Video and Sound: Bloodchild Sound Piece

by Bryan Hsu and Jingfei Lin

If you haven't read Bloodchild by Octavia Butler, please do so or else none of this stuff will make any sense.

The Bloodchild soundpiece is from the point of view of the achti chosen to be sacrificed for the emergency Tlic birthing. I felt that the relationship between Terran and Tlic is an extension of the relationship between animal and human. In the story, Terrans are fed, nurtured, and cared for, until they are needed to be used for selfish reasons. As Gan carries the injured achti to the house, their breathing and heartbeats become one. Gan is hesitant when killing the achti since he may very well meet the same exact fate.

The audience is required to have already read Bloodchild in order to fully understand this soundpiece. The soundpiece is essentially what the achti hears and experiences, so headphones are recommended to enhance the sense of immersion. If this was an installation, visuals could be used to help heighten the experience, and the next step would obviously be VR.

The recording process all of these sound effects was enlightening. Every sound source (except the music towards then end) was created with what most people would call trash. Most of the recording was done in one day. I went to New Jersey over the weekend, so I was able to capture some more organic sounds such as the nighttime ambient noise and footsteps in a hay field. I ended up becoming very familiar with the Zoom recorder's microphone level. By looking at the sound levels, along with general awareness of external forces like wind, I quickly grew accustomed to rapidly recording sounds without having the need to double check the sound recording with my headphones.

Editing in Adobe Audition was a bit of an ordeal, however I was able to get a hang of it quickly. My final Audition mix is still a bit of a mess though, so in any future projects, I need to remember to be more organized with my sound labeling and track naming. The Effects tool was fun to play around with, but I kind of felt aimless since I was basically using trial and error with the different tools to find the effect I wanted. Overall, this assignment was a challenging and great learning experience.