Soundtrack 1 – The Follower

In the first soundscape I made for the animation, it follows a character walking around a dangerous area.  He then begins being followed by a monster.  The main thing I was trying to highlight in this soundtrack is the footsteps and breathing of the character and also the monster.  This piece is used to represent the emotion of fear through a soundtrack.  There was initially a geiger counter, which worked in the test before the animation was finished, but after importing it to the animation it did not seem to translate well, so it was removed from the final piece.  The issue with the geiger counter is that, unless you know the sound off the top of your head, this just sounds like random clicking throughout the piece.

There is an audio track to represent the characters footsteps.  I have also used a deeper, louder footstep for the monster.  There is also an auxiliary reverb that these sounds were sent to, making them sound as if they were outdoors.  Both footsteps are on gravel, and sound pretty rough which make the environment seem more ominous.  It’s effective in this way as you associate a gravelly area more with industrial sites or deserted areas.  For example, an abandoned building site.  There was no animation to attach the sounds of the monster too, so this must be done by the listeners imagination, the monsters footsteps are heavier and slower than the main characters, this is to show the stature of the monster compared to the character, the footsteps are concrete sounds and must be treated in reference as if the entity making the sounds would be.  At the end I have also added in the breathing sounds of both the character and monster, this is done in reference to the scene from The Blair Witch Project when the film crew are in the tent.  The breathing makes us feel more tense when we hear it.  The reason it is only added in at the end is to show that the monster is getting closer and closer, therefore the breathing would be getting louder as it approaches.  The characters breathing is only heard at the end as he is calm until the realisation of being followed, making him more and more nervous therefore breathing faster.  The monster has a deeper in pitch breathing than the character to show that it is a larger entity.  The monster breathes a lot more slowly than the character, and the character’s breathe is sharp and pronounced.  This is to show that as the character is being followed they are becoming more and more scared which will increase his heart rate, therefore increasing his rate of breathing, whereas the monster remains calm.  They have both been panned accordingly so that you hear the character in one ear and the monster in the other.  The footsteps are also panned accordingly.  The whole piece actually increases in tempo towards the end to highlight the fear of being followed, the tempo increases by 25BPM over roughly 10 bars to build the tension.  It suggests that the character’s vital systems are all increasing as they most likely would when being followed by something unknown, just like they would in the real world.  Throughout the piece I have also used a sample of crows found on Ableton, added with a lot of reverb gives us an ominous outdoors atmosphere, harking back to Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’.  The crow caw is defined and loud, and fades out slowly.  There is a musical sequence introduced 27 bars in which is high pitched and jarring, the instrument plays a sequence of 4 notes, two times, which will last until the end of the animation.  The musical sequence was made using a virtual instrument I created within Ableton Live, called the dream pad.  It was first made in third year for a different project but felt its application was effective here with only a few tweaks.  This music is created to insight fear, though it is closer to sound design than music due to its long drawn out screeching notes.  When the holes pass the character on the ground, I have recorded some evil whispers to make the listener uneasy.  The whispers hark back to many horror movies where the characters in the movie hear voices in their head, mostly of ghosts and evil spirits, this is why it makes us feel uneasy.  It is because we associate these whispers with ghosts.  This animation and soundtrack was made to make the viewer feel scared, and I feel I have done that effectively.


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