In this short video, award-winning film, games and TV composer Guy Michelmore walks us through the process of designing a mystical dragon scene using Dehumaniser 2 and Concept 2. 

“An astounding piece of software which creates monster sounds out of the human voice. It’s become a bit of an industry standard.”

Watch how Guy demonstrates just how fun and easy it is to take life into your own hands and create a scene that chills the bones.

Bring Your Creatures to Life

Concept 2 Logo

Sound Manipulation Done Right

Try It For Free

Video Transcript

Hello, everybody. Today I am going to take you into a terrifying world of darkness, of monsters – of unspeakable sounds. Is it really a terrifying world of darkness, or is it a cupboard in my spare bedroom? It’s the latter, of course.

But today what we’re going to be doing is exploring an astounding piece of software which creates monster sounds out of the human voice.

It’s become a bit of an industry standard.

And it’s made by a slightly ominous sounding organisation called Krotos. And, Krotos sounds like the kind of secret organisation dedicated to the overthrow of democracy and the world as we know it.

But, actually they’re a bunch of nice software developers from Scotland, and they probably like nothing better than a skinny latte.

Anyway, we’re gonna be looking at that and they produce a synthesiser.

So we’re going to have a go with that as well. You ready? Forward to the shed. Okay. What we’ve got going on here. We’ve got a little bit of a movie which I’ve downloaded from story blogs. Here we go. And it’s a simple little piece of animation of a sort of mystical lake with, you can just see a dragon flying in there in the background.

And, obviously the dragon needs a monster sound. So we’re going to create a monster sound. Then we’re going to use the synth to create some music to go with this simple little scene.

Okay. So first of all, how am I going to turn myself into a monster? All I’m going to do is do sort of weird growling and snarly stuff, just like I do every Monday morning (actually speak to the family for details). And then we’ll turn on this plug in, which is called Dehumaniser.

Now, Dehumaniser is a collection of extraordinary kind of devices, which let’s get it up here, which turn human voice into something really, really scary. This one’s called Angry Beast. When I say industry standard, when you listen to the monster in things like stranger things, what you’re listening to is a voice actor going “woooowoooo” put through Dehumaniser.

So, stand well back. Okay. So I’m going to go “roar”, “rah” – all that kind of stuff and I’ll then turn on Dehumaniser and you’ll see what it sounds like. So here we go. “Roar”, Rah”. Wow. Oh, okay wow. So now I have “monsterised” myself, if that’s even a word, let’s dig into the synthesis part of this.

This is the second version of Concept, Concept 2 which adds granular synthesis. One of the things I really like about synthesisers is when they do something slightly different to sort of take the whole thing forward because otherwise you sort of just going around the same sort of stuff.

But, you know, when Serum came along, everyone. Oh, yeah, that’s great. When Razor came along. Oh, that’s great. That’s great. What was the other one? Which I really liked, Are You Dune. Oh, that’s great. Now this one, it’s real point of difference for me is it uses not just traditional oscillators and waveforms, wavetable synthesis, but also granular.

In other words, the synthesiser can take little tiny bits of sound from a real audio recording, and you can either use their built in stuff or and this is the bit I really like – you can upload your own.

So, you could have the sound of a small hamster snoring and put it in there and use that as the basis for your synthesis. And you can do the same with…here we go. Look, this little tiny bit here, let’s see if I can zoom in on that. Here, look, this little bit here means you can drop in any sound file, and it will act as an impulse response for the Reaper built in. So it’s very, very customisable.

And the other thing is, it’s really easy to assign these LFOs which are things, for example, if you want to sign the pre-delay, how does it go like that? Drag and drop. Oh, yes, you take the hand thing there if that’s what you wanted to modulate, that’s how you do it. You just grab a title, grab the name, drop it on and it’s good to go.

So look, this is, oh god, I’ve done something slightly unpredictable there. So, if I want to attach an ordinary Midi knob, I can just right click on that button there, and then I twiddle the knob like that and up on the screen, you can see if you look carefully, not that side, it’s now attached. So the filter cut off goes up and down on my twiddle things.

So what I’m looking to do here, just getting back to my strange little piece. I want to kind of put some kind of beddy thing underneath it. Just make one change in here. I want the, I want to keep the sustain up a bit. And let’s just take the impact of this down a little bit. All I’ve done there is I’ve changed the filter cut off, so it’s not controlled by the LFO. So I’ve got more control over it.

