I Was Trapped In A Cave For Hours

James Hemlock is what you would call an unexpected hero driven to right a handful of wrongs that others visit upon society. A determined, sharp-witted detective, when he realizes that a worldwide cult is insinuating itself in places you wouldn’t expect, he’s left with only one option: Unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

When author Thomas D. Taylor approached me to create the foley for the book trailer for “Hemlock: The Collected Mysteries, Volume I” there was nothing to say but, “Absolutely!”

It’s not just the creativity that drives projects like these, but the joy of doing what few people ever have a chance to do: Record audio and re-arrange to paint a vivid visual for the audience.

I dug through my audio snippets of awesome thunderstorms I’ve recorded over the past three years and heavy rainfalls on the roof (from inside and outside) and on the front porch and on the back porch and under leafy trees and in the basement and countless other places. I rustled through audio snippets of breezes and high winds. I kicked back and listened to gunshots and breaking glass and exploding beakers. In other words, over the years, I compiled a large audio library of disjointed sound bites with the help of my trusty now ancient (and no longer available for purchase) M-Audio Microtrack II, and this book trailer was gifting me with a chance to use them to create foley that was both unobtrusive as well as effective.

But what good is foley if there isn’t foreboding music to go along with it, and so this book trailer became one of the projects I like best to do: It was a challenge I was up to accepting.

What made this project all the more interesting was the fact that Thomas Taylor had set ideas about what he wanted this book trailer to sound like, and he provided me with a short description (from foley suggestions to special effects) for each segment.

Now some of you may think that creating the soundscape for a book trailer is pretty easy. Just slap a few sounds together and voila! you have foley. Wrong. Foley is more than just randomly chosen sounds shoved underneath the video.

When someone says “cave” to you, what sounds come to mind? For many people, that question stops them short because a cave is a cave, and at best, they’ll say that it probably sounds “echo-y.”

Each cave has its own unique sound because no two caves are made the same. There are limestone caves and lava caves, sea caves and ice caves, sandstone caves and mud caves, boulder caves and sinkholes, corrasional caves and erosional caves, fracture caves and solutional caves. And because there are so many different kinds of caves, it’s important to know what kind of cave is central to the foley.

If the action takes place in a solutional cave (formed by natural acids in groundwater dissolving soluble rock such as limestone, dolomite, gypsum, marble, or chalk), you have to consider the water element in those caves.

Created at or just below water level, you’re going to hear water dripping and not just in one spot in that cave. It’s going to be all around you. There will be flowstone forms (where water flows over walls and floors) and stalagmites thrusting upwards (formed by water dripping down on them from the ceiling) and stalactites (hanging from the cave ceiling and formed by layers of calcite deposited there by dripping water). And within the definition of stalactites are sub-forms: drapery stalactites (where calcite is deposited in thin sheets like a curtain) and soda straws (tiny, hollow stalactites) and helectites (formed as air moved within a humid cave leaving calcite to form at angles).

What about wildlife? What about bats and fish and salamanders and insects and spiders and troglobites? Some have voices while others don’t but rest assured they all make noises of one kind or another.

And for a few short hours, I was responsible for re-creating a world by way of foley … and I loved every minute of it.

Of course, there was dialogue and while there are all manner of special effects that can be used to approximate people talking in different locations, I’m still a great believer of the more natural approach. It’s amazing how recording in a small bathroom with no shower curtain or towels can make two people sound like they’re talking — even shouting — in a cave. It’s an analogue sound that can’t be honestly replicated by a digital effect.

Once Thomas had married the audio to the visual, the two-minute book trailer was ready for uploading to the Internet.

So for those of you who are thinking of tackling the creation of a book trailer on your own, keep in mind that unless you can consider most (if not all) of the sounds that are required for each segment, it’s best to have a professional work with you on creating that book trailer.

And for those of you who want to watch the book trailer for Thomas D. Taylor’s book, “Hemlock: The Collected Mysteries, Volume I” here it is.

Now doesn’t that make you want to pick up a copy of “Hemlock: The Collected Mysteries, Volume I” to add to your private or digital library?

You can purchase a paperback edition on Amazon by clicking HERE or on CreateSpace by clicking HERE.

You can purchase the eBook edition on Amazon by clicking HERE.

And that, people, is how James Hemlock got me into a (virtual) cave where I was trapped for a few hours (as well as other locations), and scared the living daylights out of me.

Elyse Bruce

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