Asbjoern Andersen


I love horror movies, so when I spotted Ryan Thompson’s award-winning short, Play Time, I decided to investigate a little further. It won the 1st price in the ‘Bloody Cuts – Who’s There Film Challenge’ – and it won the award for best sound as well. I got in touch with Ryan to hear more about how he created the sound – and you’ll find his exclusive insights below. But first, let’s have a look at the short and what the jury said about it:
 

Video Thumbnail
What the jury said:
Here’s what Bloody Cuts’ judge Phil Lee said about the winning sound:
“We have made our decision and we have both agreed on ‘Play Time’ as our Sound Award Winner. This film really stood out in its quality of execution and sonic decisions. Very well thought-out design, clean, great dynamics, married with the picture and story development perfectly and most of all, had the big scare factor!! Loved the TV static design with the disturbing screams, could have been really overwhelming and harsh in an annoying way but was shaped and mixed really well.”
 

Hi Ryan, please introduce yourself:

Hello, I am a young film maker who recently won the international ‘Bloody Cuts – Who’s There’ challenge with my short ‘Play Time’, which also won Best Sound. Being an independent film maker, I have to tackle each area of film making from pre to post production by myself; this allowed me to develop my sound design and music production skills.

Sound design is very important to me and I always try and give it 110% on every project I create. It is such a fundamental element that cannot be overlooked, so I am always trying to hone that skill and get better with each and every film I work on.
 

How did you come up with the idea for Play Time, and how early did you start thinking about the sound?

I was originally going down to Oxford (UK) to shoot with the actors involved for a different project, but the night before I left, I found out about the ‘Bloody Cuts – Who’s There’ competition. After they told me that they would like to be involved, I quickly wrote the concept.

I knew I wanted it to be paranormal as I hadn’t really attempted that genre before, and I wanted quite a bit of activity to go on so I knew that sound would be really important.

I think I always have an idea of how I want the sound even in pre-production, and in the past I often make the music before I actually film anything. I didn’t have time to do that with Play Time but my original ideas for the sound were very close to the final result.

My original ideas for the sound were very close to the final result.

 

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How did you approach the sound for the Play Time, and how did you go about creating it?

The sound design is one of my favourite stages in post production, and it helps to take a lot of time on it, as it can make or break any film. Once ‘Play Time’ was cut together I began working on the sound. I wanted the tone to reflect the scene and for it to slowly build, so I knew I wanted subtle ambience and some faint pulsing bass/drums.

I built up the initial sounds around the beats in the film as there are sections of almost silence, and others that are overwhelming and chaotic. I wanted to try and achieve a sense of organised chaos; as the paranormal activity in the room increases, I wanted the sounds to overlap, build up, attack each other etc.

I wanted to try and achieve a sense of organised chaos

In specific cases like the record player music, I wanted them to be off key to purposely give an uneasy feeling, but I also didn’t want everything to clash and be inaudible.
For instance you can still hear the subtle trickles of blood on the painting of the hare, even though a crescendo of sounds carries on. So it was really about messing with it till it felt right and worked well with the visuals.
 

What were some of tools and libraries you used to create the sound?

All of the Foley – i.e. footsteps, bed creaks, door bangs etc -, I recorded later in my home with the Tascam DR-40, which I also used with the actress to dub her audio in. I have a lot of FX libraries and packs of both horror and cinematic sounds, so I always go through and listen to them and choose the right ones for the part. I recommend packs/sounds from primeloops and pond5, to name a few.

A lot of the music was from videocopilot’s Pro Scores, but the main drums in the short were pulled from a song I made a couple years ago which I then distorted and reversed to add an uneasy tension. And the songs on the record player were originals from me and the actress which again I reversed, pitched and distorted.
 

Any tips and ideas for other filmmakers out there when it comes to horror sound?

Sound is so important! As I said before it can make or break a film so really spend a lot of time and effort on tweaking it and getting it right. It needs to flow and tell the story by itself, the visuals should just be seen as a backup.

The effect music has on someone is very powerful and can instil fear or generate inspiration. Creating the right piece to reflect the story being told is critical and boosts the film as a whole so much more so cannot be overlooked.

