Am doing a film where someone is murdered and a family member witness' it and as she runs to help the film is shot in slow motion and the sound needs to disorientating, weird and warped. Apart from using pitchshifts and timeshifts - anyone got any sfx or plug in ideas??


I've been trying a technique where I side chain dialog (or whatever, another sound effect maybe) into a gate that's controlling the envelope of a static sound (like wind, a waterfall, a drone, etc). It's a quick way to match the rhythm of whatever you're feeding the side chain. In the case of dialog, once you futz with the attack and release times it provides a nice vocal quality to the designed sound.

I've done this in the past with creature sounds that didn't quite have enough " it " to them. Made a roar that just felt flat, side-chained a bird call into it so it fluttered a bit and it was perfect. Could be effective.

  • That's a very cool trick! You can also use izotope spectron's "morph" function, load it up with a static sound and run the dialogue through it, very similar to this. It always tends to make things sound underwatery for me... – Roger Middenway Jul 15 '10 at 18:41
  • Ah, @Sound Understanding you reminded me of another one that I don't get to use as often as I want to. The "Difference" button on Waves' X-Noise. Learn the noise profile (or load the speech preset), adjust your threshold to taste and then switch from "Audio" to "Difference". Gives you all the noise and a little bit of the space monkeys popping through. Could be a really good starting point. – Steve Urban Jul 15 '10 at 19:03
  • LOL I thought I was the only one who referred to them as Space Monkeys. Haha. – Utopia Jul 15 '10 at 20:14
  • @Ryan It's entirely possible that you put that in my head. I picked it up from one of the boards online and it was so hysterically appropriate it's now part of my vernacular. – Steve Urban Jul 15 '10 at 20:20
  • Nice. I even talked about it at the last NAB with the CEDAR rep - asking him "How do I not get space monkeys with X-Noise...? Your plug-in is for Mac, right?" – Utopia Jul 15 '10 at 20:22

I know reverb is a cliche but it does work, that's why it's a cliche.

  • Reverb absolutely works, I also endorse the use of reversed reverb. – Steve Urban Jul 15 '10 at 18:01

I'm a bit silence-obsessed, but absence of sound where there's an onscreen sound source can give a feeling of helplessness.


Also, to me disoriented sound translates to "doesn't follow the picture". Try determining the key elements you need to include, take note of the in and out point and turn off the picture.

Sound design to the dark, disorient yourself for a little while. Turn it back on when you're done. There's always the possibility that it will suck, but it may inspire you to do something you hadn't thought of before.


The worst thing when you're calling for help is for your call not to be heard. This is a long shot but you could try modulating a wind/drone sound (wah-wah style) to match the original dialogue envelope (kinda like down/up shifting the pitch). If she's got moments where she cries or stutters, then let's hear that, but never give away the message/call for help.


Alright, this answer doesn't dig too deep into the emotional journey of your scene... BUT is something I find disorienting.

If you take a stereo signal, and invert the phase of one channel. And then pop it back. It can be a bit of a head trip. I know this is only really effective if you are sitting in ideal listening conditions. Just thought I'd toss it out there.

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