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How to Create a SCARY Ghost Vocal Effect! | Creative Dialogue Effect Quick Tip

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Shownotes and Transcript

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How’s it going, everyone? Sean here with Inlustris Audio, and today I’m just going to give you guys a really quick tip on a super cool dialogue creative edit you can do to make your voice sound like a ghost, poltergeist, that spooky, scary type of sound. Yeah, so we’re just going to get into it, no intro, no fuss, no muss, let’s just hop right in. So what I’ve done here is I have prepared a short dialogue statement just for tutorial purposes: 

“This is test audio for creative dialogue editing.” 

So, super simple, super clean, and all I’ve done here is just basic EQ edits to get it ready.

Now, the first thing you’re going to want to do is make a copy of it, and edit the copy. That way, if something goes wrong, you always have the original to go back to. So, I’m going to make a copy here, and the first thing you want to do is actually reverse it. 

Most audio editing software, even Premiere Pro or Adobe Audition, has the ability to reverse the audio natively, so you don’t have to worry about buying anything for that. So, we’re just going to render the reversed audio. This is what it sounds like now; 

Sounds pretty cool, pretty weird already. But now that it’s reversed, I’m going to just print it onto a new track. So, I’ve created a bus here that’s going into this track, and we’re just going to go ahead and record.

Cool, so now I’m just going to go ahead and hide the first track. Now, all we have to work with is our reverse. Cool. So, now what you’re going to want to do is add a reverb to it, and you’re going to want to go ahead and choose a reverb that has a very long decay time or tail to it. The reason is we’re going to use that tail as a lead-in later on during this processing. 

So, we’re going to go ahead and use RAUM, it is a very good reverb plug-in. I love, love this one; it just sounds super nice, super clean. We’re going to go ahead and listen to what it sounds like on default; 

Pretty good, 4.8 seconds. I’m actually just going to boost that up a little bit to six seconds decay time. This really, once you understand and hear what the end result sounds like, you can kind of think in your head a little bit, 

‘Okay, how long do I want the lead-up going into this ghost effect?’ 

And you can really play around with it, but this is all personal taste as far as what you want in your reverb sound. I’m just going to go ahead and do some of my basic go-to settings.

Okay, let’s just see what this sounds like. 

Cool, and I like that you can still hear intelligibility with the voice, even though it’s reversed, and the decay is not too much, not too little. I feel like it’s just right for what we want to do. So, now that we have this reversed with reverb, we want to go ahead and make a new track again. And very similar to last time, just get your bus going into the new track, and record it, print it to the new track. The thing is when you do record this, and this is very important, so I’m going to zoom in a little here. Very important: when you record this one, you want to make sure that the tail of the reverb is recorded fully. 

For example, I did the 6.8-ish seconds of reverb tail, make sure you record all 6.8 seconds. It may seem annoying, but you do not want the reaver tail to be cut off. Just no, look at me, look at me. Yeah, record the tail. 

Cool, back at it. And now we’re just going to record it with the tail. Just kidding, now we’re going to record it with the tail. Sweet! So, the reverb was recorded. It decayed beautifully and naturally. Now we’re just going to go ahead and hide and make that inactive. And now we have the reversed file with the reverb baked into it, and it sounds like this. Cool!

So, what you’re going to want to do is select that clip again, go back to your reverse plug-in, setting or option in whatever program you’re using, and you’re going to want to reverse it again. This will put it back into intelligibility mode, and I like to call it that, where we can hear what’s being said, but with the added benefit of the reverb leading in. This is what’s really going to give it that spooky sound.

“This is test audio for creative dialogue editing.”

It’s pretty cool. It’s got that lead-in. My reverb settings were a bit unnatural for this sort of effect. That means I will just have to go back and tweak some of the settings. It sounds a bit robotic or metallic to my ears. So, I’ll just go back and change some settings. But that is the general idea of how to get this sound. 

That reverb lead-up with that wispiness under it. It’s very common in horror movies. You’ll probably hear this effect in some form or another if you’re watching a horror movie, especially with ghosts and demons. They love to use this. That’s called the poltergeist effect. I think they used it in the Poltergeist movie. It makes sense why it’s called that.

But there are two other things I like to do to add to this creepiness that personally I just like. You may like it too, and by all means, this is just a starting point for the sound. This is the basic how-to, but then you can go ahead and continue to add on some more effects and other things like that to really make it your own and make it stand out. Put your own original spin on it.

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So, to start, I like to take the original sound and add the reversed version back under it. So, even though this is now being played back normally, I still like to keep the reversed [version] under it just a little bit. 

Remember that? 

Okay, so now let’s hear it played back with our new printed effect. I like it. We just need to do some basic mixing, bring it down.

This is test audio for creative dialogue editing. So, it just adds another layer of texture underneath it. And I do like to do one more thing, and that is add some whispering underneath. Some creepy whispering. I mean, what is a horror sound effect without some creepy whispering? Or if you wanted, you could also add child laughter or anything like that. That’s pretty typical.

“This is test audio for creative dialogue editing.” 

Whispers were a bit quiet, so I’m just going to bring it up a little bit.

“This is test audio for creative dialogue editing.” 

And of course, the more layers you add, the more mixing you’ll have to do for this effect. But that is the basic general idea of how to get a spooky, poltergeist, reverb, demon, ghosty effect to your voice.

So, that’s it for today’s video, guys. I hope you enjoyed this quick tip on creative dialogue editing for your videos. You are now able to make a ghost poltergeist sound for your content. If you got any value out of this video, please do me a favor and hit the like and subscribe button. It helps this channel out a lot and enables me to continue making more free content like this for you guys, so that you can improve your own content, whether it’s for your own videos, content marketing strategies, or any other hobbies or activities on YouTube. 

That just about wraps it up for today. Thank you all so much, and as always, I will see you guys in the next video.

Sean Crone

Sean Crone

Sean Crone is an audio post production engineer based in Rexburg, Idaho. He has extensive experience in field recording, dialogue editing, sound design, and working as a re-recording engineer. Sean takes special care to make sure the audio in his client's films helps support the story first.
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