You will know when it is done, or when something doesn’t fit in right, so it is all about listening and working on it until it works seamlessly with the visuals.
 

You’re working on a new project which relies heavily on sound design as well. Can you share a few details on what that’s about?

I guess the best way to describe this new short is ‘neo-noir’. It is very different from anything I have done before, and for this the sound design will need to really carry the energy of the film. It has no on-screen dialogue, so the audio itself will be used to reflect the scene and it’s pulses. The audio itself will be surreal/dream-like with subtle elements of reality dispersed throughout; it will definitely be an interesting project to work on. This will be released soon for the ‘My Rode Reel – International film competition’.

 

Please share this:


 

Thanks to Ryan Thompson’s for giving this behind-the-scenes peek at the sound for his award-winning horror short! You can find out more about him and his work at the VFXProductions page.

 
 
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  • Environments Rare Winds Play Track 102 sounds included, 233 mins total $149 $74.50

    From all 4 earth’s corners, air streamlines the environment and shapes our stories. Discover the cinematic world of rare winds!


    This sound library is the ultimate achievement of a really ambitious project of recording winds from very remote places across the world.

    Included are authentic recordings from the Boreal region (North hemisphere: in Canada and Iceland), from the Austral region (South hemisphere: Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and the Last Hope province in Chile), on Islands in Mediterranean region (Thira in Greece), in the Sahara desert (Marocco), Isle-aux-Grues (Canadian winter), and more (see file list for more details)


    These were recorded either in urban settings, countryside, or complete wilderness.

    Included is a set of useful synthesized, tonal, and designed winds.

    The sounds are categorized into 3 folders: Designed, Indoor & Outdoor.

    WHAT’S INSIDE:

    • 102 stereo files
    • Highly focused and meticulously edited sounds
    • Ready to use Loop
    • Urban area and Wild area
    • Useful Designed & Synthesized Wind Sounds
    • Recordings from the Boreal region (North) in Iceland & Canada
    • Recordings from the Austral region (South) in Argentina & Chile
    • Recordings from Islands in Greece & Canada
    • Recordings from the desert in Marocco
    • Abandonned houses and shelters
    • Marina, lake, forest, car, flags, arctic, metal pole, prairie, street, mountain, grass, …
    50 %
    OFF
    Ends 1574463599
    Add to cart
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    This bundle includes 4 different libraries.

    The Baltic Sea sound library is compilation of 56 WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, Sony PCM-M10, two Oktavas MK012 set in MS, XY and ORTF setup. All the sounds were recorded far away from the cities and roads. Since most of the sounds were recorded in late winter, there are no insects or birds in background. There are few files that includes the sound of birds, but I left them on purpose, because of the overall feel of the files. In this library you will find beautiful sound of waves crushing on the rocks and shore, recorded from different perspectives in different stereo configurations, during calm and windy days. In addition to those sounds, there’s foley like walking, running and swimming in the water.

    The Harbours Of Norway sound library features 25 files with ambients recorded in Myre, Sto and Nyksund, very small towns with direct access to the sea. Most of the sound effects were recorded at night, but since it’s a polar day time of the year, it was very pleasurable to walk and look for convenient places to set up my gear. Everything was recoded with ORTF setup built from two Sennheisers MKH 8040. Inside this library, you’ll find a lot of seagulls, waves crushing on the rocks and plants, windy ambients from the cliff, industrial sound from port in Myre with ship unloading the cargo, walla with steam engine boat and additional sounds from boat engine market and air cooling aggregates from food containers. Every file was recorded in 96kHz, edited (i removed any unintentional bumps, pops and unwanted sounds). I limited EQing to removing harsh frequencies, or enhancing a little bit the good sounding ones. At the end of the chain there is a small compression, for louder sounds.

    The Summer Ambients sound library contains 33 beautiful WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, two Oktavas MK012 in MS and stereo XY pattern. All sounds were gathered in different and beautiful places like forests, lakes, meadows or swamps. You can expect amazing ambients, textures, different birds, insects, forest during rain, calm and windy days. It’s a perfect library for designing background sounds. Everything was recorded in amazing Masuria in Poland.

