After giving it a bit of a break, I decided to go back and revise my horror soundscape after reading some of the peer feedback I received. Overall, the feedback indicated the piece was more “creepy” than “scary” but that’s something I’m pretty ok about!
In terms of improvement and alterations to my piece, I took the following comment and decided to work on incorporating those suggestions into the track.
For this comment I simply went through my piece and really tried to balance some of the sounds. It seems I did go a little bit overboard with the jump scares so made sure to even the levels out a bit more via automation where possible.
Although I was trying to make sure that the TV sounded close to make sure the other sounds were definitely distant, the fact that this person said it sounded like it was right up next to their ear isn’t very good! I adjusted the static and TV noise with some reverb and also spent some time checking that adjustment didn’t throw any other sounds out in terms of distance and space. The reverb I chose was PlatinumVerb, as it gave me the option of choosing the room shape and size! As you can see in the screenshot, I went for a stereotypical “house” design.
This comment, I found to be really useful as in a few others it was mentioned that there should be a little more build up towards the end, as well as something else to fill some of the gaps! The music box definitely did that job. I simply brought it in earlier rather than right at the end, and made sure to automate the wet/dry reverb as the perspective brought us closer and closer to it’s location. I also panned the box as we move through the house, rather than have it appear directly in front of us the whole time.
Another few comments were about the repetitiveness of the hand claps, so I went through an eliminated a few but not a lot. I personally liked the use of these as a guide for space and with them being so significant in The Conjuring I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them. It was also noted that too much pink noise could have been confused with a bad sound floor so I made sure to edit the automated volume on that in order to keep it’s presence under control.
After revising my soundscape, I went through the original brief and made sure I covered everything outlined. Here’s what my group took from The Conjuring’s audio aesthetics:
Music: Distressed, Tense, Suspense and Dissonance
Sound: Minimal, Organic, Hyper realistic and Spacious
Dynamics: Hyper dynamic, Empty, Mood-changes and Movement
Effects: Diagetic/Non, Heartbeat, Pink noise, Character experience
I went ahead and sent the audio to a few friends for opinions and told them it was for an action movie and to make sure to wait until the end… The rage replies I received about how scared they all were indicated that I’d definitely improved the piece!
Here’s the final result: