Special FX Theremin

Posted: 11/15/2005 10:11:10 PM
pansophia

From: CA

Joined: 11/12/2005

I have several software theremins, and I'd like to be able to imitate a special fx sound that I hear in a lot of movies. The sound occurs often associated with dark gothic industrial cities, dystopian underground factories, or huge gothic spaceships. It's a twangy noise that evokes dark electricity or radar. I can get something close by playing E and F repeatedly at low end of software theremin keyboard.

I have no way of capturing the sound, but I heard it recently during various parts of Daredevil, and as a ship sound effect in the Vision of Escaflowne movie. I hear this sound so frequently, though, it must be from a standard sound effects library. I would like to learn how to do similar sounds myself, though, so I can make variations.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
Posted: 11/16/2005 12:10:57 AM
dulcimoo

From: COWafornia

Joined: 3/23/2005

Can you post a link to a mp3 or wav file?
Posted: 11/16/2005 12:16:20 AM
pansophia

From: CA

Joined: 11/12/2005

I wish. I don't have enough space left on my computer to download a movie from which to take a snippet. :-(

I'm sorry the request is vague. It's a very, very, very common sound effect. It sounds a bit mysterious and spooky in a gothic industrial way. Daredevil has been on TV recently, so I'm hoping someone might see that. the sound is used combined with hospital noises, I think to represent radar hearing when Daredevil first gets his powers. It's used during other parts of the movie, too.
Posted: 11/16/2005 4:21:57 PM
DiggyDog

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Maybe I will have to sit through Daredevil again to hear the sound.

Are there any other examples you can give us where it appears?
Posted: 11/16/2005 8:39:06 PM
pansophia

From: CA

Joined: 11/12/2005

I'm keeping an ear out for more examples now. Nothing specific comes to mind, but I hear it very frequently. The next time I hear it, I'll rush back and post it here. I hear it in TV shows, too - a few days ago I heard it either in Star Trek: The Next Generation or Stargate. I can't remember which - possibly it was on both.

On a side note, I just heard a different, but classic, theremin sound in the 60s movie "Modesty Blaise".
Posted: 11/17/2005 6:34:15 AM
Jason

From: Sammamish, Washington

Joined: 2/13/2005

Just looked up that film & added it to my Netflix queue. Sounds interesting. I hadn't heard that it used a theremin before, so I'll have to pay extra attention :)
Posted: 11/17/2005 10:51:36 PM
pansophia

From: CA

Joined: 11/12/2005

It's very subtle in Daredevil and mixed with other sounds. It's definitely a theremin, though. You can hear it straight-up in the Escaflowne movie.
Posted: 11/19/2005 8:06:13 AM
Marble Field

From: Athens, Greece

Joined: 5/23/2005

It sounds to me quite possible that your desired sounds may come from ordinary hardware or software synthesizers rather than a theremin. It is quite easy to produce simple theremin-like effects on typical synths by playing only a single note and modulating the sound with an LFO for example. Software synthesizers like Absynth have tons of such "atmospheric" presets. Maybe you should check that out...
Posted: 11/19/2005 11:28:58 PM
pansophia

From: CA

Joined: 11/12/2005

I have Absynthe 2, but I haven't been able to reproduce the sound on that.

I think you might be right, though. I'm pretty sure the sound is made with a keyboard, but it sounds like a theremin. I've been able to get closest on the software theremin with the keyboard that's in your free software theremin's section.

By the way, I think I heard the sound again today. I caught the end of a movie called "The Hunted". The sound could be heard during a car chase - I guess it was supposed to make the chase sound eerie. It was mixed with other sounds like in Daredevil, though. :-(
Posted: 11/19/2005 11:36:17 PM
pansophia

From: CA

Joined: 11/12/2005

Hey, I think I just heard it on Samurai Champloo. During the pirate attack at the beginning. It was mixed with explosion sounds, though, so it was hard to tell. A few minutes later, it comes back during the ocean scene.

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.