Scary Soundscape Revised

I’ve received a few pointers from my peers on how I could revise Scary Soundscape 1 to have a better impact on the listener. Below are a few screenshots of the feedback form they filled out in relation to my soundscape.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 12.06.13 pm

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 12.06.28 pm

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 12.05.54 pm

This was the general gist of the feedback I received. The following is a list of the changes I made to the original soundscape, Scary Soundscape 1 in response to this feedback:

  • Brought attack scene forward about 0.5 seconds i.e. monster sounds and scream at the end.
  • Turned the scream up a couple dB.
  • For some reason the audio files for ‘the beep’ track were missing when I reopened the session. I found a similar sample online to replace it with so it only sounds a little bit different. I also made use of some panning on the five beeps, bringing them from the left to the front of the listener then across to the right. This gives a bit more movement to the soundscape.
Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 1.00.58 pm
Freshly panned beeps
  • I added a couple more sound samples from freesound.org to give the soundscape a bit more interest. One of them is a weird alien sound that I pitched down to sound even weirder (starts at 0:29). The other was a weird, fuzzy demon voice sample that I thought was quite appropriate especially considering the Event Horizon spaceship (from the movie) actually visits hell in another dimension and then returns to our dimension in a fucked up condition (sound sample starts at 1:15).
  • I turned up the rumble sound at 0:35 for a bit more dynamic interest.

I feel that the changes I’ve made have definitely improved the soundscape’s effect on the listener in terms of ‘scariness’. The changes have also given it more substance, particularly the added sound effects and the more interesting dynamics.

As stated in a previous blog titled Scary Soundscape, we were to take our influence for this project from the sound design of the film Event Horizon. As a class we identified a few key elements of the sound design. A few of the ones I took on board and are evident in my soundscape are:

  • Synthesized – The film is set in space so of course the sound designer has gone for a synthesized feel. Most of my soundscape is synthesized. As soon as it starts you definitely know that you’re not on earth.
  • Predictable – Though the start of Scary Soundscape 2 (and it’s predecessor Scary Soundscape 1) leave the listener a bit uncertain as to where they are and what’s going to happen, a climax becomes VERY obvious to the listener at 1:26. The climax is quite a big one so it’s obvious it’s going to end in something shocking.
  • Cheesy – like the predictability discussed above, I’ve included this aspect of Event Horizon with my soundscape’s cheesy ending featuring the monster and the screaming and the gory chewing sounds.
  • Bass drops – There is a bass drop (of sorts) at 1:30 in the soundscape.

It was quite a few weeks ago that we watched the film and discussed its sound design. The concept and setting of the film are completely different to the concept and setting of my soundscape though I found upon watching it a second time that quite a few of the synthesized sounds I created are very similar to sounds found in the film. Also, a few times throughout the movie they watch a short video of the goings on of the Event Horizon. They see and hear chaotic, violent, hell-type activity. I didn’t intend to copy this when I revised the soundscape but the demon voice track I’ve added follows this theme very well. There are lots of beeps throughout the film – this is why I’ve included beeps in my soundscape. I also noticed that the panning is quite creative. The panning of Scary Soundscape 2 is equally as creative.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 1.01.17 pm
Crazy panning – no method used.

You could say that the sound design of Event Horizon and Scary Soundscape 2 is quite similar after listening to them both. The film’s sound isn’t as complicated as I’d originally thought. I wanted my soundscape to be similar in the way that it conveyed a theme (scariness/uncertainty) without the need for a million layers or music. I think I’ve definitely achieved this.

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