Sounds are the secret ingredient to making any video scary. Decades of horror films and psychological thrillers have conditioned us to feel chills at the sound of eerie ghost noises, television static, creepy laughter, ominous footsteps, and blood-curdling screams.
While the events unfolding before viewers' eyes on-screen can certainly be scary in their own right, these sound effects provide an immersive viewing experience and are crucial to leveling up the suspense. Check out the first twenty seconds of this video to see (and hear) what I mean:
Whether you're working on your own horror film or a video to celebrate Halloween, adding scary sounds is a well-tested way to build anticipation in a video. In this article, I'll show you where to find free scary sound effects and how to add them to a video online using an editor called Kapwing. Follow the steps below to combine a video with your choice of creepy sound effects:
1. Find Your Scary Sound Effects
You'll first need to find the sounds and turn them into audio files – Kapwing accepts most major audio file formats including WAV and MP3 files. Free horror themed sound effects are abundant on the internet. For example, this free Shutterstock horror sound effects pack includes a range of sounds such as whispers, screams, creepy ambiance, and more. YouTube is another great database of spooky sounds where you can search for the type of sound you want and browse the results. When you find a sound on YouTube that you want to use, convert it to an MP3 file using the Kapwing Converter.
Here are a few sound effects from YouTube that we've already converted into audio files which you can immediately add to your video:
No downloading is required to use these sounds – simply copy the URL and paste it in the "Upload" tab within your Kapwing video project!
2. Add the Sound Effects to Your Video
Once you've obtained your audio files, head to the online Kapwing editor so you can combine them with the video. Click "Start Editing" to create a new project and upload your video file or paste the link to a video that's already on the internet. Links from YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and most other public social media platforms work in Kapwing.
Adding One Sound Effect
If you're looking to add only one sound effect, head to the "Audio" tab where you can upload the audio file or paste the link to one. Trim the audio and adjust when it starts relative to the video by dragging the marker along the gray bar.
Adding Multiple Sound Effects
If you're adding multiple sound effects, this is easier to do in the "Timeline" tab where you can add more than one audio file and adjust the start and end points of each. Click "Timeline", then use the "Upload" button in the top left corner to bring in your sound effect files.
The Timeline is read from left to right, where the left is the start of the video and each audio file is represented by a layer. To trim the audio files, drag and drop the ends of the layer. To adjust when the sound begins, click and drag the whole layer to where you want the sound to start relative to the video layer.
In addition to sounds, you can also add other elements and overlays to your video in the Kapwing editor. Use the options in the top toolbar and on the right panel of the main editor to add videos, text, images, GIFs, subtitles, and audio waveforms that complement the scary sounds. In the example below, I made the video black and white by clicking the video, choosing "Adjust" on the right side, and reducing saturation. I also added text in the Nosifer font which I felt was fitting for my jump scare video.
3. Export & Download
When you're ready to download your spooky creation, hit the red "Export Video" button in the corner and the file will start processing. After a few moments, your video will be ready for download. To remove the Kapwing watermark in the corner of your project, sign into your free Kapwing account, then save the video to your device by clicking "Download". You can always go back in and edit your video or share it for others to view by sending them the page's URL.