I'm working on a sci fi short film right now. One of the major elements in the film is a machine that keeps people from dying. Upon death, the soul leaves the body, stays in a "test" room, and the machine sucks it back into the person, preventing death.

The main mechanical function of the machine is to power large underground rotors that generate the energy needed to keep the soul from entering the gates of heaven or hell (depends if you're good or bad!) It powers up, releases an energy burst, then powers down.

So far, I have a combination of my own recordings/ signal generator fx and library effects. It's sounding kind of generic right now due to the amount of library effects, and I'm looking for things to record to enhance or replace what I have now.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can record for the power up sequence? I live in Los Angeles.



I'd start with some servos - even small ones. things like cameras, vehicle seats and windows, etc.

then use liberal pitch moves and eqs to shape them into something cool. add low end or alternatively lop everything under 10k off, etc.

Pitch moves from low to high and vice versa will yield great startup shut down sounds.

choruses and flanges work well too.

with the organic stuff done, break out some synths and fill in the sonic holes. Synth work can be great for adding weight or complexity to otherwise simple sounds that work as anchors.

  • @Rene- Thanks! I will experiment with your suggestions, especially playing with some synth sounds.
    – Dan2997
    Oct 3 '11 at 16:56

Record some ocean sounds and manipulate the samples. It might help to record some organic sounds due to the nature of the soul. Pitch moves do yield great startup shutdown sounds.

  • Thanks Chris. Funny... that's actually what I'm doing tomorrow.
    – Dan2997
    Oct 3 '11 at 21:15
  • You could try recording through tubes sticking into the water. I still remember one time I recorded a band, and I recorded 2 sm57's pointed toward the amp through cardboard "christmas paper" tubes.
    – ChrisSound
    Oct 4 '11 at 6:33
  • @Chris (are there two here?) How did the tube recordings sound?
    – Dan2997
    Oct 4 '11 at 7:15

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