So it’s really easy to edit stuff. Here we go, let’s run this. Okay fair dos. Right, now I’m going to render that as audio and then try another sound in there as well. So we might try one and then add some of our own personalised samples in there.

Okay, so there’s that. Right, let’s go back to Concept. I want a bit more sound. Let me turn this down a bit. Okay, when things don’t balance, people immediately turn things up, I would say to you, what you might need to think about is turning things down, turn other things down rather than always turning up. 

Hahaha! That’s alright, that’s good! Right, now let’s go back to Concept. Here we go. Let’s dive in here and let’s have a look at what we’ve got. Let’s try a different sound. Let’s go to favourites, erm.. cinematic hit, disturbance – disturbance!!! I’ll go for, disturbance! *Right, simple as that. Now, I’m going to bounce that out and then I’m going to use these as bits of audio and then place them where I want them. So, this is something I do all the time.

Okay, there we go. Let’s just deactivate that for a moment. Okay, let’s see what we’ve got. So you can hear how there’s a distinctive family resemblance between the synthesiser and Dehumaniser. Because, Dehumaniser…so, what you’re not going to get out of the synthesiser is sort of standard kind of acoustic pads. And I’m sure you could do it. But that’s not really what it’s for. It’s here to do something a bit kind of, weird and wonderful and it does weird and wonderful rather well. And it does sound different.

I mean there’s room in the world for an awful lot of synthesisers which do things differently, particularly if they’ve got a voice of their own, which this one does. I said I was going to drop in some…Ok, what we haven’t done yet is come on, Guy…get with the programme. Dark Ambiance, Boeing Metals, put that in, let’s see what happens with that. And now I’m going to take a sound file. I’ve got…okay what I’m going to do, where’s my sound files gone – here we go.

I’m going to drop in a piano cluster, which was something which I recorded the other day. Okay, drop that in there and drop another piano cluster in a different recording. Where’s it gone? Come on, up you get. A different piano cluster, drop it into the second one. Okay. So what do we got here? It’s quite quiet. Okay, you can see it going up and down – okay start. Ohhh, It’s quite ambient. So it’s more of a texture, isn’t it.

Okay, bounce that. And then I can put that where I want it and out it renders. So I mean, I like doing it this way because rendering stuff out allows you to arrange things in time and also reuse things which really work. And if you get stuff which you like and then you can do other things to it, you can drag it about and you can make it longer. That’s that’s nice. Okay, so that’s my piano clusters, let’s add it all in with the rest.

And this is what we get! There, you go. Well, look, I mean, the point is, these are really interesting sound design tools, and it can go two ways. You can either use it as a pure sound design tool and make yourself sound like a monster, or you can go down the Concept 2 route and use similar tools with really easy customisation to produce something which sounds a bit kind of, “Woah”, out there, wacky and interesting. I mean, is Concept 2 the synch you go to for your every need?

No, is it a synch you go to to add that little kind of extra layer of differentness on the top? Yes, it would. And for me, that’s a big thumbs up. Two thumbs up because I’ve got two thumbs. So look, I hope you enjoyed that and download the trial of Dehumaniser because it’s fun.

It’s a professional product, so it’s not particularly cheap, but what it does, it does exceptionally well. And thank you very much, indeed, to Krotos from up there in Scotland for the review copy of Concept 2 which they gave me, which is very nice of them.

Thank you very much, indeed. And I’m already using it in stuff I’m using because it just adds to the arsenal of synthesisers. And it does come with a particularly distinctive offering. And if that’s something which you need and you like the customisation, then go and check it out. Anyway, that’s all for today, lots of links underneath this video, stuff you can download for free, all that kind of things. But for me, for the time being, see you soon, bye bye.

Guy Michelmore’s Profile/Background

Guy Michelmore is a multi award winning composer with a portfolio that would make your eyes water. So far, during his career, Guy has developed a “next level” reputation for being an expert crafter of soundtracks to cinematic masterpieces on small, large and every other screen size in between. He has scored projects with Dreamworks, Marvel, Lionsgate, Disney and is both an ANNIE and EMMY nominee. Most recently, his latest creative venture has seen him head up ThinkSpace Education, a new online music school that offers courses in composing for TV, films and games.