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What do you hear ?

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What do you hear ?

As one of the major role I took as a Sound Designer for my final project. It was the time to start decide and look forward to the idea of what will viewer hear in this film.

IF is an interactive film where the main character is going through psychosis and is trying to accept the things thats happening around him. This made me go into the cases of psychosis and into a mind of a patient. As there was no way to conpletely make the audience or anyone feel exactly how these people feel as the expereince is completely different of each and everyone.

As I went deeper into the idea of represnting the illness but not in a medical way but just for the entetainment purpose, I still got lot ot learn and the first refrence that came on this path was a video game called Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, A game by Ninja Theory based in Cambridge. 

In this game you play as Senua who is going through this mental illness and the game has done a lot of stuff to gamify this experience into mechanics and presented it in front of the people.


Understanding Psyhosis

Hellblade was critically aclaimed for making the best game for focusing the mental health and it was the closest according to the mental health department in representing Psychosis. 

One of the most unique element this game used was the use of sound design.

"Psychosis is an umbrella term that refers to a sensory experience of auditory and visual hallucinations as well as beliefs that have no basis in reality. Psychosis is most commonly linked with the Schizophrenia spectrum. This spectrum includes schizophrenia, other psychotic disorders and schizotypal (personality) disorder. These disorders are defined by abnormalities (one or several) in these five domains: hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking and/or speech, grossly disorganized or abnormal motor behavior as well as negative symptoms" (Crawford. S, 2017:15) 

As I was lucky enough that I had a really good exapmple for represnting the illness in my film but it was a creative decision to not dive into this concept too much as I was creating something very fantasy and not with the intension of representing the mental health but for pure entertainment.

The major word I got from all these reading that people going throught psychosis were

  • Hallucination

  • Delusions

  • Disorganized thinking,

In this list the Hallucination was the one that stuck with me, but with the less production value that I had for this project I did not wanted to rely on any VFX as it is very expensive in both time and money. The closes experince to Hallucination I could give was using the Sound just like how hellblade does in the game. 

Hellblade uses the technology of Binaurial sound to make the player feel that the sound is travelling around and is closer to them all the time.

Reducing the Scope

So using Binaural tech was the most valable answer for my film and with that I had a small talk with Vengelis, our sound desing tutor.

He suggested me the kind of mic and recorder I would need to use these audio but during this conversation he suggested me not to use the binaural audio. 

His stand was that If the film would be shown only in headphones then it would made sense and the tech is moslty for the headphone users and hence Hellblade works prettly well because you mostly use headphones to play that game. 

And the other reason was that I would have more control with stereao sound more becasue I can use the software to control the panning and other asspects of it but if i prerecod the audio with the direction then it could restrict me in many ways.

With that in mind I started working on the words that the voices will speak, I alrealy had it in my script but as I was moving forward I realised I will have to add things into it to make the story come alive.

The film contained 4 voice in the initial phase and these 4 voice had different personality

  • Voice 1: Very on the characters face and always demening him

  • Voice 2: Does not give any damn and is just taunting everyone, including the other voices

  • Voice 3: Scared and insecured always trying to stop the main character and telling him that he will fail no matter what.

  • Voice 4: Calm, colleceted and a grounded voice who asks the player to focus.

Julio had a very imortant point with these character, He asked me about why do I need so many voices, this made me thought a bit and I had no answer for it,

Keeping too many voices would confuse the viewers in diffrentiating the voices, The voices needs to be very distint and diffrentiable. 
This feedback made a lot of sense for ame and I started cutting down the character and the lines from the film and made it strict and tight,

During one of the conversation with my editing tutor Julio, he asked me to create a small reff so that I can have an Idea of how the audio will be and how the story will move forward. And for my picture lock and I decided to make a short clip of the film with all the sound techniqe I knew to give the kind of experience I wanted to give.

Refference Sound Design

Taking the frist sequence of the film I recorded some begining dialouge by my friends and myself for using it in the film.

Using the basic technique of panning I placed all the sounds around in a way that the two voice is always at left or right ear, to give the sense of distraction but at the same place the gounded male voice was in the center to make the viewer focus and the character too.

Screenshot 2022-07-19 083820.png

Here was the final result of what I submited in final cut. The feedback was pretty decent but form now on I had to learn and understand in order to make it feel more natural.

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