From the start, my group and I kinda knew that we wanted to do something related to horror/mystery since that is the genre that allows us to play around with sounds and effects the most.
It was a spur in the moment kinda thing when I came up with one of the scenes filmed in a kitchen. At first, I proposed of doing the idea of a wife preparing a feast in the kitchen while the other scene would be the husband getting stuck in a jam. I thought of scenes like cracking eggs, the “ting” sound of the oven.. basically the usual sounds you” hear in kitchen and the other scene, sounds of traffic. However, my teammates reminded me that doing it that way would render the soundtrack assignment part to be useless since we can just make use of the direct sounds that are produced in the shot and not having to do a separate soundtrack.
Therefore, we came up with a mystery creepy kind of story while still keeping the kitchen idea that allows us to create an eerie soundtrack produced by offscreen things.
This video films two characters who have different yearnings. The first one in the kitchen shows a kidnapper preparing food for the teenager she has kidnapped. She is not the most brutal or violent of kidnappers; in fact, she wants the best for her “newly adopted” child.
Different people would have different interpretations of this video but for me, the lady in white has kidnapped this girl to forcefully replace her as her late child. Something wrong that she did led to her daughter’s demise and she ends up losing her. Therefore, for this kidnapped girl, she would try to give her the best; shown by scenes of obsessive cleaning, tying the kidnapped girl but inside a neat and pristine room, scenes of the house being in a well kept condition for the kidnapped girl’s sake as though to make up for the loss of her previous child.
The other character would be the girl who got kidnapped. She is constantly seen drawing pictures of her house and her looking around helplessly to further emphasize how trapped and how much she wants to be free from her kidnapper.
Kidnapper seen in kitchen preparing food. Not the usual kind of kidnapper: very proper and tidy in everything she does.
Not in storyboard (last minute addition): Upclosed scenes of her humming to start giving off this creepy vibes from her.
The kidnapped girl drawing houses to show much she yearns her real home. Upclosed shots of her distressed face. Important for the room to be in a dark gloomy setting to show the idea of her being trapped/kidnapped.
Kidnapper cleaning things compulsively to show how much she wants things to be right for the kidnapped girl.
Not in storyboard (last minute addition): Scenes of the house that is symmetrical/tidy to really bring out the kidnapper’s character that is obsessed with the idea of keeping everything perfect for her “newly adopted kid”.
At first, as seen in the storyboard, I kinda wanted to show how depressed she is by showing lots of drawings she did that depict a house/happy family. However, credits to Veron, she came up with an idea to film from the girl’s point of view to show the gloomy/dark setting she experiences in the room.
Kidnapper finally bringing the food to the kidnapped girl. Credits to Arinah (bringing the food to the girl’s room) because she came up with an idea to dolly out towards the end of the hallway to have this scary ominous feeling instead of just having over the shoulder shots.
Kidnapper switching on the light to give her food nicely but forcefully and a scene afterwards showing the kidnapped girl being tied and scared.
For the sound recording, I loaned the H2 zoom mic (the H4 ran out!) as I wanted to make my own foley sounds and not use online sounds as much as I can. I also aim to limit my use of the diegetic sounds in this film.
In the first scene, I recorded a sound of me pounding my fists on my rolling chair. I adjusted the tempo of that sound on Audacity such that it has a constant rhythm, similar to our heartbeat. I chose a heartbeat sound for this to have a suspenseful feeling and convey the correct mood for the audience from the start; something that has to do with mystery/creepy genre.
For this cooking scene, I still used the diegetic sounds of the egg cracking but with the addition of a clock ticking and cheerful yet creepy humming voice. The clock ticking continues the suspenseful mood created by the previous heartbeat. I recorded myself humming a cheerful yet eerie tune and adjusted the tempo on Audacity so that it becomes slower, creepier. I chose this creepy humming sound to start establishing the strangeness of the lady in white aka the kidnapper.
Upclosed shot of the kidnapper’s mouth to emphasize that she is the one humming. Slightly smiling towards the end to heighten the creepiness.
Jump to another scene where a girl is in a dark room, desperately drawing her heart/feelings out. She constantly draws a house to show her yearning to be free from her kidnapper.
For this scene, I put in the sounds of the heartbeat and clock ticking simultaneously. Besides that, I also recorded myself scribbling onto a paper furiously as the diegetic sound recorded then does not sound aggressive/desperate enough. All of these sounds are to establish that this scene/character deals with a lot of anxiety/feelings of being trapped.
