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Booming vocal bass ala Smaug in Hobbit movie.

Postby shakas » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:31 pm

Does anyone know what technique is used to make the booming low-end in the speech of beasts and demons in movies. It sounded so great when I recently saw Smaug in the theater. I figured it must be simple...but when I started playing with a vocal to try and reproduce it, I couldn't do it. Simply boosting the low-end with an EQ didn't do it...I know the voice actor is capable speaking deeply on his own, but it was certainly more than his natural bass.

So then I thought maybe using a vocoder on the vocal tied to a sine-sub synth with the mix about half way would do it...and while it did work a bit.. It also added some shitty crackly artifacts and stuff that just didn't reproduce that perfect smooth bass modulating itself along with the vocal.
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Postby Eskimo » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:28 pm

You could try multiband compression
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Postby Brothulhu » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:45 pm

It's all about the vocoder, a sine isn't going to work though. You'll need to experiment to find a good carrier synth. Youtube some movie sound design videos. I'm pretty sure I saw one where they made a dragon voice using a pitched down horse neigh as the carrier
https://soundcloud.com/ruitheam-records/pressure-by-cryonic-dreams

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Postby hubb » Sat Dec 21, 2013 7:36 pm

It's almost an artform.

A nice trick is to have the same sample pitched at a few different pitches and then mix them together. A really high pitched or highsounding copy/layer that has been highpassed, can add more correct sounding sybilance to a very low pitched layer and vica versa. Try it out.

Apparently they use a certain type of microphone in this instance - but I can't figure out what type it is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKRjCp-Mspk

Probably sounds a bit cleaner in the theatre..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p21lJlrgt9U
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Postby Brothulhu » Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:49 pm

Listening to that maybe try lowpassing a delay or reverb for extra bass after vocoding
https://soundcloud.com/ruitheam-records/pressure-by-cryonic-dreams

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Postby Hollotronic » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:19 pm

Check out Waves LoAir plug in or something like it. It's a sub harmonic generator. It's pretty useless in music because it wouldn't be as clean or musical, but it's used all the time in movies.

Edit: These types if plugins aren't the same as Maxbass or Rbass, which add harmonic frequencies above an already existing sub frequency.
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Postby Fowles » Wed Dec 25, 2013 6:51 pm

just saw the hobbit last night. Was pretty amazed by the overall sound of the movie, especially Smaug. His voice is very low, but it doesn't sound like it is detuned to achieve the lowness. Ill try messing around with some waves plugins to see if i can get something similar.
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Postby hubb » Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:31 pm

the reason it isn't detuning or (more correctly) phasing is that it's a live microphone effect so it produces two pitches at once.
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