Week 3: Sound editing for a documentary - Chapter 3 - July 21st - July 28th - Part 1
The deadline for chapter 3 was less stringent than ch 1 and ch 2. For Chapter one the first draft was due in 3 days, chapter two was 3 days, and chapter 3 was six days. Part of the reason for the extended deadline for chapter 3 was partially due to a delayed edit from the picture editor (The picture arriving on Thursday instead of the usually Tuesday night). On top of this now Dean seems to have developed more of a sense of confidence in my work, enabling me a bit more time to work on the audio. As he confessed from the onset I was given a more stringent deadline for the first couple of chapters, due to the fact that he needed to be confident of my level of skill with the task at hand. Just in case he needed to schedule time out of his own schedule to redo my work if it wasn't up to scratch.
Dean also set me the additional homework task of the weekend between 2 and 3 of watching an audio commentary of the director and sound editor discussing the audio for the film Seven. As Dean said it was highly influential of his perception of sound to visual concepts when he was a student. Concepts such as extending screen space, creating audio narratives for scenes and characters offscreen, using unorthodox methods to create accurate room sounds and utilising and highlighting sounds in a minimalist way were discussed.
We had a meeting on my Monday morning/Dean's Sunday night and spoke a lot about Seven and the biggest take aways from watching the film. This lead to a discussion of sound economy, and finding key moments in the picture to invest time into whilst using more pedestrian sounds for smaller details. In other words highlighting key visual/narrative and audio moments, whilst filling the gaps with a more structural approach. After I divulged into a more conceptual angle of arousal levels and valance, Dean said to me that sometimes it doesn't have to be so complicated.
He also told me a story from his internship were he was told that "sometimes a film just needs to sound like a film". This statement hit as somewhat of a revealtion to me, snapping me out of a more conceptual approach to a far more intuitive approach.
Dean set me an additional task of creating swooshes, and stylistic stingers. I made these stingers from gun shots, sonic bass bombs and gun clicks. I delved into researching what guns Oswalt and Ruby used. Setting about constructing sequences and cutting tracks up to make new sounds. I found a sound of the same Carcano rifle that Oswalt used on Youtube and I then bought a rifle click from Soundogs.com and used that sound to recreate the sound from youtube. Using the purchased sound to recreate the same timing and rhythm as Oswalds gun cocking, which was quite distinctive compared to other such rifles.
I then set about marking more micro detail of transitions, swooshes, graphics and critical moments, such as revelations of narrative facts and moments of drama.
From the first round of stingers I sent to Dean, he said no to 4 of them and yes to 2 of them. The problem been that a lot of what I did was to lo fi, based on the fact that up until this point I had been trying to get everything to sound old. Yet in the situation of the stingers it needed to be more polished and hi definition, to enhance the visual drama.
Chapter 3 Work Examples
1. Below is an example of isolated SFX audio detailing the more detailed approach I took with chapter 3. I tried to blur in a little more realism but still make it sound older. I also started experimenting with longer fades and more layering, that went beyond the screen space. Such as using the motor sound in the last shot, birds, and traffic in distant background.
2. in this footage I used the dictabelt recording which was the only know audio recording from the JFK shooting. Taken from a policeman's radio which was accidentally left on, the recording captured the whole shooting albeit in a quite distorted fashion. I edited and re mixed this audio in various ways and used it in differing JFK footage shots. My hope is create a feeling or realism and pace over the arch of the 4 episodes.
3. This is one of my favourite sequences, due to the pacing of it visually, which gave me a great opportunity to place in and edit audio. I mixed down the EQ to match Whoopie's dialogue and then placed multiple layers fading into one another. Using a mixture of abstract and more realistic sounds, using the explosions as key points of engagement and energy in the sequence.
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Mark Hooper Sound