Sound Design for Horror Film Clip – The Quiet Zone

Link: https://unsplash.com/search/photos/horror

DESIGNERS

  • Stephenson Ngoda
  • Jenna Lin
  • Ummukulthum Ibrahim (Ummi)
  • Dang Viet Toan (Dino)

CONCEPT

We initially wanted to do a soundscape for an action movie. However, after receiving feedback from our supervisor, we decided to switch our concept up a bit. After deliberating amongst ourselves, we became stuck on creating a sound design for a horror film or a horror soundscape design. Eventually, we decided to focus on sound design for a horror film clip. This was because, with the film, we could incorporate a number of techniques together with the visual image that would pass across our intended message proficiently.

The Film clip we decided on, is an 8-minute long Horror clip. Our goal as sound designers for this project is to create a 9-minute horror sound design. One that is not generic horror and engages the viewers from the get-go. Using typical horror film ideas to create a technique that is different from the original soundscape of the film.

Mood Board

EXECUTION

We incorporated some of the techniques we learnt from class such as:

  1. ADR (Automated dialogue replacement)
  2. Music  – Background and Foreground
  3. Sound effect – Foley, Horror Effects and Techniques

We watched the clip a few times to decide where we would be inputting sounds and effects. Afterwards, we listed out the various sounds we would need to record or gather to execute the project the way we wanted. We did research on the various horror film techniques and sound types to understand the requirement for this genre. Horror films rely heavily on sound to create a scary scene. It sets the mood, suggests how events will unfold and can be used to trigger fear. Hence, we were very particular about the kinds of sounds we used and the effects and techniques we applied while editing. Some of the techniques we applied are:

Horror Music

“Music that is able to describe the impending violence or horror occurring in the scene. “

  • Creates an atmosphere for the film
  • Allows audience to predict what happens
  • Understand what the character is feeling
  • Describe the innermost feelings of character

Rapid Sound Sequence

This conveys feelings of stress and panic. It results in audience feeling stressed and anxious. This was applied when the protagonist (the lady) was being followed by the antagonist in the tunnel.

On/Off Screen Sound

“Sound effect used include, foot steps, echo voices and heartbeat, creepy sound”

  • Allows audience to establish the genre
  • Create tension within the scene
  • Key to highlight moment
  • Help audience experience the mystery of the film.

Long Suspenseful Notes

This increases audiences anxiety levels as the tension gradually increases. We contrasted this using a jump scare sound to shock the audience or destabilize them when certain scary or non -scary events arose.

Voices/Dialogue (ADR)

We incorporate various recorded voices to reflect fear, tension as well as panic. For example, voices of a lady screaming, voice over for the antagonist, and dialogue for the protagonist.

Afterwards, we split the sounds amongst ourselves and went out to gather and record them.  

Who is responsible for each sound ?

DINO – Phone message sound, phone ring sound, texting phone, horror music, writing on paper, manic whistle.

UMMI – Hysterical laughing, seek assistance beep – with a funny sound, jump scare.

JENNA – Female sigh, Tap card, Key sound, Dropping paper, Drop of water, Muffled scream, female dialogue.

STEPHENSON – Train sounds, beeping, male dialogue, creepy ambience, heel sounds, heartbeat.

Stephenson

I was in charge of recording sounds like the girl’s footsteps, all train sounds, beeping (tap card), phone sounds(texting and alerts) and the voicer for the villain at the end. For the phone sounds, I used an android Samsung to create the texting sound and all the alerts like a message tone as well as the ringing tone. For the Skytrain sounds, I travelled on the Skytrain for roughly 10-15 mins in order to get all the sounds we need, like the doors opening and closing as well as the movement.

Jenna Lin

I was primarily working on the voice over of the protagonist. The very fun part of doing the voice over is putting myself in the scenario of the film. I found the best way to achieve the sound effect we want is to actually imitate the action of the protagonist. For example, when she fell on the floor and where she stabs the perpetrator’s hand. For most of the sounds, I recorded at least twice until I finally achieved the best version I could. The most challenging part would be monologues/ dialogues. At the end where she screams “Adam” were attempted 5 times but I think it could be better.

Ummi Ibrahim

I worked on creating the hysterical sound. It was a bit overwhelming at first but after a few tries, I was able to pull through. I did a little research on jump scares and found a few samples we could incorporate into our sound design. I also helped with cross-checking the final piece to ensure it passed on our intended message and the overall look and feel.

Dino Viet

I was primarily working on the edit asides from the sounds that I gathered. It was interesting to put together. But at the same time, it was exhausting, considering the continuous cross-checking and going over to ensure it came out the way we planned.

After gathering, we stripped off the original sound from the clip and imported into Adobe Premiere. In Adobe Premiere, we edited, created effects and mixed our various sounds, while incorporating the various techniques we learned to arrive at the final piece.

DATA

43 recordings were created throughout the film. 32 were used in the actual design, 19 recordings are for breathing and panting sounds, 11 recordings for movement sounds, 2 recordings for dialogues.

Original Clip and Sound:

Trailer for our concept:

Final Sound Design For Horror Film Clip:

REMARKS

We had a really fun time working on this project. It was a new experience and we were excited to go through with it. It was a bit challenging with the techniques, editing and application. The ADR was the most challenging considering we had to match it with the video. For future solutions, we would work better on the ADR and a few missing pieces that would help tighten up the project better.

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