Category Archives: movies

Cinematic Sound Design Demo Clip: Dark City

In this clip from the 1998 Alex Proyes film Dark City, I have completely replaced the soundtrack with original sound designs. I wanted to avoid using library sources so I started by recording as much as I could myself.

For the footsteps and foley, I built a small platform using wooden pallets and scrap lumber. The rope strain sounds came from a number of different types of ropes, combined with a wicker basket that I twisted and pulled apart. All of the vocal sounds started from my voice and I used the FL Studio vocoder to impart some different texture layers to the Strangers. Although I was able to record some actual sparks with the help of my father, most of the electrical elements at the end came from an experiment with a contact mic taped to a wooden dresser with a thin chain dragged over it. The brain creature was a combination of a squeaky keychain, synthesized elements, mouth noises, and a layer of cooked pasta for the extra squishiness.

Trip report: Hellboy II

Since everyone was potentially flocking to the theaters to see either The Dark Knight or Mama Mia, I figured it was a good enough time to finally see the new Hellboy installment, The Golden Army.

Visually, it’s one of the most imaginative flicks I’ve seen in a while. Hellboy 2 has more weirdo trolls, faeries, and magical crap than any movie to date except maybe Stardust. I think I preferred the first movie for its Lovecraftian take on Men In Black (or MIB take on cosmic horror), but this time around, I’d easily trade an elf for a shoggoth or two.

I didn’t realize that they’d replaced David Hyde Pierce, so I was a little suprised to hear Abe Sapien not sounding like Frasier Crane’s brother. Doug Jones did a great job physically portraying him but I prefer Niles. Also on the character quibble side, Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) has a really stupid haircut all of a sudden. Seth Green joined the cast to voice the semi-corporeal Johann Krauss and did a great job.

I didn’t care much for the story but it helped move things along from one sprawling action sequence to the next. Unfortunately, the cinematography occasionally suffers from Gladiator syndrome when there’s some crazy fight going on that I can’t focus on because the cameras are shaking, switching angles, and cutting to closeups so fast. I don’t think they screened this one for epileptics. There were some elves and crap that I couldn’t really relate to or care about, but who cares as long as they’re doing jumpkicks and flipping out like an albino ninja on PCP.

Overall, a good popcorn munch with some laughs, a few scares, and a crapload of intricate set design.