Recording Tentacles…

One of the main challenges with the film we’re working on at the moment is creature sound design…. Apart from creature vocals I’ve been working on movement & as these particular creatures have tentacles I’ve been trying various approaches – using mud recordings, various plant material etc but yesterday I had a spark of inspiration to try recording some kelp/seaweed & as it was such a beautiful summers day I was desperate for an excuse to skive off/i mean do some work at the beach so I grabbed a bucket, the record kit & headed off for a drive around the South Coast from Wellington. It is one of the best things about this little city; within 15 minutes you can literally be in the wild! And its my excuse for owning a 4WD, because you sure need one to get to this place (or a few hours spare to walk)

There was plenty of kelp but it was so hot that it was impossible to get away from cicadas… I had kind of suspected that would be the case, hence the bucket, so I climbed down on the rocks & managed to break some slimey long pieces of kelp off… And sheesh it is hard to break – its seriously strong! I also took a broom as figured I would need something to try & entangle the kelp – either that or go for a swim & swimming in kelp isnt my idea of fun! Anyway I managed to drag some kelp up on to the rocks & proceeded to break through it by hitting it with the broom… About this point some tourists came wandering along & asked what we were doing… ‘ah we’re collecting kelp to make sounds for the tentacles on a monster’ ‘for a movie?’ ‘ ah yes!’

There was no way in hell I was going to throw slimey smelly seaweed around in my studio so this evening I waited until most everyone had gone home & set my mics up outside. I hadn’t really thought about it, but a neighbour came wandering along & once he realised what I was about to do offered me some rubber gloves (he does prop building etc) and in hindsight, man was I grateful!

I recorded about half an hours worth of material, slithering & slapping the kelp down on concrete, and shaking the daylights out of it. The sound seemed like a cross between rubber & leather, except it also had a wet component to it – creepy! But the best material was when I was throwing pieces around that had multiple tendrills… I’ll upload a few bits tomorrow once I’ve loaded it up & sifted through it. Will definitely be putting some of this through the Doppler plugin too!

A fun day at the office!

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