Virgin Active – Tough Mudder

What does mud sound like at a thousand frames per second? Here the sound design focused on the viscosity of the mud, the morphing gelatinous element that is more like the flow of hot lava than the splatter of wet mud.

The visuals for this were shot by Iain Crawford with the edit by Firebelly Films and grade at Framestore, so the standards were set high from the outset. We had our own tough challenge ahead. From the comfort of the air-conditioned, clean and dry studio of course!

Designing high frame rate audio often employs more left-field techniques – simply slowing down a sound rarely achieves the right sound for the motion, and in the case of wet liquid textures ends up sounding very similar to the original sound with none of the intended slow-motion effect.

We used sounds processed by the spectral smearing (sounded appropriate!) and granular resonance processing on a Kyma Paca Rana sound design computer, but processing transitional sounds rather than the mud sfx. This created an amorphous layer that provided the liquid element and was then supplemented with real mud recordings, breathing etc to give the piece a gritty, human element.