Used by the University College London for recordings and hearing experiments, I sat in there and watched key scenes from A Quiet Place, with only the early onset of tinnitus and my own heartbeat for company. Every rustle of clothing was pin sharp. Now, The Quiet Place is heading to homes and the atmosphere can be controlled a little more.
Because of the dampening of sound, a slight move of the head shifts the stereo sound and it becomes a little disorientating. Any movement I made I could hear, and it turns out I breathe really loudly.
At the cinema, the movie turned the audience into the creatures, their heads turning at every crinkle and crunch. What can you hear? Even with surround sound on, I had to take a ticking clock out of the room I was in as it got in the way of the atmosphere when viewed at home.
The sound of violence Shares Stop, just for a second, and listen.
When I first got into the room, there was a strange pressure feeling in my ears that soon left but it was definitely there at the start. The survival thriller-cum-horror movie is a superb study in tension that uses sounds with precision to ratchet up the fear.
Nowhere is ever truly silent.
Take that away and our ears and mind search for sound and that can be disorienting. The only distraction in the room was me.
In the opening scene when it flips from the point of view of the little girl, wonderfully played by deaf actress Millicent Simmonds, and her brother, the sudden movement of sound brought that pressure back. For the movie to work, however, silence really is golden and no matter how much you want that when viewing on the big screen, there is always someone chowing down on popcorn or rustling a packet of sweets.
Watching something in an anechoic chamber needs absolute stillness. The tiniest of crackles and shuffles were amplified and when the big scares finally came, they were really big.
I sat there for 10 minutes to acclimatise and then the beginning of the movie started. It was the first time I felt a little bit of empathy for the creatures in the movie.
Not so with the anechoic chamber. A Quiet Place focuses on a family, against all odds, trying to survive a post apocalypse in near silence lead by real-life husband and wife Emily Blunt and John Krasinski because any big sound would attract deadly creatures that are constantly lurking nearby.
But not as much as when the movie clip finished, the doors opened behind me and I wandered out of the chamber - natural, everyday sounds were suddenly quite overwhelming.
Instead of bouncing a sound back to your ear, imposing glass fibre wedges take it away, until the sound in the room is below the threshold of human hearing. Those who watched the movie on the big screen will attest to this.
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