Digital Storytelling

Vader Answering Machine

[soundcloud params=”auto_play=false&show_comments=true”][/soundcloud]

Preparing for the audio portion of ds106, I decided to create a new assignment, “Movie Voice Machines.” This idea was inspired by a Tim Owens blog post, “This American Life Sex Tape,” which talked about an awesome audio riff on the amazing audio storytellers from This American Life. For Movie Voice Machines you are to create a voice machine message for a character of the movies. Here’s an example of a Cheech and Chong answering machine message.

Voice machines are for the most part an obsolete technology today, but people used to work really hard to create imaginative voice machine messages with music, sound effects and of course their message.

Also this was my first time using Audacity to create any sort of sound work. I followed a couple tutorials from here for setup, and here for basic editing. I’ve used professional tools like ProTools for some time a few years ago, but Audacity was really straight forward and don’t mind really using it.

Here is the list of samples I downloaded and used from

am beep.wav by NoiseCollector
Tape Recorder.wav by Pogotron
OutwardBound.flac by acclivity

For Darth Vader’s voice I added a few of the effects you can find in Audacity, including a pitch shifter and a chorus filter. Finally for the Imperial March music, I played back a sample from Youtube and recorded it from my laptop speakers into the microphone using Audacity. This intentionally degraded the quality of the recording so it sounded like Vader was playing back from an old cassette player into the microphone of an answering machine.

I’m planning to make my own tutorial for Audacity, showing how this was created. And looking forward to some ds106 radio later!


10 replies on “Vader Answering Machine”


I just took another look at this post though, and realised that you creating this assignment was also influenced by another blog post. We’re all unintentionally “paying it forward” huh? Makes me wonder if my assignment will in turn lead to new ones popping up on ds106… 😀

Hey Professor Smith how were you able to get the soundcloud clip to view like that on the site? I’m trying to do on my site but it just shows the link and not the play or pause picture like yours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.