Sourcing Music + Sound Effects

The same way I did for my horror / fear movie, I have spent time researching into music and sound effects that are going to have the biggest impact on my audience and in my film.

Here are some of the music / sound effects that I have managed to find that I believe will work for my film.

This music is perfect for the beginning of my film. At the beginning everything is perfect, sunny and happy… all three emotions and feelings that are portrayed throughout this music. This instrumental uses higher notes and a quicker tempo to help give the emotions of happiness. I particularly like the bird tweets that are placed in various places throughout the instrumental as it gives it a natural feel and also the illusion of being outside, which is where the beginning of my film starts.

When my protagonist drops her food I want to edit the shot into slow motion, with this sound accompanying it. The reason for this is I believe slow motion can really highlight a problematic situation and by adding the slow motion sound effect as well it will increase the dramatic feel and pull the audience into the story further.

This piece of music is what I am hoping to use for the sad / emotional part of my video. I think this music will work well as it’s very slow and sticks to lower chords which give a depressing and upsetting feeling. It is also a well known pop song that includes emotional lyrics, so by using the instrumental of this song the audience will instantly relate it to the version they know which will increase the chances of them feeling emotional.

I asked my project partner for feedback. Here is what she had to say :

“I love the slow music one, it instantly made me feel sad as I know the original version with the sad lyrics so I instantly put two and two together. The happy music is perfect as well, made me think of a sunny day and made me all happy and giddy. I think the slow motion sound effect will work well as long as it is used appropriately, it could be quite difficult to incorporate but would be really effective if managed!”


Test Footage

As before, I wanted to try and capture some test footage so I knew that the camera I was using was appropriate for what I wanted to do and also to make sure that the environment / locations I picked were beneficial to my film.

Here are a few un- edited shots that I took to establish a connection between me and my actress. This test footage also gave me an idea of how the actress worked and get her used to being in front of the camera, which in the long run is beneficial as it means she will be more natural and realistic when it comes to shooting the final piece. I also practiced capturing shots that I could use to fill in spaces of the film that will determine the mood of the short film, for example by capturing the shot of rain it connotes the idea of misery and audiences are more prone to feel negative emotions when viewing it.  The same occurs the other way round, so for example when I am shooting video of colourful flowers and sunny weather it makes the audience feel positive and more upbeat.

I asked my project partner for feedback on this test footage. Here is what she had to say:

“I love how clear you have managed to capture everything in. The lighting is super good so makes everything  much better definition ! I especially liked the rain and flower shots as they are stark contrast which reflects what you are trying to do in your own movie. The only thing I suggest is getting more of a variety of shots, don’t be scared to incorporate more close ups and tracking shots as I think they could really work well!”

Researching Monsters + Creating Characters

In a typical horror movie there is always a stereotypical ‘damsel in distress’ protagonist who is being haunted/ chased by a crazy, unknown monster. My own horror film is not going to be any different and there are several reasons why this is. In this blog post I am going to be researching into previous horror protagonists and monsters and also put together, in description, the characters that I plan to use.

As I plan to focus on how effective editing can be rather than the storyline of my short film, I have chosen to stick to a typical horror cliche story so that it is easy to understand  and simple which means more emphasis will be put on how effective the editing actually is.

Inspiration for my own horror movie monster

JIGSAW, Saw Movies

The Jigsaw is one of the most infamous horror movie icons. The reason this monster inspires my own horror movie creature is because he is a figure that is controlled by someone else, playing into the ‘fear of the unknown’ theory as the audience never really know at first who is controlling this character. The Jigsaw character is also very menacing to look at which instantly makes the audience uneasy, putting them on edge straight away as they are constantly expecting this character to do something scary.


Some  of the scariest horror movie monsters wear masks and the character from ‘Scream’ is not any different. Ghostface is considered scary for the same reason as Jigsaw is… we, as an audience, do not know what is behind the mask and that makes us feel uneasy. The use of masks means that the identity of the monster is concealed which reduces the risk of an audience being able to relate and connect with them, meaning they become more fearful and dangerous to the protagonist as we do not know what they are capable of. The use of masks is a regular prop within horror, as can be seen in the images below which are taken from several different movies.

Killers, The Purge


Michael Myers
Hannibal Lecter


Through this research it inspired me to have my own ‘dissertation’ monster conceal themselves behind a mask. Even though I am focusing on how effective the editing is and am using a non scary plot line to create horror, I still need my characters to be effective and fearful. I want my horror character to wear a mask as it disguises the character and makes the audience ask questions such as “who is this person? Are they going to harm someone?”. These questions then add to the build up of the horror.

