Category Archives: sound design

Final Audio Project: The Hit

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For my audio project, I decided to do a mix up with a bunch of sounds that I got from both YouTube and freesound, and make a story out of them. The program I used to attempt this was Pro Tools 10. I do not know how I came up with the idea. A friend of mine was watching The Untouchables, and just thought of the idea of me working for Al Capone.

The Plot: A hitman is hired to kill a wealthy man, to cut off the court case put towards Al Capone (The man who orders the hit). He is to kill this man, show proof, then flee the scene, ensuring no witnesses. I plan to work more on this to where he blows up the house, drives away, then get killed by a different hitman who was hired by the same Al Capone, because he was serious when he said “No Witnesses”. Should be fun. Anyway enjoy!

I loved working on this. This project gave me a better understanding with Pro Tools  and really helped me connect with the creative side of me. I was able to use sounds that was totally unrelated and combine them into a story. My end results of the project is great, to me, but want to work on it more. Got a lot of positive feedback, and I plan to continue mixing.

Sound Links: assembling gun,  Aggressive DogDog cry ,Rainwalking on grass, car pulling off,  car pulling over, gate, sidewalk, radio show, marimba, car door, chains, reload, maid, shower, snap photo

Final Project Idea

For my final project I decided to create a story with sound. I want to use a bunch of different sounds that is obvious to what is going on in the piece but want to give the listeners the privilege to vision the scenario. I will be using both pro tools (for when I am in the lab) and audacity (for when I am at home) to work on this.

here’s an example on what I plan on working on. This is should be fun!

Ridding of that Discomforting Quiet

The Machine Room from Metropolis

Moments before the huge machine explodes in a scene from Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic film Metropolis.

For the remainder of the semester we are going to be working on a single group project as well as your individual projects. The group project is going to be a collaboratively produced live mix of a soundtrack for a silent film. And the first thing we need to do is pick a film we’d like to produce for! The only rule is that the film you’d like to suggest must not have a pre-existing professionally produced soundtrack, so looking at films and cartoons from the silent era will probably be best. Look to Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Metropolis, Man with a Movie Camera as classics, but also silent era cartoons.

If you find a feature film, you’ll need to suggest a scene from the film as we will likely only produce a soundtrack for 3-5 minutes. We want to keep the length short so that we can intensively build a rich layered track which employs foley, sound effects, music, and voice.

Leave your suggestions with some sort of link in the comments below. Be sure to justify your choices by describing the types of sounds you think are possible for the track.

I’m going to throw my hat in and suggest the four minute scene from Metropolis from the above still was taken. In this scene Freder, the wealthy son of ruthless Master of Metropolis, descends into the belly of the city to discover how the other half, the working class lives. He finds himself in the machine room where a few dozen workers man the machine. I think there would be so much sounds to create to represent the mechanics of the space – levers, steam, electric buzzing of bulbs, etc. The machine also explodes killing most of the workers, including them flying through the air to their deaths. And finally the machine becomes a monster and the workers are fed to its mechanical mouth. It’s a crazy scene from the first feature length science fiction film ever made and would be a ton of fun to work on.

Who’s that singing in the bedroom?

Above is the example created of a woman listening to a distant singer. She walks down a hallway and opens the door. It uses three samples: Holmes singingSome footsteps, and Door opening.

To make the singing sound distant and heard through a wall the level was raised slowly while we heard footsteps to the doorway. But more importantly, a low pass filter was applied to remove the high frequencies which are normally lost not able to pass through dense materials such as walls and doors. As the door opening sound plays, the low pass is turned off so that it gives the impression of the listener now has an unobstructed view of the singer.

There is more work to be done I believe to make this more realistic. I think the low pass frequency cut-off could be increased as the walker gets closer to the door. Also some reverberation filters on the voice would help as well, especially finding a way to give differentiation between the hallway space and the room.

I used this great tutorial by DannyNguyenAudio as a quick refresher of how to use automation with filters in Pro Tools.

He also covers the basics of automation for levels and panning in short form. I need to look at more of his tutorials as the three I watched were all quick and straight forward.

For the assignment, use sound samples to create a one to two minute piece that showcases a change in perspective through sound design. This perspective change can happen through a variety of means – equalization, levels, and/or panning for example. Embed your piece in a post and describe your process following the suggestions of a good blog post.

