I'm collecting all kinds of voice effects to add to my arsenal.

My absolute favorite is Worldizing a voice in a room by playing it back 4X real-time and recording it 4X real-time so when it gets played back at regular time, the reverb sounds 4X bigger. I haven't tried it faster than that but I could only imagine what it would sound like.

I also liked strapping a plastic tupperware cup over the driver of my auratone speaker and re-recording that to simulate a voice going through a space-mask.

What are some interesting and new voice effects you use?

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I've done a lot of manual envelope following for creature voices (i have a tutorial half finished on the manual process but I think I've worked out how to automate it, so will get around to posting it sometime)

A simple example: in Bridge To Terabithia there is a giant talking tree. We recorded the voice with an MKH800 mic with real time pitchshift so the actor heard themselves deeper/bigger (aka the Kong-alizer).... I took the dialogue track, and cut a track of leaf moves and another track of branch creaks/moves roughly in sync with the lines. Then I manually traced the amplitude envelope of the dialogue using the freehand pen tool in a PT volume graph. Once I had it tight I copied the volume graph (in sync) across to the leaf & branch tracks, so when he speaks you get tightly synced tree branch & leaf movement... (Of course I deleted the volume graph off the dialogue track)

Did the same with another film with wet creepy monster creatures, using watermelon squelches....

Like any dialogue processing you have to be very careful of intelligibility....

  • Wow nice idea. I saw that done on a island god voice with wave crashes.
    – Utopia
    Aug 31 '10 at 1:05
  • @tim - definitely a cool idea. Do you think you got better precision by drawing the waveform freehand than you would have by side-chaining to an expander on the tree/branch track?
    – Tyler
    Sep 12 '10 at 6:47
  • volume automation is far preferable as they are easier to experiment with and edit, and dont need to run plugins on the dub stage...
    – user49
    Sep 12 '10 at 19:34
  • Ah, that makes sense. It's techniques like these that will finally convince me to switch to a Wacom tablet someday soon. Thanks for the example!
    – Tyler
    Sep 12 '10 at 20:09
  • @Tim, did you ever have the time to finish this tutorial? Oct 10 '11 at 16:48

sigh I'm still an old-school fan of subtle preverb, I gotta say, for that otherworldly feel. I also like sending different frequency ranges of the voice to different effects: Maybe the highs to a phaser and the lows to a tube distortion...nothing heavy, just adding some sizzle, animation, and alien-ness to spice things up.

  • 2
    you're back -- missed ya, NJ! Aug 30 '10 at 23:27
  • Hah! Thank you, my friend. Just been away for a couple of weeks recording over 10,000'. It's quiet up there. No reverb. ;-) Aug 31 '10 at 17:37

Ok, i'm stealing that worldising trick. That might make for a pretty cool IR too...

I had an actor say his line as quickly as he could and used paulstretch to bring it back to full length. It sounds a little spacey and synthy.

I haven't done this yet, but i'm planning to worldise some dialogue with a contact mic and try out various surfaces (metal, glass, etc.).

I've had another idea brewing... It involves taking a line and reversing it, then playing it back to an actor and having them replicate it as best they can. Then you flip it back again. I'm pretty sure i've heard this used before though (Twin Peaks?).

  • 1
    see Tara Busch do this with a melody! youtube.com/watch?v=BxqYGox0NNk
    – user49
    Aug 31 '10 at 0:21
  • @Roger Yeah - ever since I heard about it I've wanted to go and worldize 4X a church or something - see how it would sound.
    – Utopia
    Aug 31 '10 at 1:16
  • @tim - That's crazy, she actually does it too well! @Ryan - Hey, i'd buy that IR. Aug 31 '10 at 16:08

I've had some fun utilizing pitch shift. Duplicate the audio onto another track, pitch it up or down a bit (you'll have to experiment a little to get the effect you might want), then shift that pitched audio a few samples in either direction. You can create some cool eerie/ethereal/downright creepy sounds that way.


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