I roughly sketched what I wanted my antagonist to look like:

Even though this drawing looks pleasant because of the smile, I am planning on placing it on the suffocating, tied up pillowcase to give a sinister and uneasy feeling. The black holes instead of eyes takes away any connection that the audience may be able to  have with the antagonist while the ‘dried blood’ gives an ominous and gruesome feel. The tied rope around the bottom of the mask connotes the feeling of ‘being suffocated’ which represents how my protagonist feels with the pressure of her final dissertation deadline.

I asked my project partner, Tara Rance, for feedback on my antagonist.

I think that it’s going to work really well. I love the idea of the rope suffocating the antagonist which then represents the suffocation that the protagonist is feeling from her deadline. I think the ‘dried blood’ could be a bit too much but its worth a try, this character is all about creating an eerie feeling rather than being gruesome. Also, it would be hard to tie that ‘dried blood’ into the idea that this is a dissertation deadline monster’.

The Power of Sound + Sourcing Music / Sound Effects

One of the key differences to whether a horror movie is successful or not is through the sound effects/ music that is used. I have focused of the effect of music in a previous blog post (which can be seen here); however, I wanted to research further into how I can use music and sound within my editing to create more of an impact.

In many of the articles I searched through such as ” Putting fear in you ears: what makes music sound scary”  and “Why is scary music scary? Here’s the science.”, they discuss how music that is “non linear” has a bigger effect on audiences and creates higher anxiety which leads to the audience becoming more scared. A key example they use is the music from Jaws, “ominous bars of music signaling the approaching shark in Jaws, some of the most recognizable film scores were designed to terrify us.”

Reading these articles inspired me to start researching for my own music that I want to use in my short horror movie, a key element to my project idea that editing can change the mood of video.  I used YouTube to search through many different pieces of music, sound effects and songs to find the ones that I believe would be suitable for my own horror video.

This are the ones  that I found most effective and had the biggest impact on me as a listener (warning, some of the images are gruesome.)

As soon as I listened to these different pieces of music and sounds, I was instantly on edge as they are the definition of creepy and horror.  I found the last video, “creepy  child laughing”, the most effective as it played on my childhood fears of creepy characters that I can not relate too. Not being able to relate with the character that is laughing creates horror as it is  creating the fear of the unknown, an important factor for my own horror video. I believe that this specific piece of music will be really effective in my own horror video as the high pitched laughing connotes a sinister being which will help add fear to my short film.

I asked my project partner, Tara Rance, what pieces of music she found effective and why. Here’s the comments that she had to make:

“The first piece of music is very eerie. The mixture of the low, omnious tones and high pitched quick beats made the hairs go up on my arms as it made me think of creepy music boxes. The video  with the song that the creepy child is laughing was the most effective for me as I have always had an irrational fear , like many people, of dolls and creepy children so it just reminded me of them. It would definitely work in your video I think as its about an unknown figure that is haunting the protagonist and by having that creepy laugh it shows you that this unknown character is sinister and something to be afraid of.”

Presentation Feedback

On Wednesday 24th February we had to present our ideas in a seminar to give an idea of where we are with our projects.

I was able to gain valuable feedback from the questions asked after the presentation and comments and ideas given to me.

Some of the useful comments/ feedback I received were:

  • That I should perhaps create two/ three pieces of video that focused around three short stories rather than try and create two/three adverts. The thought behind this is that I will be able to experiment more and also gain more audience participation which could come in handy when thinking about how I will distribute and present my final project.
  • Stick to obvious storylines, don’t try and complicate them too much as they are a small part of the project. My main focus should be on how I am editing my videos rather than the actual story.
  • Think about how I am going to display my work and how people will view my work. Think how I can incorporate the audience to gather my results of the different emotions they feel after each video.


Feedback from Intensive Production (Bower Ashton and Frenchay).

Seminar Feedback , 30th Jan 2016

In our last seminar we were invited to discuss our initial ideas between our project partners and the rest of the group.

I gained some valuable insight into what people thought of my idea and how they believe I could experiment more with my idea to create a more daring and individual project.

Some of the feedback I received was :

  • Don’t stick to the “depressing” normality of other charity adverts. Think about how I can create emotion in other ways, for example imagine creating emotion  within audiences but not using an emotional scenario e.g. somebody dropping an ice cream on the floor. How could I use video elements to create a non emotional scenario into an advert that could create large amounts of emotion within an audience?
  • Focus on theory as this is what will give me a better understanding of how emotion is created through video.
  • See where others have gone wrong. Look at articles and papers on what is not working for advertisements and video and change those ideas with my own work.

I found this advice very motivational and it has set me on a path to develop my ideas further to make them  more individual and unique yet with a strong and emotional purpose.

Project Partners : Tara Rance and Johanna Iserloh