Back to the cooking scene, and the creepy humming continues. I kept on using the humming voice so that viewers will remember easily that the creepy humming voice belongs to this character in the kitchen and would already resonate weird feelings from this character.
Heartbeat sounds continue. Furious desperate scribbling sounds as she drew a house.
Midshot of her drawing anxiously and I accompanied this scene with a voice recording of me repeatedly saying house in a hushed yet desperate tone. I used the feature “echo” on Audacity for this sound so that it reverberates during the scene and the echo effect brings out the chaotic inner turmoil the girl is experiencing. Besides the “house, house” echoes, I recorded heaving breathing of myself and amplified it on Audacity such that it becomes clearer and played it simultaneously with the desperate “house, house” echoes.
Towards the end, I added in a more tense version of the heavy breathing that kinda sounded like a shiver? To end that scene with more drama.
Finally a scene where the sound is the humming voice. This is to show that the lady in white aka kidnapper is consuming her as seen by how her creepy humming voice is played during this nervous drawing scene in a dark room. At the same time, I started to use the echo effect on the humming voice so that it creates a more chaotic creepy environment.
Alternating scenes of a 1) symmetrical/prim and proper house 2) her scrubbing 3)her repeatedly arranging the eggs on the plate (something people rarely do) to emphasize the obsessive disorder of the lady in white/kidnapper towards the girl she kidnapped.
For these alternating scenes, I recorded myself saying “It needs to be perfect for her”, “Don’t want to repeat it, but I have to,”, “It has to be perfect for her sake,” and then used the echo effect such that it has a creepy melodic feel to it and complements the obsessive compulsive disorder of the kidnapper. In addition, I kept on with the creepy humming voice to continue the creepy theme seen from the kidnapper’s tendencies.
Point of view of the girl trapped in the dark room. I recorded myself saying “What is this” and “I want to be home” and used the echo effect again to continue the melodic feel from the monologues.
Again, the echo effect of the “I wanna go home” monologue is used here a the girl slowly looks into the camera, as if asking for help.
For this scene of the lady in white/kidnapper finally bringing the food to the kidnapped girl, I used my echo humming voice but now accompanied with a shrill “eeee” sound that I edited on Audacity to have a really high pitch that does not sound human. I feel like the echoed humming voice and the shrill “eeee” sound complement each other well and amplifies the increasing intensity/creepiness as the lady in white/kidnapper walks to her destination.
For this final scene, I made use of the diegetic sound of the kidnapper switching on the light. After that I recorded myself saying “Honey, breakfast is ready, don’t make me angry again..” with an echo towards the end to suggest the echoed creepy humming voice of hers again. Credits to San for coming up with that creepy threatening line to reinforce the forceful nature of the lady in white/kidnapper towards the kidnapped girl.
Final Video + Soundtrack
Honey, breakfast is ready.
A tale of two souls living two entirely different worlds, despite being under the same roof.
In terms of filming, I really learnt new techniques such as using our phone’s flashlight to create dim light just bright enough for our silhouettes to be seen. This created a dark environment for the kidnapped girl scene which was perfect. However, filming in the dark kind of compromised the quality of the film as well. It was also kind of my first time filming with a tripod so learning how to use it with the help of my teammates was really beneficial.
It was kind of complicated in terms of filming as the four of us had different views on how the film is going to be shot. Therefore, filming the video and catering to our different angles/POVs took some time but it was definitely fun too especially towards the later part of the night, when we were all exhausted and everything appeared funny to us. Will definitely remember those moments!<3
In terms of sound, I did meet my target of purely using my own sounds. I just realised while editing that most of the sounds I’ve used was my voice which was not something I thought I’ll use. Maybe because initially I thought that purely using my voice would not be effective enough to convey the idea of suspense/creepiness. However, with the help of Audacity I think I managed to pull it off. Also, this was the first time for a video that I’m not using any Internet sounds so that’s also something new for me. I’ve learnt that there’s so many things we can make use of around us.
However, for the sound part, it could be slightly better. Most of the sound are my own voice so there were a few scenes where the background noise/breathing voice could be heard, especially for the echoed voices. Individually, my recorded voice alone was fine since I could remove the background sounds using Audacity. However, when this individual sound is echoed, the background noise/breathing noise seem to be amplified :// so if there’s one thing that I’ll improve on, it will be that.
Overall, this second assignment really taught me the different things I could use; Audacity and creating my own foley sound effects. Thank you to Arinah, Veron and San too for being such a warm, fun group to work with 😀 <33