VLVT Audio Process
I’m writing this post because I get a huge number of comments and DMs asking details about how I do audio production. This will be a free post so I can link to it forever and ever. Thank you!
Feeling and Intent
A lot of my ideas start with audio. Bad Vibes, for example, started when I heard Sherry’s pleading in RE2— “Let me GO!”
When I hear something like that, I can't stop thinking about ways to use it. It was so genuine and filled with anguish, which is the kind of thing that’s really lacking in porn at large. I want my porn to fill interesting gaps that other creators are missing.
On that topic, I never source audio from actual porn. It’s too noisy, between the environment, the camera moving around, people breathing, etc. I can instantly tell when I watch a 3D clip if they’re using porn audio. Don't do it!
“The voice lines sound very realistic, did you hire an actress?”
Sometimes I hire actresses. 18+ actresses, for God’s sake.
I’m very picky selecting an actress. To say it in a few words: I feel like most porn-friendly voice actresses have the same ‘sound’, and it’s not what I’m looking for. If you’ve ever listened to the girls on Reddit’s GoneWildAudio, you might know what I’m talking about. Over the years I’ve found some amazing voice talents, though!
Custom voice work is a difficult process for a number of reasons. Mainly it’s that no matter how specific you get with line direction (describing how a line should be read), there’s always a way to read it that you weren’t considering. It’s like making a wish with a genie...
This means that you’re always choosing between settling with what you have, or going back for retakes. There’s no guarantee that a retake will be any closer to what you need, so you could be wasting time and money.
Prepackaged Voice Lines
Because of all this, most of my animations are actually constructed using repurposed voice lines from video games.
High-quality titles are full of good, well-directed, cleanly-recorded voice work. I’ve delved into game assets—The Last of Us, Resident Evil 2 Remake, Dishonored, and some others—and painstakingly extracted and labeled thousands of voice lines.
In the process of sorting them like this, I've found dozens of lines good enough to build entire stories around.
Bear Trap is almost completely composed of voice lines from The Last of Us… which is appropriate, but many of Sarah’s lines are actually Ellie.
There’s no good way to get one person’s voice to sound like another's, but pitch shifting and a little bit of EQ get you part of the way there. Your brain, which likes to make things consistent, does the rest of the work. When you see a character say a bunch of things in a row, you naturally assume they’re all being said by that character.
Voice Acting (the dudes)
90% of Joel’s voice lines in Bear Trap are lines from the game, but a single in-your-face line is actually delivered by a different voice actor I found.
There’s not as much to say about the male voice work, because it’s generally easier to make it fit. I’m not as obsessed with making their lines sound a certain way.
Gasps and Moans
The games above have given me a lifetime supply of breaths, gasps, moans, groans, and so on. I tag their files when I’ve used them, so I don’t accidentally reuse the same moans in different animations… too often.
If that’s not enough, it should be noted that pitch-shifting a moan generally works to make it sound distinct.
I’ve also commissioned a personal sex-moan “library” from a really good voice actress. Occasionally I pick from there.
Wait, so it’s all madlibs?
Yes, basically. It’s unbelievable how much audio these AAA studios produce for games. It’s even more unreal how much can be taken out of context for smut.
I noticed this first in Zelda: Twilight Princess, and I don’t mean how Midna moans every time you dash… It was way back in 2015 when I was making Midna Meets a Mimic, and I was extracting all of the sound effects from that game to find relevant audio.
The only thing was… it was all relevant. Every character moans, a LOT.
There are so many ways to bring these sounds together into a cohesive and convincing package, so please don’t think less of it. Like I said at the beginning, it’s all about the intent and the emotion of each line, but if there’s any chance viewers will notice something’s ‘off’, I won’t use it.
Most of the assorted foley (impact sounds), soundscapes, and gadgetry in my soundtracks are from freesound.org
. It’s an incredibly huge library with questionably useful content tags.
Many of the key sound effects, however, I record personally. Consider the Hitachi Wand-like vibrator in Bad Vibes.
Even something as simple as the world’s most ubiquitous vibrator can be hard to find good recordings of, but I had additional needs. The vibrator moves closer and farther from the camera. It gets pressed into Sherry’s skin, muffling its sound, and pulled away. It’s turned on and off repeatedly.
The only way to make that sound convincing was to take the genuine article and physically reenact the moves with a decent quality mic.
It’s definitely worth it in the end! I’ve gotten…detailed comments about how well the sound of the bear or the wand work for certain viewers. Basically, that element crosses the uncanny valley right into sense memory.
Next to just not using porn samples, good mixing is probably the second most important factor in making one of my soundtracks.
I use Adobe Audition. I may not be completely proficient in its use, but I’ve had a lot of practice! This was back in 2018:
Here’s some basic elements of my workflow:
- Have a track for room noise, and another track for ambience. It makes viewers VERY uncomfortable listening to sex slaps and moaning in a total void.
- Use busses or track-wide effects for room shaping. I like convolution reverb and parametric EQ.
- Whenever the camera angle switches, change the dynamics of your effects—if you’re farther from the subject, make it quieter and echo-ier. This is where it’s helpful to have easily changeable envelopes for the room shaping FX.
- Don’t be afraid of mono samples. They’re easier to work with and they don’t distort as much when you pitch shift them. Sometimes I hear artifacts from pitch shifting or time stretching in TV shows and it always makes me laugh.
- Try to do *an interesting thing*. Challenge yourself to have the SFX do some of the storytelling.
Besides all that, and perhaps most importantly, treat audio like a first-class passenger. It needs just as much love and attention as the visuals!
Ok, That’s It
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.