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I have to design the sounds of a creature made of shadow for an horror short film. The sounds will be melted in a cemetery background. We only see it for 1 or 2 seconds at the end, so the sounds must be intriguing, and slowly create tension through the scene.

Any ideas, advices, or movie examples ?

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I would record wind sounds with different pitches. After that load the sounds onto a sampler and use pitch bends to create a layered doppler effect so that it sounds like the creature is moving back and forwards towards the audience.

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It always depends on how heavy-handed you want the moment to be. If it's a more subtle gesture (less slasher thriller, more psychological), try performing a similar effect that Iain suggests with the other backgrounds in the scene. For instance, if the cemetery has crickets or a roomtone of its own, try distorting/pitch shifting those sounds as the creature goes by. Using the normal diagetic sounds gives the sense that the presence of the creature messes with reality.

Good luck!

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If it's an ethereal creature without a solid physical body then I probably would start with micking up some different fans and ventilation-systems (as worn and gritty as humanly possible), as well as vocalize lots of very whispery/breathy noises and half-words!

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Good start point, thanks! – Simon Lebel Aug 24 '12 at 12:58

A creature made of shadow? "Ah-WOOOOOOOOOO! Shaka chaka chaka chaka."

Maybe not.

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Wow, I missed this one :D But it sounds really too big to be ethereal I think. – Simon Lebel Aug 24 '12 at 13:03

I can't remember the sound exactly per se, but there was an episode of the X-Files about deadly shadows called "Soft Light", I remember it had a lot of creepy atmospheric sound typical to the series. Another technique that seems to work well for tension of this sort is a sort of high-pitched metal groan with reverb, you can hear it around 0:24-0:25 in this clip:

Good luck!

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I worked on a feature called shadow people and I ended up using the moogerfrooger app DI into my protools session and messed with the output gain to create crazy feedbacks. Worked really well.

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