My Walking thru an Airport hanger

This clip I recorded using my Zoom H2n recorder on an XY mode.  I used the internal microphones and decided to walk through a small airport hanger which had two sets of doors leading to the outside.  In all it was a 30 to 50 second trip.  You’ll hear the difference in the song while in between the sliding doors and in the middle of the hanger and finally outside. After constant and great success with getting to know Audacity more and more I’m able to put effects in certain spots by increasing and decreasing levels slowly.  I used reverb to show the difference in perspectives.

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Birds and Waterfall test

Getting familiar with audacity I used sounds from freesound to create a mix of two different sounds. Anyway, try to stay awake and enjoy!


I learned how to import audio in audacity in this project, and gave me an idea for my final project. I think I did alright with this mix and can add some more sounds to make it sound less dull and more realistic.

Kicking someone through the wall

For the sound mixing that I used from to create as my own is from the movie Enter the Dragon along with the impact sounds and the rocks crumbing sounds from YouTube. I use the audacity to combine the three recordings and place the rock crumbing sound after Bruce Lee kicks the opponent away, making it sounds like the opponent is being kicked through the wall.

I record the sound from the scene where Bruce Lee starts to kick the opponent from 1 minute and 56 seconds to 2 minutes and 7 seconds

I record the impact sounds starting from 7 to 10 seconds then, later continue with the rocks crumbing sounds.

This is the rock crumbing sounds that I used to combine with the other two videos.

My reflection to this assignment is that I find it fun and enjoyable to do a mixing sound effects  of what will come out to be like. When hearing back my sound mixing, I can visualize how will the actual scene would be like depending on the sounds that I used on. Also, I think this is very new to me to make or add more sound mixing effects to make the storytelling look more entertaining.

Building an Atmosphere with Perspective in your Sound Mix

I want you to use a favorite recording created in the past few weeks. If you do not like any recording, create a new one! You will use this recording as a foundation for a 30 sec to 60 sec piece of sound design.

The piece of sound design should showcase a change in perspective based on a story idea. For example, if I had a dry recording of piano to use. I could try and create the change in hearing that piece of music as if it were being played from my sister’s room. And the change in perspective is me walking down the hallway and entering her room.

If you wish to mix in other sounds, I encourage you to use sites like

The tool you will need to use for mixing is Audacity, which is free open-source software that works on Mac and PC. There are innumerable tutorials on how to use Audacity. There is also the ability to add filters to Audacity.

You must create your file, upload to soundcloud, and embed in a properly written blog post.

Layering of Sound – What tool to use?

The original tools – looking at the old time radio show production:


Sound effects – machines to emulate sounds – for example the sound of a motor was created with a fan flapping on a tin tub. A simple bucket with dishes and flatware to create the sound of doing dishes. Recordings of chicken noises, etc. played back on a record player.

Microphones – to capture voice, sound effects. Different types of microphones to create different perspectives.

Voice – microphone to subject distance to create a change in spatial perspective, with direct sound heard less or more compared to reflections.

Mixing board – accepts the electric signals from microphones and the record player. Three microphones (main voice mic, telephone mic, and the sfx mic) and the record player to make four sources of electric current fed into the mixer. This would mean the mixer needed at least four inputs.

At each input what can you do? You can increase the current (gain) to increase the amplitude or decrease. Affect frequency, selectively increasing/decreasing the gain at specific frequencies. The electric currents are then combined into a single electric current which can then be sent over the airwaves.

This process is still widely used for live event presentation of sound – concerts, plays, etc.

How do we do this on a computer based digital audio mixer (we’re going to use Audacity)?


Sound files – Sample Rate, Bit Rate, format (compressed/uncompressed), 1CH, 2CH, 4CH. Sound effects, voice, music, etc. all have to be sound files.

Inputs become tracks. Tracks can be mono or stereo.

Gain – to affect the level of each track

Pan – push the track signal to the L channel or the R channel

Filters – Frequency filters (High, Mid, Low) or complex filters that combine changes to frequency and amplitude over time (reverb filter, compressor, etc.)

Transposing changes to Gain, Pan, and/or Filter settings over time. This is usually how you create perspective.