    Summer ambients Update – library got 2x bigger and heavier than the original library. 59 additional files, 123 minutes of high quality audio recorded with Sennheiser MKH 8040 ORTF setup, Rode NTG3, Oktava MK012 XY setup plugged into SD702 and Sony PCM-10. It features ambients from the forests, ponds, swamps, meadows, lakes and suburbs recorded is very quiet locations, mostly just before the sunrise, during the day and before sunset far away from the cities.

    Water Flow sound library took me about six months to record, consumed about 15 thermoses of tea and 42 litres of gasoline to get to all locations. It offers 90 BWAV files recorded in different locations. Huge part of this library is based on the recording sessions on the rivers. Two completely different locations, recorded regularly for the last 5 months allowed me to create this unique sound library. Most of the recording sessions took place during winter just before the sun was rising to reduce the amount of unwanted sounds. Almost all recordings are completely clear and only few have birds in background, since it was my intention to record some location ambients with natural backgrounds.

    You can see the metadata and sound list below.

    50 %
    OFF
    Ends 1574463599
    Add to cart
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    • Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI – 73 files – 73 minutes
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    50 %
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    • Triumph 600cc Dual Fuel Injection
    • Aprillia RST 1000cc Futura
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    As usual, we meticulously edited, mastered and embedded the files with metadata. This collection is priced to move, so don’t hesitate. If you’re tired of the your same old UI inspiration, Ui Two from The Library by Empty Sea is a great addition to your library.

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    Got a whole bunch of roaring car engine sounds but then realised that you’re not equipped with all of the boring stuff like:

    car door handles, seatbelts, turn signal, air vents, buttons and switches, seats, storage compartments, horns, windows, pedals (gas, brake, clutch), handbrakes wend

    and all other Car Interior sound effects? Well then.. look no further! This is just the pack for you.
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    20 %
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    With the ultimate flexibility of different microphone positions, single and ensemble hits, flams and swells using various drums and beaters, you couldn’t be better equipped to design huge blockbuster and trailer hits – or simply place ready-to-use DESIGNED sounds into your timeline and feel the earth shake.

    CINEMATIC STRIKES – CONSTRUCTION KIT:

    FLEXIBLE SOUND DESIGN TOOLKIT

    The Construction Kit offers you one of the most comprehensive drum hit packages ever recorded. Carefully planned to satisfy and complement every spot in the frequency range, you will never run out of low end booms, aggressive cracks, mid-range body impacts, reverberant tails and excellent sweeteners to top it off.

    PERSPECTIVE & RHYTHM

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    CINEMATIC STRIKES – DESIGNED:

    MAXIMUM PUNCH – AND THEN SOME

    CINEMATIC STRIKES – Designed is what you get when layering and processing Construction Kit sounds BOOM Library style.

    From rumbling low-end BOOMS, soft and natural sounding WHOOSH HITS to aggressive, frontal CRACKS and PUNCHES, the Designed library showcases what’s possible, while saving precious time and budget on a tight schedule.

    This package is particularly useful for filmmakers and trailer sound designers.


    Files: 108 • Sounds: 432 • Size: 1.4 GB

    CINEMATIC STRIKES BUNDLE:

    THE BUNDLE – The best of both worlds at a discounted price.
    The Bundle gives you the full sound design power as it contains both – the DESIGNED and the CONSTRUCTION KIT edition at a discounted price.


    Files: 726 • Sounds: 4140 • Size: 14.6 GB
    Included sounds – keywords:

    BASS DRUM, BOOM, BOX, CAJON, CONCERT TOM, CRACK, CRASH, DAIKO, DOUBLE HIT, ENSEMBLE, FLAM, FOOT, GONG, HARD BEATER, HIT, JAM BLOCK, KICK, KODO, LOG, MALLET, BIN, PUNCH, ROLL, SINGLE, SNARE, SOFT BEATER, SPLASH, STICKS, STOMP, SWEETENER, SWELL, TABLA, TAIKO, TAMBORA, THUNDER SHEET, TOM, WHIP, WHOOSH HIT, WOOD PERCUSSION, WOODBLOCK
    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1575500399
 
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