Monday, September 3, 2007

the hills are alive... with the sound of evasionnnnn

Well, I returned the gear this morning and, suffice to say, we did not end up doing any filming this weekend. I imagine this is how it must feel for pregnant women who end up going to the hospital, expecting to go into full labour but find out it is just a false alarm. Bollocks. It's not like it was anything any of us could control, but at the same time I just wish I'd got them to confirm their consent in writing so that we weren't all just stranded like that. Makes me feel unprofessional and amateurish, and no matter how true either adjective may be, they still don't sit any better with me.

Anyway, enough of that. Today's lecture focussed on - ta da! - Sound. Always a winner with me. It was good to get an idea of how to set up the perfect recording environment as far as lighting is concerned. As most of you are no doubt painfully aware, I am Technologically Challenged to a fault - not necessarily with all electronics, but certainly with filming equipment. Part of my being Challenged can be attributed to a deep-seated fear of the apparatus, and what will come of me if I damage it, and the other half is merely plain ignorance. Obviously there is no excuse for that. So you can imagine how beneficial it was to sit in on today's class and just get real pointers on how to achieve nice, clean sound.

As we've had it drummed into our heads over the past 2 months, sound is THE MOST IMPORTANT element within documentary filmmaking. Even if your visuals are shit, your last saving grace will come in the form is crisp, levelled sound. The reason for this? Well, think about it. If you're viewing a documentary about something unfamiliar to you, you could pretty much have any visual thrown at you, but if you're distracted by poor quality or stilted sound, there is no way you (or more specifically, your audience) are going to remain engaged for that entire 3-7 minutes.

There are also many varieties of sound one needs to take into account when crafting one's documentary. Keeping in mind we're working with stereo (thus working wtih both left and right channels) we are going to have to sub-divide all our sounds in order to make sure their effects are being maximised. Meaning we would need to keep all narration, music, atmos, sound effects, dialogue, foley etc separate, or at least in separate tracks. This is pretty much how it was done last semester - if there is one thing that horrific experience with ADR in drama has taught me, it is how to set up the perfect synch sound pallet on Final Cut - even though I'm not a pro with connecting all the gear up.
Besides, that's Anthony's job :P

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