Psychoacoustics

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πŸ“… Published on June 9, 2019

"Psychoacoustics"

This month’s film from the Octopunk vault is Psychoacoustics – my third film overall! I shot this in the summer of 2017 and it world premiered last May as part of a horror feature anthology, What Becomes of Us. It is a short horror film starring Sarah Dionna and Jessica Rueger. You will also recognize our usual makeup lass Kristin Ciotti, who cameos as the nurse!

As usual, I shot this one, as I shot all my films before Seven Deadly Synths. This was my first time using the C100 though, and I definitely made some dumb mistakes with it. I was also still figuring out color grading. Hopefully, you can tell my cinematography (or at the very least my pre-production and storyboarding efforts) came a long way between this and DA.

For those of you who watched the DBH Playthrough and experienced Ty’s carrot ASMR, you might remember that he mentioned “I’m actually one of those people who hates hearing people chew,” to which I replied, “you have misophonia, like me and Austin do.” And that, essentially, is what this film is about. I wanted to create a horror film that relied on sound, rather than visuals, to spark a reaction in the audience. Since binaural beats are a plot point in the film, Austin composed a soundtrack that used a lot of audio panning and psychoacoustic signals – aka, notes that you can perceive, but that aren’t actually being played.

Apparently, only about 10-20% of the population experiences misophonia, or “sound rage,” but you definitely know it if you have it. Therefore, at screenings of this film, I’d usually only have about 10% of the audience really get into it. For a long time, this really got me down emotionally, and I considered this film a failure. Luckily, its final live screening at Women In Horror Film Festival garnered me a great response and a lot of personalized comments from audience members who suffer from misophonia, and they told me it was very effective! I even had someone with a phobia of binaural beats tell me that the binaural audio component was super creepy to them as well.

So ultimately, if you don’t suffer from miso or really understand it, this one may be lost on you. But if you are a misophone like I am, prepare to be seen :P

You should know that this film does portray an anxiety attack, and I think we did a pretty accurate job of capturing it – so if this is triggering or uncomfortable for you, you might want to skip this one (or just skip that scene…it’s from 4:50 – 5:40).

Produced by Octopunk Media / Michelle Iannantuono.

AUDIO TRANSCRIPT (MAY CONTAIN ERRORS)

[Music]
miss Naomi so your surveys that you’re
here to try the new trial for anxiety
yep well we still have a few spots left
so we’d be glad to have you on I think
it’s a really interesting treatment
because it’s designed for patients to
manage their symptoms without pills or
expensive therapies but it is an
audio-based treatment do you have any
issues with your hearing I think they
call it misophonia it’s like when I hear
all these noises that I can control like
bird chirping people eating well like
styrofoam
it gets terrible I think I know what you
mean for me I think it’s the worst when
I hear people bite out of an apple it’s
like so I’m gonna have you listen to a
10 minute audio sample of binaural beats
these are designed to promote certain
brain waves that will help relax you
I’ll send you an email with the mp3 so
you can listen to it over the next two
weeks just listing lots in the morning
and then
the evening and whenever you feel
anxious are you ready
[Music]
the senator declined to comment and
other local news we’re very proud to
report that local photographer
[Music]
Oh
[Applause]
[Music]
[Applause]
[Music]
you’re back early
so tell me about these side-effects that
wasn’t as sensitive as ohms but then it
all got worse and I’m starting hearing
voices but now like I saw they were
talking to me or tell me it’s do
anything anything like that it’s just
they’re all around these voices did they
sound like phone conversations radio
waves maybe I don’t know
[Music]
tranquilizer just in case yes ma’am
is something wrong no a Naomi I think
your results are very promising did you
know that this is phenomenal
I’m afraid the binary Obie’s trial
wasn’t intended to help you fix your
anxiety well what the hell is it your
sensitivity to sound makes you an ideal
candidate for any procedure the Beats
rewired your brain to amplify that
sensitivity and now you can hear of
frequencies beyond human hearing
how can you write help you made it worse
it’s okay we’re gonna help you control
it I don’t want to control it
I want to God you have to reverse this
now there’s no reversal this is who you
are now you’re gonna hear all the
competitors secrets they don’t want me
to know you’ll be able to hear
now
[Music]
take it downstairs we have tester on
[Music]

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