The latest instalment of the highly successful Bloody Cuts ’13 Horror Shorts’ collaboration involved some specific sound work on the trailer. The trailer was designed to be reminiscent of the old 1980′s VHS tape films found hidden in the back rooms of the local video shop. The guys made a great job of degrading the visuals, so needed some nifty sound design to take the audio in the same direction. The brief involved reference to the excellently executed fake Eli Roth ‘Thanksgiving‘ trailer played alongside the Grindhouse main feature. So the idea was to implement a similar feel to the soundtrack making it feel as if it had just come straight off the '80 video store shelf, which was an interesting concept and sound design challenge to try and execute.
I started with the voiceover and small dialogue part which were probably the most tricky sections to get correct. Quite a lot of experimenting and wrong turns with various compressors and EQ's eventually lead to using Izotope Alloy with an almost symmetrical bell curve over the entire spectrum, peaking around 2K and curving off around 200Hz and 12.5K. Squashed with a 4.1:1 ratio vintage compressor with threshold way down at -60. I also introduced the exciter to give a little extra tape distortion. With all this it still wasn't quite right so I added another stage of Izotope Ozone 5 with some relatively high compression again (1.8:1 at -37dB threshold) with some more EQ tweaks and quite a bit more with the harmonic exciter on the retro setting. Another final EQ had it sounding pretty well where I wanted it. I used these settings as a base for the screams later on which just needed tweaks here and there to help give them that authentic '80 compressed horror scream sound.
The static was a combination of some stylus recordings I'd recorded for another film and also a dodgy energy-saving lightbulb that was on its way out and made some great sounds when turned on and off.
For the music I used general EQ with the Lo-Fi plug-in bringing down the sample size and adding some saturation before sending it through another Alloy EQ of a similar shape to that used for the dialogue and voiceover. The transient exciter came in useful here along with the tape exciter to really roughen up the feel of the music before sending it through a final Ozone 5 pass with relatively subtle settings.