Hey all,

I'm working on my final project at school and I've run into a bit of a mental block as to how to make some sort of abstract sound for time lapse shots of flowers wilting and food rotting. I've been playing around with things like fire crackling, water boiling, various mud sounds, etc. in ProTools and Kyma. Nothing has really had the effect that I'm really looking for. Any suggestions?



  • Ended up spending all day in the foley room testing out all of these great ideas. Thanks! They all sound awesome and some a little gross. Mar 7, 2012 at 18:47

6 Answers 6


I'd go musical sounding or buy a few plants, mess with roots,leafs and stems. I would avoid any electronic sounding processing as it quickly goes artificial. Editing and timbre is crucial in timelapse shots IMHO. Digital processing less so. Pitch and filters are my main tools.

And then when you get bored with your kyma you can give it to me :)

  • I'm not sure anybody could every get bored of Kyma. ;) Mar 7, 2012 at 18:47

Try boiling something thicker than water to get a goopier sound, maybe mix with crinkling paper.

Also perhaps sprinkling dirt on different things like wax paper, tinfoil, printer paper would get you another useful layer.

I also agree with @EricG - keep to organic sounds unless you want to go completely stylistic.


If you have access to a compost pile, worm farm or local green recycling center, grab a couple of contact mics (or perhaps hydrophones would work), shove them in and let the bugs do the work for you! You should get some pretty interesting dual-mono material.


I got great gloopy sounds the other day from playing with some grape jelly in a bowl. Maybe do something like that, and then reverse and pitchbend/timestretch? Maybe a leafy/dry crunchy layer under that?


Time lapse videos magnify what you're seeing, so I would probably take a similar approach. Meaning exaggerating sounds, making everything more intense and bigger than it is. For flowers wilting the first thing I thought of was celery cracking, or fresh bamboo being split down the middle. As for the food rotting, i've gotten some great results crushing fresh egg shells mixed with squishes of raw meat. This gives it a really nice transient texture. Jay gave a great pointer, if you have access to a contact mic, try digging and recording, you might get some usable material.


Suggestion for a quick 'n' easy possibility: Record the following and mix them together, tweaking pitch, EQ etc where necessary -

Rustle and crunch up some paper in you hand.

Pour some sand onto a tray or flat surface.

Add a little bit of a 'squish' from squashing a tomato or similar.

And maybe, mixed in low-level, add a little bit of a crunch or crumble from mashing up some biscuits!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.