Looking into the psychology of Sound Design and Foley you start to realise that we are being fooled by many aspects on the cinematic screen. Take for example the scene shown above from the film ‘Barbarian Sound Studio‘ which is a British Horror film directed by Peter Strickland – a look into 1970s horror behind the scenes productions. In this clip we see the cabbage being stabbed in a natural motion by the foley artist, we hear the sound of a dreaded synthesiser in the background along with a female screaming for her life giving the impression she is getting horribly butchered. Comically what we are actually watching though is a film inside a film. The sounds we hear from this particular scene are not the sounds you hear from this particular film. It could be said that their is an audio illusions going on within the cinematic screen especially within this scene which is quite possibly what Peter Strickland set out to achieve.
You could start to wonder what is genuine sound on screen and what we might consider an audio illusion?
Old Methods V New Methods
The wind machine has it’s origins in a time before sound effects were even thought possible. It’s a pratical hand operated device for making the sound of howling wind. It’s not really seen these days and because of the availability of sound effects the practical sound effect generator is rarely used. The action of the device determines some level of control over the effect by using the lever to speed up or slow down the effect. The thunder sheet is another old style sound effect. A sheet of thin steel plate which is flexible enough to strenuously bend in order to create the thunder style sound. Although this old method gives somewhat a sky-breaking sound – foley artists and sound designers would believe the modern day approach of going outside and recording your own thunder sound will give you a much better result, listen below:
A Mini Sound Experiment
- Set out to record and create sounds based on some instructions & principles.
- Instructions to follow: Natural > Illusion > Layering > Surprise.
- Create a theme for your short sound design.
- Based your design on the simple instructions.
- Have a listen to the sounds below:
Many Thanks to the Freelance concept artist / Illustrator Taker Homma for permission of providing me with the Robot character (Featured home Image) at the top of the page. To check out the website & work of Taker Homma, Please visit the website below: www.takumer.com
Many Thanks to Justin Egli for providing me with his artistic Robot style image linked to sound cloud above. Please visit the website below: www.ikimasho.net