in Process, Project, Research

4D II Project 2 – Soundscape

Artistic Statement

This soundscape is about a student who encountered paranormal activity in his school toilet. Through objective sound we follow the character through different spaces which allows the audience to experience from the character’s point of view. Through this soundscape, you will hear how the character first encounter the female spirit in a toilet; how he manage to get out from the toilet but was locked inside the fire escape exit while the spirit approaches him; and finally manage to get out from the building.

Concept Development/Research


Firstly, I came out with a few scenarios/emotions that I want to portray in this soundscape project:

  1. The Life of A Getai Singer – A day of my sister, a Getai Singer. I wanted to record the sound of my sister from the start of her day to her performance and to the end of her day.
  2. Paranormal Activity in the school toilet – A fear that I have yet to experienced in my life.
  3. Loneliness – Evoke a feeling that most people would have felt at some point of their life.
  4. Panic Attack
  5. Sleep Paralysis – Something that I have experienced once in my life. To recreate the scenario based on my and someone else’s experience.

I decided to work on number 2 because It’s something I have never experienced before. I also wanted to try create horror sound that evokes fear and it has more room for me to play around with sound layering.

Sound Research

Below is a list of sounds that I thought could evokes fear:
– Unexpected Loud Bang/Noise
– Suspension sound effects
– Panting
– child/woman laughing
– Someone whispering into your ear
– Alien Language
– Scratching
– Bone cracking sound
– creepy religious song play at the background
– accelerating heartbeat

I also interviewed my mum and my partner for some inspiration. My mum actually experience paranormal activity in kampong when she was a teenager. She heard vividly heard someone talking in a low, out of this world language while she was on the way back home late at night, and saw a very tall and slender dark figures in the forest.

My partner didn’t actually encountered any paranormal activity but his experience with sleep paralysis was very creepy. I also did a check online and apparently everyone who has frequent sleep paralysis experience the same thing. How creepy!!! Here is a video of him explaining his experience:

Artist Reference

James Wan
He is well known for directing the horror film such as InsidiousThe Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2 and The Conjuring 2. I have been a huge fan of his horror film and always wondered why his film evokes so much fear. I realised that he uses a lot unexpected surprise jump-scare with loud noises. He especially like to have a long suspense or silence before the loud sound take place at the unexpected and synchronised nicely with the frame. Here are some videos that I refer to:

James Wan on Creating Horror Using Sound:

James Wan on Sound and Suspense:


The Conjuring 2:

Thr Autopsy of Jane Doe:

Planning and Development – Sound Script

I also came out with a rough script and planning to get a clear picture of how my soundscape would sound like:

Everyone going back from school late at night “Let’s go! Bye! See you”
“I have to go to the toilet you guys go first I see you guys tomorrow”
“Okay bye! Rest well!”
My Footsteps/Opening the toilet door
I close the cubicle; Pant unzip; Sound of urination; someone knocks on the door x3
Sound of urination; tap suddenly on; small gasp from me
zipped the pants; opens the cubicle
Walk towards the basin; Turn on the tap and wash my hands
creaking of cubicle door; gasp
opens the door and run out from the toilet nervously; panting
Open the door to the exit; fast footsteps going down the stairs
try to open the door but it’s locked; “SHIT”
creepy alien language + laughter; voice getting faster and nearer
only the sound of Panting

Planning and Development – Sound Creation

During the recording process, I made some changes to the script. I added in/took out some elements so that it sound cohesive and balance. Here are the list of sounds that I recorded:

Diegetic Sound:

  • Beep from Card Access
  • Cubicle Door Opening/Closing
  • Unzipping My Pants
  • Door Knocking
  • Water tap
  • Door Banging
  • Running Foot Steps
  • Environmental Sound 1: Outdoor, Indoor, Toilet, and fire escape staircase
  • Door Opening/Closing:

  • Urinating:

  • The voice of girl laughing and shouting (by Bridgel):

  • Out of this world language:

  • Heartbeat:

Non-diegetic Sound:
– Horror Ambience Sound Effect (Royalty Free)
– Dramatic Metal Clang Do-over Sound Effect (Royalty Free)

I wanted the soundscape to have mostly Objective Sound that captures everything that’s going on in the space and also to have a story structure – increase in intensity (from soft to loud). The soundscape starts off soft and light-hearted to loud and creepy towards the end. To further enhance the intensity I planned to include a change in timbre and organisation, from tonal to noisy and from ordered to chaotic respectively by layering more sound clips towards the end. Also, I want to include the sound of  heartbeats to change the speed and rhythm of the soundscape.

P/S: First time using Adobe Audition for sound editing and it was more challenging that I thought it would be.

Final Outcome: