Sounds of Silence

14720430_10153954628567647_2673775829999032432_nYay season two is underway and this time we are working with several remote recorded artists. The studio is still the best so our main characters are recorded there, but Terry is still has no spaceship so he continues at home between jackhammer blasts from the construction site next door. It’s a bit of a miracle sometimes created with cushions and blankets.

The audio for some reason is better in video – either using an actual video camera or weirdly using Recordable app on my Samsung tablet. This app takes a video of another random app screen ???? and then gives you the audio as a wav file. I tried the straight recording app or two and their audio didn’t stack up – go figure. He bravely actually recorded a portion of episode 8 while in hospital – luckily we needed canteen noises – but stitching this in amongst the other voices to sound reasonable was a small nightmare. Smooshing a shopping mall ambience behind it helped considerably, then adjust equalizer, normalize.

mmmm bacon

The backbone of  the dialogue track is stitched together by one of the team. We rub out any overly long pauses, cut out the pops and breaths, the actors apparently need to breathe but its not always a pretty thing next to a mic, then add other pauses for drama.

Then follows creating a space for ambient background to talk to you is as important as the actual speech. We are subbing one sense for four others. check out this highly instructive TEDtalk if you are into soundfx.

Being on alien worlds poses a design issue – i often pick foreign ambiences with no recognisable speech. Avoiding obvious earth based technology cars, telephones, music, animals and so on is really hard. Episode 9 takes us to a desolate mining colony on the edge of the future human galactic expansion whose hills will be alive with ‘brown noise’.  In audacity there is a silence/noise generator which I’m trying out for the first time to place a background ambience for the rock world rather than use a field recording.

Previously we had a lot of studio ambience which is unaturally quiet – you should always hear something, machine hums, wind, traffic, voices and birds. the slight rustle of your own clothing. Some of the remastering in season one takes care of this thanks to the many free foley effects on the internet ( see individual shows for links).  Here’s a sample pack of room tones from a sound recorder whose work we have used in season one and two klankbeeld