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"The Studio" Short Film Score & Sound Effects

"The Studio" is a short film created by the cinematography class at Northwest University, spring 2022. The original score was composed and produced by Kaylee Rooklidge in under four days total, and consists of midi instruments and recorded instruments and voice. The score is inspired by classic horror film scores, and depends heavily on sound design. Kaylee also created, edited, and mixed the sound effects for the film, and did a final pass of mixing and mastering all the film's audio, including the dialogue, music, and sound effects in post-production.

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The Studio | Short Film

Northwest University, Spring 2022


Writer & Director - Daniel McMullen
Assistant Director - Blake Wagner
Cinematography - Kellen Fairfield
Assistant Camera - AJ Chapell
Audio Recording - Kyle Ellisen
Gaffer & Editor - Chung Sim Man
Music & Sound Effects -  Kaylee Rooklidge


AJ Chapell
Blake Wagner 
Greg Backes

Music & Sound Effects

OLY - Demo tracks

Samantha Schultz - Violin

Jacob Coons - Bassoon

Kaylee Rooklidge - Vocals

The original score was composed, recorded, edited, mixed, and mastered by Kaylee Rooklidge

Sound effects from

Composing Music

About the Score

Original music composed by Kaylee Rooklidge

Inspired by classic noir soundtracks and experimental sounds, Kaylee built a score dependent on layered sounds and unique textures. This allowed the score and the sound design to overlap and interact together into a seamless backdrop for the film. 

The approach to recording the necessary sounds remained minimal throughout the process, and aside from a muted piano sample and a few pad tracks, the instruments heard are all live and real!

In an effort to mimic the traditional sounds of screeching strings in horror films, violinist Samantha Schultz recorded a variety of sounds and patterns which could be layered to create the sound of a string ensemble. Jacob Coons took the same approach on bassoon with drone sounds and even experimental sounds. Lastly, Kaylee added layers of her own haunting vocals to create both the eerie whispering effects and to build a layered choir-like pad. 

This simplistic, yet unconventional combination of sounds made the perfect score for the suspenseful atmosphere and ghostly occurrences.

Sound Board

About the Sound Design

An unexpected additional aspect

Despite only originally joining the project as a composer, Kaylee stepped up to the task of adding sound effects and also managing the post-production sound mixing and mastering. 

Since the film's score already included ghostly vocals, it was simple to sound design the several occurrences of whispering sounds. For these, Kaylee also recorded her own voice, whispering several Latin phrases in a variety of pitches, tempos, and volumes. The overall effect was created by adding layers of these phrases also in reverse, and repeating and layering the phrases continuously into indistinguishable nonsense. These were processed with volume automation and heavy effects, including delay and reverb.

The whispering easily tied into the score, as well as the choir vocals and violin and bassoon sounds, some of which acted at times as sound effects in order to increase the tension and suspense. 

Other sound effects included sourcing sounds for slamming doors, a crashing cymbal, creaks, and a car engine, which were placed, edited, and mixed to work with the dialogue and score. 

To polish off the finished project, Kaylee did several final passes with volume automation to blend together sound effects, dialogue, and music at appropriate levels throughout the film. A last pass of basic mastering helped to create a cohesive sound and to bring the volume up to a consistent streaming level. 

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