s synthesizers. All of the audio content is downloadable as 24-bit WAV free sound files for easy use.

99 Sounds Pack — Sound effects free download

99 Sounds Pack  •  Sound effects free download

The 99 Sounds pack comes in the following categories: 8 Braams, 2 Downers, 8 Drones, 14 Impacts, 5 Metal hits, 4 Noises, 4 Punches, 9 Retro sounds, 4 Risers, 12 Short SFX, 4 Subs, 9 Swish SFX, 10 Textures, and 6 Whoosh SFX. It's undoubtedly a great start or further addition to any creative’s free sound effects library.

Royalty free sound effects

3. Zapsplat

Zapsplat boasts a library of a whopping 75,000 free sound effects that are recorded to a high quality standard for any professional use. The library is consistently updated with new sounds.

If you’re looking for a very specific sound, Zapslat has conveniently organized their library by category as well as by sound. For example, if you’re looking for “Bell” sound effects they have 186 free sound files to choose from. If you’re specifically looking for “Church Bells” they have 14. Check out their library for any specific sounds you’re seeking.

Horror Sound effects free download

4. Horror Sound Effects Pack

Now that we’ve covered a couple more general sound effect sites with extensive libraries, let’s dive into the niche. When it comes to the horror genre, sound effects are essential for a good scare. The team over at RocketStock put together a pack of 30 horror sound effects available for free. How frightening are these sounds? Check out their demo video below.

Horror Sound Effects: royalty free sound effects

Ghosts whispers, screams, creepy crawling critters and over 100 other chilling sounds are all available in this pack for free.

Free sound clipsfor download

5. Vintage Free Sound Effects Pack

If you’re creating a period piece, don’t overlook the importance of sound design to tone. Color theory, art direction, and production design can all contribute the tone and mood of a film. But equally impactful is the power of sound. This vintage sound pack can add depth and tone to your scene with the atmospheric sounds of vintage digital noises.

Unique Vintage SFX  •  Free Sounds Effects for Video

Risers, whooshes, and beat loops can all add a layer beneath your primary soundtrack that not only elevates the production quality of your project, but can help nail the tone as well.

Free royalty free sound effects

6. Explosion and Fireball Free sound FX

Animating explosions and fire can be a daunting task. But once you’ve nailed it, you don’t want to blow it by using less than convincing sound effects. This Detonate sound effects pack is the perfect cherry on top of explosive special effects or VFX.

Detonate: Explosion Free sound FX

The pack includes over 25 explosive sound effects. Not to mention it also comes with explosion VFX elements if you're in need of those as well. This pack is a one stop shop for any project with explosive visual and sound elements.

Sound effects free download

7. Retro Arcade Game free sound FX

One of the most distinct elements of retro arcade games is their sound. If you’re creating a gaming app or even a video with retro arcade games, look no further than this sound pack for your sound design.

With over 300 free retros gaming sound effects, you’ll have enough variety to create whatever soundscape you envision. The library is inspired by the 16-bit arcade games of the late 80s and early 90s. The library is under CC0 license meaning there is no copyright reserved on any of the sounds. So feel free to use it for both personal and commercial projects.

Free royalty free sound effects

8. Epic Sound Effects for Trailers

When learning how to make an attention grabbing movie trailer, don’t overlook the impact of sound. Any trailer editor will agree that sound design can make or break a trailer. Especially when it comes to lower-budget films, creating a cinematic trailer is even more important.

The team over at PremiumBeat compiled an epic sound effects pack tailored for trailers. Take a look at their demo video below to see how epic these sound effects can make a simple trailer.

Free Sound Effects: Trailer Construction Kit (Lite Version)

In combination with great editing, this sound effect pack can help you rival the notoriously epic trailers of filmmakers like Nolan and Bay.

Sound effects free download

9. Glitch Sound Effects Pack

Are you trying to create that gritty and edgy tone for your project? Glitch sound effects can help you do just that. This free sound effects pack is a sample from the full, paid sound effect pack titled Corruption produced by RocketStock.

10 Free Sound Effects for Glitches

The glitch sound effects are great for intense opening credit or title sequences. You may even find use of the free sound effects in a high energy montage.

Royalty free sound effects

10. Ambient Atmosphere SFX

Ambient sound is one of the most overlooked sound elements when it comes to beginner filmmakers. Elevate the sound design of your film with this ambient atmosphere free sound effects pack.

The free download comes with 15 ambient background noise tracks such as “Busy City Street,” “Ocean Waves,” “Electric Hum,” and “Forest.”

15 Ambient Free sound effects

Not only does ambient sound help set a scene, it immediately increases the production value of your project. Just take a look at any Hollywood film. Even empty bedroom scenes are layered with an ambient sound of some kind that both sets the scene and adds depth to the world of the film.

Sound effects free download

11. Footsteps Sound Effect Pack

A very specific sound effect that is overlooked all too much are footsteps. Specifically in the sound design of film, footsteps create realism that can further immerse audiences into a film. It might seem like a stretch, but when it comes to sound design, details are critical.

Footsteps Sound clips freeso

Footstep sound effects can not only be a detail, but also an important plot point. In thrillers and horror films, footsteps can be a crucial sound effect. Adding this free pack of footstep sound effects to your library will equip you with all the footstep sounds you need for these types of scenes.


The Best Stock Music Websites

Sound effects are only one of the various sound elements of videos and filmmaking. One of the other primary sound elements is music. But finding someone to score your film or create a song specifically for your video can be expensive. So we've compiled a list of the best stock music websites. Check them out in the next article.

Up Next: The Best Stock Music Websites →
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  • Kyle DeGuzman graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Television, Film, & New Media. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado spending his time writing, filmmaking, and traveling.

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