What happens in a theatrical production when the script calls for a “mob” but you have only a small cast of actors? Sound Designers to the rescue!
This past spring, Michigan State University Department of Theatre Sound Design instructor Lucas Nunn collaborated with a Voice Over class comprised of the 2021 MFA Acting Cohort and led by Assistant Professor of Acting, Voice, and Speech Deric McNish. They recorded in the lobby of the Wharton Center for Performing Arts to create “walla walla”, also known as crowd noises, for our Spring production of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
Scroll below to find a short video of the recording process and several audio files that break down the artistry that goes into creating an original crowd sound cue.
For updates and information about the release of the Department of Theatre’s 2021 production of Julius Caesar, visit theatre.msu.edu/caesar.
CAESAR ‘WALLA/LOOP GROUP SOUND FILES
“Lupercal Caesar Cheering” Walla/Loop
In this track you will hear the actors doing a “Cae-sar” chant exactly as it was recorded; stacked the hi/normal/low pitches on top of each other. Separate tracks are then added with additional high and low pitch shifting, followed by the final mix of the chan with stereo panning and a slight reverberation. You’ll then hear two separate takes of ‘Hail Caesar’ callouts, followed by a mix of callouts and general cheers, then the final mix of everything edited together into a sound cue.
“Ghost Whispers” Walla/Loop
For this sound, the actors were give the following prompt: “Your dog, named Caesar or Brutus, got in the trash, and you are scolding them!” This track begins with two whisper recordings stacked on top of each other, followed by the same thing but with one of the tracks reversed. The final mix adds reverberation to cover up undesired background noise and add another eerie layer to the cue.
“City Mob” Walla/Loop
This “City Mob” track starts with two separate takes of “mob ambience”, followed by two takes of “mob callouts”. The final mix is all ambience and callouts layered together with stereo panning to give the impression of physical distance between the actors.