Behind the Horror – Benztown Halloween Imaging tricks revealed!

Halloween’s coming!

After the last post, it’s time to reveal some of our horror imaging tricks. We asked some of our imaging talents and they shared their tricks with us. Learn here how to creep out a listener in only 30 seconds per promo.

Benztown’s HotAC Imaging Director Mike Santos shared a few horror imaging tricks with us:

‘I think VO layering is the key to making awesome halloween type imaging.  At various times, I’ll use anywhere between 2-4 layers.  Here’s a quick look at what I’ll do.

 1. Simple double – Double your VO and lower the pitch of one of the tracks 5 semitones. Gives it a nice “demon”-like sound. You can also cut 500hz-800hz out of the bottom to give it a little “fuzz”.

2. Sinister sound – It’s like the simple double from above, but also involves a third layer with a fast rotor effect flange on the third track. Gives it that little wobble that sounds a little sinister, which is always cool. I use the “fast rotor” setting in the waves metaflanger, but anything will work. Just as long as it has that cool “wobble” sound.

3. Distorted fuzz – 4 layer combination using both the simple double and the sinister sound. Copy your VO, lower the pitch on one 5 semitones and leave that and the original VO center panned. Make another copy of the VO, offset it a little (either forward or backwards) from the original, and use some type of flange setting (i prefer the “classic phaser” in the waves metaflanger), then pan it 30-45 degrees left or right. Make another copy of the original VO, offset it from the original a little (the opposite way of the flanged track), and add some distortion. I like the sans amp “metal lead 1″ setting a lot. Then pan it 30-45 degrees to the opposite side of the flange track.

With all of these, having the correct levels is key.  As a rule of thumb, any time I copy a VO track, I’ll lower all the copied tracks 6dB and tweak it from there.

Of course, all these tricks are cool, but a great VO is a major part of having a successful halloween piece. The creepier the original VO sounds, the more dynamic you can make it.

Here’s a spot, I made for a haunted house here in LA. I also mixed out the VO and included a screen shot so you can see the layering.’

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WPLJ imaging Director and format captain for Spark, Dan Kelly shared some tips which don’t require expensive plugins.

The key is pitching down the duplicated VO track with different pitch values, one lower than the other. By slightly stretching and placing the VO in different positions. You can create a scary VO effect with no big effort.

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Thanks to Mike and Dan for sharing their tricks audio and screenshots with us.

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