I'm working on a scene where the referee of a basketball game comes back in the locker room after the game has ended, and he's supposed to be hearing crowd boo's in his head, because he made a terrible call during the game that's eating him up. The problem is when I throw a hpf and reverb on it, it just sounds like it's coming from the gymnasium. I've tried putting a reversed version of the boo's under the hpf one and it sounds a little too eerie for the scene.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks all!

7 Answers 7


Cutting it accordingly is the first step, but defining the difference between his head space and the locker room in the mix is important as well.

How about adding a slight tinnitus ring, along with labored breathing, some basketball shoe squeaks, a few ball dribbles and a ref whistle to the crowd so that it's less discernible as simple crowd "boos". Maybe bit reduce the whole thing, add a slight bit of distortion so it comes more closely to migraine inducing noise rather than a flashback or memory? With multiple cut aways you could increase the tinnitus ring and focus on different aspects of the "bad call" while increasing the distortion/bit reduction until he finally snaps with the guilt. Assuming he does, of course.


Try making the crowd as dry as possible, and make it mono, with a bass boost simulating the proximity effect and up a presence boost between 2 - 4 kHz. The main thing is to make it sound like he is really close to the crowd, and that the crowd does not exist in a real world environment like a sports hall, the crowd should only exist inside his head.

  • @lain How would one go about making the crowd that was recorded in an a gymnasium dry without a de-verb plugin? Commented May 27, 2012 at 20:26
  • 2
    There is a phase cancellation technique where you copy and invert a channel and then use eq to allow only the dry part of the signal to pass through.
    – user80
    Commented May 28, 2012 at 11:52
  • How do I go about automating it so only the dry part comes through? Sorry if this is a newbie question. Commented May 30, 2012 at 17:55
  • It is not a case of automation, you choose which frequencies you wish to hear on the inverted track and then by cutting the relevant frequencies you allow the dry signal to pass through from the original track
    – user80
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 19:10
  • I'm curious: to me, the duplicate/invert/eq method sounds just like using regular eq, but attenuating the input and using a higher q with more gain. I didn't think eq by itself was very effect for de-reverbing. Commented May 30, 2012 at 22:04

I usually reverse the audio, audiosuite some reverb and then revers the audio back to get this 'reverse reverb' ghostly sound. Hope this helps! GL!

  • Beat me to it! But I'd suggest only adding a small amount otherwise it may sound too 'spooky' for this piece. I'd suggest mixing in and out lower pitched / timestretched versions of the crowd noise behind the main effect too.
    – Skarik
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 17:42
  • This was my initial go to, and it sounded a little too eerie for the scene. Commented May 30, 2012 at 17:53
  • There is also a section in the blue mountain state opening credit scene where it shows a first person perspective of a football player on the ground and someone snaps their fingers at him real fast. The sound of the fingers snapping turned out really well because it presented the sound as if you were the football player hearing it. Check it out. Commented May 30, 2012 at 18:08

Try ayering the voices at different speeds. Plus delay, and some reverb. Something like the fourth sound effect in here: http://soundcloud.com/george-v/v-dusk-falling-sfx


Perhaps it's more about the moment where you place the voices. If they start on a close up of the referee. You'll get the connection much better. If you have a cut out to a wide shot the voices could be dropped totally. This could result in a nice inside/outside of his head feeling.

Is he somehow reacting to the voices?

Also a subtle drone might help. Just to mark that it's an unusual situation and not a sound from outside the room.


That's a tough one! I think Jascha is spot on about the placement of the voices. It's hard to project someone's headspace or POV when we're not close to them visually. A quiet long or mid shot, followed by a close up where the sound of the crowd booing creeps in, in time with some kind of reaction from the ref, would go a long way towards making it work. That all depends on how it was shot or cut, but maybe you could talk to the director about adjusting the cut if it's working against you.

Aside from that, i'd say try using a drastically different reverb from whatever's been heard in the stadium. Maybe throw in some delay or big early reflections?


I had a similar situation to yours. What worked out was to pull out everything you'd expect to hear in the shot (footsteps, ambience, clothes rustle) and only leave a filtered crowd, his breath and his heartbeat, kinda like his inner perspective. Cliché I know, but it worked spot on. At least on our shot. I also rolled out some top, which helped it sound more in his head.

Hope it helps...

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