This project involved working on the sound for two student films. One was called ‘All Ribbons End’, and was around 14 minutes long, in which I worked on the audio by myself. The other was called ‘petal Child’, around 40 minutes, in which i worked alongside with Sid and Saun (designated FTV student to audio). Overall, this project was very challenging and ambitious. However I feel confident in the results of the two artefacts I created/helped create.
At the beginning of the project I set out 3 learning out comes swell as a set of aims and objectives. These included:
LO1: Improve my quality of location sound recording
LO2: Improve my quality of Audio Post Production
LO3: To be able to show case my work in a professional manor
To deliver the audio specifications required by the 2 clients
To create a diverse Portfolio of Audio Work
Research and perform Location Sound recording for 2 films
Research and perform the audio post-production for 2 films
Create a website that can be a platform for showcasing the audio work
Assess whether or not help is need, if so recruit where needed
The first learning outcome was the first task that I undertook. The first film I did the location sound for was ‘Petal Child’. This was done very early on in the semester, however due to commitments in other projects last semester, I was limited to the time in which I could prepare for this shoot which did impact the overall quality of recording. Had we been fully committed to this film, we could of gone through every shot prior to the actual shoot. However this just wasn’t possible due to time restrictions and other deadlines etc. We came across many problems throughout the shooting week. As their were around five actresses on set, all with dialogue, my original plan was to use Radio Clip microphones on each actress, to capture their performance. However I wasn’t aware until the day of shooting, that they learnt allowed to be used in the MHT building due to interference and legal licensing reasons. The TV studios did have their own radio microphones set-up, however these could not be isolated into separate tracks, and with five actresses, if one of the microphones had excessive movement noises or frequency problems, it would ruin the whole recording. I didn’t have a lot of time to figure out a solution as the plan was to use radio mice as the primary source of audio capturing. Therefore I decided to use three boom microphones. As the set was quite big and the was multiple cameras, this also mean it was very difficult to get a boom up close to the subject. However i used 2 radio mics that were hidden in the set as backups microphones. I definitely feel that the whole location sound recording could have improved. If we were more committed to the project towards the beginning and practiced a lot more we may have got a lot better audio, which would of helped a lot in post-production.
However, this was great practice and I learnt a lot from this, which improved my location sound skills, ready for the next shoot. I feel that ‘All Ribbons End’ shoot was highly successful with minimal problems. The only thing i really struggled with this shoot was filling out the sound log and the lack of equipment required. By this I mean that due to high demand it was impossible to get the best equipment available to us. Because the exact dates were short notice, I was forced to use a Zoom to capture the audio. The zoom has typically high pre amp noise and the headphone amplifier is very quiet. This proved very difficult to monitor the sound, a swell as boom. I feel like If had had extra help, it would of made my job a lot easier. However that is exactly what i did, but they pulled put last minute. I feel that because the second shoot was very successful, i achieve the first learning outcome, which was: Improve my quality of location sound recording. I definitely made an improvement between the first and second film.
The second learning outcome was: to improve my quality of audio post-production. I was given picture lock for ‘All Ribbons End’ around two weeks before the deadline, and picture lock for ‘Petal Child’ around a week and a half before the deadline. For this I worked very long hours everyday of the two weeks I was given to start and finish the post-production for around an hours worth of film in total. The first week was spent on ‘All Ribbons End’. Whilst doing the dialogue editing I put a lot of time in researching about isotope RX because of the pre-amp noise from the Zoom recording. I learnt a lot about RX and was impressed with what I could do with it. I feel that i done a great job with the post-production of this film. I completed it a lot quicker than the client expect and the director gave me a 9/10 for the quality of audio “got exactly what we wanted, high quality sound.” Overall I am very impressed, happy and proud of what i achieved, and by comparing this film with ‘Schafer’ (The previous film i completed by the same film crew) i feel that there is an overall improvement in my post-production skills. Things that I was particularly happy with was the quality of the phone call voice. From talking to the director i managed to deliver exactly what he wanted.
Because of the length of the film, time I had to complete it and the quality of location audio, ‘Petal Child’ was a lot harder to finish. The majority of the time was spent dialogue editing, trying to remove background noises, making bits audible, tidying up audio etc. I found that the parts that were recorded studios sounded particularly bad because of the sound of the room and the ‘hum’ that the lights produced. However I feel i done my best to make the film sound good. If i had received the film sooner, i could have determined whether or not ADR was needed, and rerecorded parts that were partially bad. Unfortunately this was not a possibility. I feel i could of also payed more attention to the EQ of each dialouge clip to improve the quality. I actually ended up doing more than initially intended as i ended up doing bits of foley editing, atmosphere editing and adding in missing sound effects that the sound designer missed out on. This was very frustrating as I didn’t plan for it. I feel that if he did all this, then it would have given me a bit more time to continue the dialouge editing and balancing. Overall I feel this film is well balanced and sounding good bar a few minor bits audio that we were unable to ADR. The director and the rest of the group were very happy with the result and gave the audio a 9 out of 10 for quality. “There was a good balance of sound throughout the film, so there was not a particular moment that stood out as being particularly good, but for me that is exactly what we wanted. All the work remained at a constantly high standard throughout allowing our audience to be fully immersed in the narrative. The sound as a whole, brought our images to life – it extended the space in rooms, created appropriate atmospheres and added a surreal twist to our “trip” scenes.”
LO3 was to create a professional portfolio of past work to show case. I almost didn’t do anything for this learning outcome, purely because i hadn’t had the chance as my time was spent on editing the audio. However I did get a quick chance to look at a couple of showreel and portfolio examples and made a quick portfolio on the website i created. I feel that this learning outcomes was only half complete though. The next stage would be to create a showreel and send it off to some sound designers to see their opinions and comment on how to improve it. Unfortunately this was not the case, hence why i feel i have only half completed this learning outcome. I will still however, continue to work on it and eventually turn the portfolio I have into a showreel to publicise.
One of my objectives were to assess whether help was needed or not. I definitely feel that I could have done with an extra pair of hands that I could trust to do specific jobs. At the beginning of the semester I did get someone else on board with ‘All Ribbons End’ however he pulled out before the location sound began. I therefore didn’t have a lot of time to find anyone else and had to proceed with the project by myself. This definitely added a lot of pressure, especially when it came to post-production as I began to run out of time towards the end.
I feel overall, this project was very ambitious. Because of this and other commitments such as dissertation and R&D modules, I feel that parts of the project have suffered especially the research parts. If i was to do this project again I would defiantly put a limit on the amount of work I took on. This would give me more time to do more research, practice and be more committed to the teams i was working for, therefore would of improved the overall product. However I am very proud of what I have accomplished and both clients were extremely happy with how hard working I was and how good the films sounded at the end of it all. In conclusion I feel that i achieved all of my learning outcomes and aims, meaning the project was a great success. I have definitely learnt a hell of a lot doing this project and it has pushed me to work harder than i have ever done before.