I'm currently working on a project which involves a character becoming possessed by one of the other characters who at this point is deceased.

My initial thoughts related to the combination of two voices in order to create the sound of the possessed voice, like they did in the exorcist. My only problem is that neither characters share any similar dialogue apart from one word. Also, ADR isn't an option for project.

Does anyone have any advice or can recommend some clever pieces of software to make the possessed characters voice sound similar in tonality to the other characters.


8 Answers 8


Nothing really apart from fooling around with "AVOX Throat" IMHO.

It's going to be really tough to try to accomplish that without ADR. I'd really suggest strongly seeing how you can go that route.

Also, did the actor deliver the lines in a different timbre than his/her regular lines before the possession? That alone would be cause for ADR in my opinion - just because I believe that the actor's performance is everything. The performance is the cake. The reverb, flange, vocoder, effects us mixers put on top of the performance is just the icing on the cake. The real stuff comes from the actor originally. Ever try to eat just frosting straight out of the container? Not as good as having really nice fluffy cake under it... :)

  • 2
    +1 for the cake metaphor. Everything can be explained with a cake metaphor. I also agree that, while it's a good idea, you won't really be able to accomplish it without re-recording dialogue. Our ears are very sensitive to nuances in the human voice that can't be artificially recreated. Mar 2, 2012 at 19:31

Layering multiple pitch shifted voices can sometimes be effective, especially if you vary the balance continuously.


i completely agree. had i been involved in the production of the film i would have started this section of sound design on set with delivery of the actresses lines. unfortunatly the film haf no crew members soley responsible or knowledgable of production sound. they actually recorded all the sound using portable handheld recorders, some placed rather poorly on set during takes and some taped to boom poles...

i'm having to just make do with whats available.

So if i dont have much of a chance of accomplishing the above with out ADR, anyone got any good tips for scary possession sounding effects... i would really like to avoid the cliched pitch shifted down voice :)

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    One effect i've been messing around with is using Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch (free if you don't have it, just google it) to stretch a line 8x, then using Time Compression in Pro Tools to bring it back to the correct length. Layer the processed line with the original line. When it works, it can sound pretty creepy. Mar 2, 2012 at 20:20
  • thanks, i'll give that plugin and technique a shot tonight Mar 2, 2012 at 20:26
  • You PC users are sooo lucky. There's nothing like that for Mac, that I know of.
    – g.a.harry
    Mar 29, 2012 at 14:09
  • Someone posted a question about pauls extreme sound stretch on here, theres a link to a mac based version in it. Bit buggy but its still very useable! Apr 3, 2012 at 17:32
  • I have Paulstretch for mac, it seems to work fine. Apr 4, 2012 at 5:48

I would also try to include elements of both characters. However seeing that no text matches, you may have to recreate it. I would try reversing dialogue from the deceased character and editing it tightly insuring the timing matches up perfectly. You can also use automation to follow all of the formants in the regular voice. Doing it this way you are free to choose what sounds best as opposed to what the character is saying, basically creating a sound library out of it. Keeping the possessed characters tone intact, you should be able to tweak the eq enough to be seamless and automate waves ultra pitch (or any pitch plug-in) if or when you need the character to sound even crazier.

This may be a time consuming process, but if can't get an ADR session might as well salvage what you can!


You could try Izotope RX partials and noise spectral repair. Put one character on one side and the other one on the other, morph, see what you come up with. The guys at the Izotope booth during GDC let me know about that one about a way to morph. I have not tried it yet.

  • I love Izotope RX. I know exactly what you are talking about. Funny thing, I never thought to use it as an effect! Thanks for sharing! Apr 1, 2012 at 5:55

Following on from Alexandre Saba's good advice. If you have dialogue from both characters then you can cut up what you do have and match up phonemes. You could then use quick crossfades, spectral morphing or pitch alteration to blend them together. It would not be a complete blend but a flickering in an out of the dead characters voice. The phonemes could also be stretched and delayed to give an possessed echo

AVOX throat is good, as too is Antares Talk box or something similar. Using your cut up phonemes again you could use Talkbox to bleed the two together. Also some brassage effects from Cecilia or Soundhack might add some background.

Hope that helps

I would agree with the others better more natural results would be had by getting new recordings. Best



@Richard Have you tried making the ADR yourself?

You could add some kind of specific gasp or gulps or something to the character (B) that will later on possess character (a), so later on you begin adding this gasps or whatever sound to the character(a) who is starting to get possessed, so one can think like: "hey, that's new, I thought only character (B) had that weird gulp when speaking"...and later its like: " Oh ofcourse! character (a) was getting possessed so that's why he started doing the same throat noises as the other guy".


Hey everyone, thanks for the good advice! I managed to throw something together in the end using pauls extreme stretch and various other effects. Sounds quite good to my ears. Having just spoken to the people who made the film (I'm only working on it as a university project) they actually got the person who plays the dead character to come in a do ADR so hopefully i'll get hold of that at some point, problem solved!

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