Unit 12 Weeks 4 and 5- Experimentation and Fear

The tasks that we were doing for these two weeks were experiments in our chosen area, so that we could try new things and learn new techniques and tools that we can use when we start our FMP. Before we started experimenting we looked at existing work in our subject and deconstructed them to learn how they were made and give us some ideas for what we could do in our experiments. The first experiment task we did was to experiment with fear. As my chosen area was sound I decided to experiment with recording different sounds and then trying to manipulate them to make them sound like something from a horror film. I also experimented with making my voice sound demonic using the tools in Audacity. For the second experiment task we were allowed to choose what we experimented in and I decided to experiment with creating sci-fi sounds that could be heard on a spaceship.

Fear Experiment
Before I did my fear experiment I looked at how some sound effects were made in The Exorcist and World War Z and deconstructed them. For The Exorcist I looked at how the sound of the head turning 180 degrees was made. My research into this led me to discover that it was made by Gonzalo Gavira, who was a Foley artist on the film, twisting an old leather wallet with credit cards inside. I used this information in my experiment as this informed me that I can use any object in order to make a sound that can be manipulated to create fear, which is what I wanted to do.

For World War Z I looked at how they created the sounds that the infected made and discovered they used human voices and then used a pitch shifter to manipulate those sounds into the noises we hear the infected make. This was useful for my experiment as I knew I could make noises with my mouth and then I could manipulate them into sounding like something else by experimenting with changing the pitch.

Once I had deconstructed these examples I started my experiment by deciding what objects I would use to create my sounds and then went and recorded them. The objects that I used were a bell, and a skateboard.

When I was editing the bell I lowered to pitch to make it sound heavier and I also slowed the tempo down a bit to make it sound more ominous and frighting.

With the skateboard I knocked on it with my knuckles and then when I was editing it I decided to see if I could make the knocking sound like a gun shot. To do this I used the reverb tool in Audacity and changed the values in it and I also added an echo to it.

I also used the skateboard to create the sounds of footsteps on a wooden floor. I did this by placing my foot on and off the skateboard.

After I had recorded and edited these sounds I discovered a tutorial on how I could edit my voice to make it sound demonic. I did this by recording my voice and putting it in an audio track and then duplicating it twice. On the first duplicate I changed the semitones of the pitch to -5, and on the second duplicate I changed this to -25. Then on the first duplicate I added an echo and set the delay time to 0.1. I then went to reverb and left the settings the same.
The effect this has is it creates a voice that has a menacing echo and tone to it which creates fear.

Sci-fi experiment
For my sci-fi sound experiment I wanted sounds that might be heard on a spaceship so I looked at sounds from Star Trek and Star Wars to deconstruct.

From Star Trek I deconstructed how to Warp Drive sound was made for the 2009 film. The sound used in that film is similar to the sound used in the older Star Tek TV episodes as it was made in a similar way by sound designer Ben Burtt getting a test oscillator and putting it through a plate reverb chamber, as he wanted it to have the same feel as the original sound.

For Star Wars I looked at how the sound a TIE fighter makes as it flies past. I learnt that those sounds were made from a combination of elephants shrieking and cars passing by through puddles. Ben Burtt then combined these sounds and originally thought they would be used for blasters but then discovered that they worked well for TIE fighters.

After I had done this I selected the object that I wanted to use because I thought the sounds they produced could be made into something from a spaceship. The objects I used were a bell, a bottle of coke, a vibrating massager and plastic inflatable, and a bucket and nail.

To create the sound of a blaster being fired I used the phaser tool in Audacity and changed the values of the stages, LFO frequency, depth, and feedback to make it sound futuristic.

With the coke bottle I shook it up and then recorded me opening it and thought the sound of the air escaping sounded like a door of a spaceship being opened.

I used the vibrating massager to create different kinds of engine sounds to act as the hum of the engine when standing in the ship. I made the different noises by putting it against different objects and have it vibrate against them and then I lowered the pitch in Audacity.

I also created an alarm using the bell by increasing the pitch and using the phaser tool.

From these experiments I have learned how famous sounds were created for horror and sci-fi films and how those sounds can be made just by using normal objects and then editing things like the pitch and tempo of them or combining them with other sounds. I have also learnt more about the tools in Audacity as before I had not used many of them, such as reverb and phaser but now I have used those tools in different ways and have gained knowledge on how I could use them again in the future for my FMP.

Kunkes, M. (2009) From the guild: MORE SOUND TREKKING WITH BEN BURTT. Available at: http://www.editorsguild.com/FromTheGuild.cfm?FromTheGuildid=68 (Accessed: 24 February 2017).
Milani, M. (2016) Ben Burtt about the genesis of the TIE fighter sounds. Available at: http://usoproject.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/ben-burtt-about-genesis-of-tie-fighter.html (Accessed: 24 February 2017).
Hoen, T. (2012) Did You Hear That? Nightmare on Elm Street Foley Artist Gary Hecker Reveals How Horror Movies’ Scariest Sound Effects Are Made. Available at: https://www.wheretowatch.com/2012/10/did-you-hear-that-nightmare-on-elm-street-foley-artist-gary-hecker-reveals-how-horror-movies-scariest-sound-effects-are-made/ (Accessed: 24 February 2017).
information, forget stored (2010) Team FYC: ‘World war Z’ for sound mixing – Blog. Available at: http://thefilmexperience.net/blog/2013/11/25/team-fyc-world-war-z-for-sound-mixing.html (Accessed: 24 February 2017).
Phillips, G. (2016) 5 amazing sound FX you can easily make using audacity. Available at: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-amazing-sound-fx-can-make-audacity/ (Accessed: 24 February 2017).
WILLIAMS, O. (2015) The secrets behind 44 classic cinema sound effects. Available at: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/cinema-sound-secrets-foley-artist/ (Accessed: 24 February 2017).





One thought on “Unit 12 Weeks 4 and 5- Experimentation and Fear

  1. Liam, I am afraid that this is a very rudimentary discussion of your work for these two weeks and does not provide enough detail on what you were doing and its purpose. You must make sure that you provide a proper introduction detailing why you were undertaking these tasks. Remember that you were deconstructing examples of media products that have used the theme of fear in order to develop your understanding of how creators use and experiment with materials, processes, techniques and tools. This was intended to give you greater insight before conducting your own experiment – you must be clear on this! Your reflection and evaluation are rather limited in terms of what you learned. You have not really discussed materials, processes, techniques and tools would have been used, but seem to rely on guess work. You could and should have investigated sound design and I would suggest the work of Ben Burtt as a starting point. There is plenty of documentation of his work online and this would have told you exactly how he created particular sounds, which would have been invaluable for your sci-fi experiment.
    Furthermore, there is no evidence of your experiments here! Where are the sound clips? Where are the annotated screen shots of your process? You MUST maintain the habit of documenting your work fully and providing evidence of it on your blog. Please address this issues as a matter of urgency.


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