Sound and deception

Posted: December 4, 2010 in Random thoughts
Tags: , , , ,

(Saved by the bell – Backyard Babies)

After several weeks of social media, today’s post is about the art of deception. More specifically about tricks and camouflage.

Along the history have been developed lots of visual tricks and illusions. Nowadays is common to watch documentaries about film tricks (like for example the one about Emilio Ruiz del Rio I recommend at the end of here) and there are making of almost every movie or series. However special effects are not exclusively for fiction but also for ordinary life.

Wars, apart from many other things, are a great example of creativity in the field of deception. In addition to the well known use of camouflage patterns in militar clothes and vehicles skilled specialists have managed to mislead the enemy army. A good example are magicians as the british Jasper Maskelyne who concealed the Alexandria port and through a lure avoided the german bombs, which were dropped a few miles away over the mockup.

Also in the second war there were a whole US unit whose sole dedication was to fool the enemy. These unit called The Ghost Army, was formed by creative thinkers from many proffesions like painters, designers, engineers, photographers or actors who accompanied by a range of inflatable tanks and other fake armoury and signals achieve to feigned a big army and save some lives.

Which I find very interesting about this unit was the use of sonic deception helping to get the trick become credible. At first they were recording tipical battle sounds in the open air by means of a microphone and a wire recording installed in a truck. The sounds of bridges construction, tanks passing by, trucks, troops etc. were recorded separately. Having all this library of army sounds the sound engineers were able to playback different mixes to accommodate to the real scenarios where the Ghost Army were accross europe. The unit carried huge speakers and amplifiers over trucks, and played the sound effect mixes (that could be heard 15 miles away) accompaning the faking troops and rubber tanks.

I hope I will keep on discovering surprising and creative uses of sound once in a while.

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Comments
  1. hehehehehe I hadn’t heard anything about The ghost army before. Thanks very much for sharing your knowledge of the amazing art of sound camouflage!! Now I am really looking forward to applying it ;). Maybe some kind of sound deception in our assignments for them to seem longer/bigger? I was thinking about some reverb… Think about it.
    Oh, by the way, really good documentary the one about Emilio Ruiz 😉 Even If I am sometimes unable to understand what parts of the bridge were real and what ones weren’t hehehehe

  2. Deception, what a word! Where comouflage ends, there begins magic!

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