Mouth Flutter Bys

This week’s entry is a fun exercise and something you’ve probably already done thousands of times in your life. Mouth effects are used by children, adults, and sound editors around the world. Whether pretending to fart, imitating a car, or punctuating a point with a solid “Wha-CHA!”, the mouth effect is here to stay.

One of my favorite things to do with my mouth is the Flutter. At its most basic level, the Flutter is just blowing air through your lips. You can change the feel and character of what’s coming out by biting on parts of your mouth, blowing from a different part of your throat, blowing into a different part of your mouth, or changing how intensely you blow. At the advanced level, you can blow air into two parts of your mouth simultaneously, alternate where the air goes, or add in other mouth and vocal effects with the fluttering.

The Flutter By is an extension of the Flutter. It involves making a flutter sound and whipping your head by a stationary mic (or, having a friend whip-pan a mic by your mouth). In the sample below, you can hear different styles of Flutter moving past the mic.

FlutteryBy Various by dsteinwedel

The hardest part of such an exercise is physical and occurs when the mouth dries out causing you to lose the flutter while moving. For some reason, moving your head quickly makes it much harder to keep a flutter going. Many of my takes have been thrown away for sounding like “PbPbPbPbPbPbPbthhhhhhhhhh.”

FlutteryBy Fail by dsteinwedel

The Flutter By has tons of uses. Need a big bug that flies around? Mouth Flutters. Have an explosion pass by the camera? Mouth Flutters make a great texture element that give the feel of a shockwave passing over you. Cartoon cars? Check. Raspberries? Check. Bullet Bys? If you can get one going fast enough it works for those too (though you’ll want to use your voice to add some doppler while you’re at it).

Below is a clip from Bioshock 2 (Spoiler Alert if you haven’t played it!) and around :12 in you’ll hear a nice, fat, mouth flutter by.


Recording Geek Notes: Neumann 191 -> SD 302 -> ProTools.
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