Monthly Archives: January 2015

Demo reel breakdown: creature vocal effects

In this continuing series, I take a look at the sound designs from my Oblivion demo reel clip.


The Flame Atronach, the main enemy in this clip, is a fiery creature from another plane of existence. I wanted to give it an evil, demonic quality. Here are some of the unedited vocals I recorded of myself:

After cleaning up some of the background noise, I applied pitch effects and a little bit of vibrato to get the following:

I thought it was getting close to the right sound, but I also wanted to impart some more menace by modulating the voice clips with elements of rock and fire. I fired up FL Studio and set up a channel with a vocoder so that I could mess around with different carrier waves (roaring fires, road construction, avalanches, etc.)

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More recording projects

One of the video clips that I’m redoing the soundtrack takes place on a wooden billboard scaffolding. I needed to record clean footsteps, impacts, and friction sounds, but it can be difficult to control all the variables. There are some boardwalk areas near my house that I’ve recorded in the past, but I’ve always had to struggle with noise from the wind and waves, not to mention distant boat and car traffic. I found a wooden pallet outside of a dumpster the other day and saw my golden opportunity.

This turned out to be pretty good (and free) foley stage.

The clip involves a couple of bodies falling onto wood, so I made myself a foley dummy. I filled a gym bag with shoes, clothes, and books and dropped it from various heights to record these.


This should be good for the main meat of the body falls.

I wanted to record some heartbeat sound effects for a game project to use as an auditory health cue, so I set out to try and build a sort of stethoscope using household items. I took the plastic lid of a cd spindle and wrapped the open end with saran wrap and affixed a rubber band around it to form a diaphragm. I drilled a hole in the other end and attached a cardboard tube that was just wider than one of my condenser microphones.

This is one of the recordings, after a little bit of compression and noise reduction:

Demo Reel breakdown: the Oblivion Gate

I’m going to start writing about the process of sound design from my demo reel. First up is the Oblivion gate from the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

In TES: IV, Oblivion Gates are mysterious portals to a hellish plane of existence. For the base of the sound, I wanted to combine elements of fire (various library sources ranging from campfires to forest infernos), earth (low rumbling earthquake), and electricity (arc welder) in a way that would sell the visuals.

Separate elemental sounds:

Combined together with some effects:

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