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.
Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:
Save on 100s of superb sound effects libraries here
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.
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.
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:
License agreement for users of Sound Examples downloaded through A SOUND EFFECT (www.asoundeffect.com) (as “Distributor”).
This end user license agreement (the “Agreement”) is entered into between you, a single user natural person (the “Licensee”), who has downloaded one or more Sound Examples through the Distributor, and the creator or creators of these Sound Examples (the “Licensor”). For multi-user licenses, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Agreement covers one or more Sound Examples downloaded by the Licensee via the Distributor.
The Licensor is the creator or creators of the Sound Examples, stated as such in the downloaded file(s) (“File”) the Licensee receives after registering with a valid email address and name.
By downloading, the Licensee accepts this EULA and agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions set out in this EULA and the EULA’s with similar terms for each Licensor in the File. Any files or material included in the File not specifically mentioned in each Licensor’s EULA is covered by the terms below. By downloading the Sound Examples, you'll also receive the A Sound Effect newsletter from time to time. You can unsubscribe from this anytime.
1. Grant of License
In consideration for the download of the Sound Examples via the Distributor, the Licensor grants the Licensee a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty free license to use the Sound Examples (“Sounds”) on the terms and conditions set out in this Agreement.
2. Rights Granted
The license granted in this agreement allows the Licensee to:
a. install and use the Sound Examples on one workstation at a time, although the Licensee is permitted to make and keep backup copies of the Sound Examples on other storage devices, and
b. distribute and publicly perform reproductions of the Sounds, where these are incorporated in and synchronized with other media productions, which shall mean products that contains at least one additional media element to the Sounds (music, voice, image, etc.), including but not limited to radio and television broadcasts, film, music compositions, web sites, podcasts, mobile apps, advertising, multi-media presentations, video games and similar.
The Licensee is not permitted to distribute or perform reproductions of the Sounds where these are not incorporated in and synchronized with other media productions, including but not limited to in toys, product design, greeting cards, ringtones, applications such as soundboards, hardware devices, media authoring tools etc.
To the furthest extension permitted by law, the Licensee is prohibited from adapting, modifying or repackaging any Sounds, except as permitted in Clause 2.
4. Intellectual property rights
All rights to the Sound Examples are owned by the Licensor and other than the license rights granted in this Agreement all rights in the Sounds and Sound Effect Libraries remain the property of the Licensor. The Licensee must not claim ownership or authorship of the Sounds or the Sound Examples.
The Licensee’s right to use the Sound Examples will automatically terminate in the event of any breach by the Licensee of the terms of this Agreement. In the event of termination, the Licensee shall delete or destroy all copies of the Sound Examples which the Licensee has produced.
The Licensee shall indemnify Licensor and Distributor from, and against any and all claims, demands, suits, awards, damages, suits, injuries, liabilities and all reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees incurred by the Licensor and the Distributor with respect to any matter that arises as a result of the Licensee’s breach of this Agreement.
Licensor and/or Distributor shall not be liable for any damages or for any loss of business or business profits, business interruption, or any other direct or indirect loss resulting directly or indirectly from the use of any of Licensor’s Sounds.
To the furthest extension permitted by law, the Licensee must not assign, license, sublicense, sell or otherwise assign the Sounds to any third party, except as set out in Clause 2.B.
9. Applicable Law
This Agreement is governed by the law of Denmark without giving effect to the Uniform Law on the International Sale of Goods and the Uniform Law on the Formation of Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.