Lobotomy in Orbit

We were tasked with an interesting project on friday (12th june, 2015) to create a horror sound scape using the movie “Event Horizon” (1997, Paramount) as inspiration. If you are the queasy type then I suggest that you check out some kittens on Facebook instead of reading on (I look at kittens on FB a fair bit so don’t feel bad), but if you have a strong stomach then let’s continue!

When watching Event Horizon, we were asked to think about some different aspects of the sound and make some notes on what was happening with the music, sound, mix and effects. It was a class discussion and although many of my peers thought the content of the movie wasn’t the greatest, we could all appreciate the effort that went into the sound design. Below is a list of what we observed with the sound.


  • Crescendo
  • Glissando
  • Orchestral
  • Atonal


  • Sci-Fi
  • Low Tech
  • Organic
  • Synthesised


  • Dynamics
  • Discreet
  • Dry
  • Predictable
  • Cliche


  • Cheesy
  • Borrowed
  • Unrealistic
  • Bass Drop

We then were instructed to think about these elements and incorporate them into a 2:30-3:00 minute sonic-landscape of our own, the only rules being to make a sound experience that makes the listener feel what it would be like to be in that situation (and hopefully no one reading this blog ever will be!). Another handy direction was to think about the structure and go for a story, thinking about when, why and how this event could happen but more importantly, it HAS TO BE SCARY!

So thinking about the elements mentioned above I started to conceptualise a story and came up with the lobotomy in orbit concept, the premise is that a woman (Eve White, great acting by the way) is in a very unfortunate situation, terrified from having to listen to a maniac creeping around the space station lobotomising people.

Last trimester I helped one of my peers, Kasper Skou, to record some foley and dialogue for the short film “Screw You”, and after the session was complete I did what every sound guy does best…copied the raw .wav’s to use as part of my sound library! Eve White performed a gut-churning whimper that really makes you feel uncomfortable and this is what became the sound of the woman in “Lobotomy in Orbit”. All of the sounds you hear in LIO are in fact taken from this foley session and reworked into a whole new beast and the atonal music track was created by myself using Komplete 9 Ultimate.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 4.27.14 PM
Pro Tools edit window

To make the effect of the psycho seem more menacing I created an aux track and sent the drills, glass shards, smashes and man-screams to it (pre fader, gain at unity). I inserted a seven band EQ to the aux track and rolled off the highs and mids to make it sound like it was happening ‘next door’ and then automated the level of the dry signals to make it feel like he was walking into the room.

Mid Sequence of the music track
Mid Sequence of the music track

A cool thing that I have been doing lately is stacking up the instruments in K9U to make multi-instrument patches that are triggered by the same MIDI information. To do this you select whatever instruments you would like and make their “MIDI channel” the same, the result is a fuller sound without having to add any additional information. This technique also makes it possible to create some instruments that could never exist in the real world.

Set the MIDI channels the same
Set the MIDI channels the same
Pro Tools mix window
Pro Tools mix window


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