I am working on a feature that requires the sound of some massive hulking creature ripping trees from the ground. Any ideas on how I would create this sound effect.

I'm thinking about layering the sounds of celery slowly being snapped. Im not sure how I would create the sound of the tree actually being pulled out from the soil.

6 Answers 6


No one sound is going to do this, to get this right your effect is going to need to be a composite of several different layers. Your celery idea might form part of one layer, but is never going to do the whole job.

I'd be thinking:

  1. Low ground rumble (sub)
  2. Dirt/soil movements
  3. Roots snapping
  4. Wood tearing/splintering/creaking
  5. Branches scraping
  6. Foliage rustle

Search libraries for potential layers, record what you can/have time to, put it all together, mix.

  • For Treebeard in the LotR movies, the sound of his movements is based on actual trees being cut down; one of the sound designers went out to where his family were thinning a stand of trees and recorded the snapping of trunk fibers and the crash of the canopy on the ground, then layered that up for his footfalls.
    – KeithS
    Feb 21, 2014 at 16:53

It depends... Is it a swift or quick action or does it allow a lot of detail? Is the soil dry or wet? Can you think of a character or emotion for the trees?

Have you tried some dirt sounds from your library or did you record some?

Divide the sound into at least 3 layers/concepts: low (wood resonances), mid (mud), high(celery) (freq) or mass, force, strain, etc.

Think of other examples like this and search for sounds that link to those concepts. It will help you get to new sounds/places instead of revisiting old stuff.

  • Thank you for the reply. My aim is that the characters are drawn to the presence of the monster in the woods.The monster starts to gather speed. So the action at the beginning would first be slow and then the process will quicken. I will try the sound effect by layering sounds together. Thanks buddy
    – user7435
    Feb 11, 2014 at 15:16

This is definitely a situation for some iceberg lettuce to get that organic stressing and ripping sound. Arnoud and Bit Depth have some great advice as well.

  • 1
    Beat me to it! Such a versatile vegetable. Feb 11, 2014 at 22:18
  • Also when you're finished throw that ish on a hoagie (or sub or hero or grinder or whatever you weirdos call it, I'm from philadelphia)
    – Dave
    Feb 12, 2014 at 20:38

Clearly from what Arnoud has said, you need to meet the character defined by your visuals. Having said that I'd be inclined to be fairly literal here and record the sound of you pulling some plants out of soil. If you can get the microphone in nice and close you should get a nice proximity effect that when boosted up should give you the impression of bigger plants or trees being pulled up. Also if the plants are in a peaty soil or compost you should get some nice tearing sound that will resonate through the hollow sounding soil. You can then layer these sounds with the snaps and cracks already discussed.


Have u seen this film called 'Berberian Sound Studio'? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1833844/ there is a scene where Toby Jones(who plays a recordist in the film ) does the foley of witches pulling out hair with some vegetables Here is the trailer link which has a I guess 1sec of the shot


u can try this and layer with heavy branches of trees creaking plus soil being digged out.. just try out things .. mix and match .. am sure you will get desired results. Good Luck!

[P.S.] i suggest you watch the film .. might get some new ideas :)

  • Wow this film looks really interesting. What a great concept for a film. I have done some experimenting with a metal rod and some plywood. I Basically drilled a hole into the wood and twisted the metal rod to get some lovely creaking sounds. Sounds great once It has been pitch shifted.
    – user7435
    Feb 14, 2014 at 14:35

Rise might help with the dirt partiales that Fall down!

And also try to Play around with dried leafs to get some texture to Support the pulling!


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