My immediate impressions when watching the video was that the narrative is in two distinct sections. The first is scene setting, showing an empty and derelict village on a mountain. The next section turns the depiction of the central figure into a monster, surviving a stab wound and showing magical ability.
To reflect on this, my two main influences for the ‘scene setting’ were: No Country for Old Men and The Witcher III Both of these examples have a high emphasis on environment and foley.
I wanted the essence of the environment, so I took a long time making a convincing and reactive ambience pass for the first half of the video. This was immediately challenging as the very first shot is a transition from inside a barn to outside. Automating EQ of several ambiences, this acted as both a transition between environments and a more dynamic fade into the video.
I then wanted to convey the height of the shot with a heavy wind gust, as the camera pulls out to reveal the view.
The next shot showed the bridge and to add the dilapidated feel of the village, I included some creaking in the atmos tracks, helping it to feel rickety.
The following shot, which I label ‘the pit’, I decided to make the audio break from the heavy ambience focus we’ve had so far. This is because I wanted to use the shot as a narrative device to forbode the coming significance of the pit.
I used my first ‘cinematic sound effect’ with a low bouncing hum and a slight metallic groan towards the end, to allude to the upcoming events.
So far, there has been a heavy emphasis on foley to isolate the character in the environment, highlighting the silence around him.
I decided to use a mixture of grass and stone footprints, as well as heavy wooden steps on the bridge and pit shots, showing a variety of terrain. The other half of the foley was the cloth for the main character. I performed this live by twisting two leather jackets inside each other and a recording of a bag with metal fastenings. This was to add the jingles on the attachments he wears. These were divided into groups and then in a master ‘foley’ group in my DAW. I then attenuated the groups volume and master to imply movement in the scene.
The video now arrives at what I have referred to as the second half. I wanted to emphasise the monstrous nature of the main character. I pulled from horror examples like DARQ, with highly processed cinematic hits to emphasise dramatic moments in the narrative.
My first major example was using a rising tone to follow the warrior’s thrust into the blacksmith. Pulling all cinematic sound design once the impact occurs, this leaves the moment bare to stress the strangeness and drama in the event. I use similar techniques throughout the rest of the video.
One of the most important events in the video and emphasised in the brief was the sword shatter.
This took several drafts, as I originally drew on glass impacts from films like Dredd 3D (19 seconds in):
The issue with techniques like this was that the shot doesn’t cut to the impact, meaning that a dramatic explosion style impact wouldn’t sit well when timed with the visuals. Instead, I used a swoop effect for the hand and put much more emphasis on the sustaining effect drawing from glass samples.
During the mask sequence, I used both metal and flesh impacts from gore libraries to build up the shards. I then effected the warrior vox with a high frequency cut on the E, to muffle it beneath the mask.
I then wanted to convey heat with the steaming effect that follows, and used a recording of a frying pan to create a sizzling effect whilst the foley and vox convey a struggle.
The last moment was a return to the pit where the mask is thrown down into the abyss. This is why I highlighted the pit in the previous sequence, so I could to add dread to the warrior’s fate.
I wanted to make the metal impact ring and picked an anvil hit sound from my library, I then used tremeloes and pitch bends to then develop layers that rose upwards as the mask fell.