Assignment 4: Sound

When we received assignment 4, I was very excited. Rebuilding and reconstructing the audio for a 3 minute scene in any movie was something I had sort of worked on in my own short films, but never with great success. Once we broke ground on the project, I began to see how difficult and tedious this assignment really was. There are so, so many things that make up the audio in any given scene, from the creaking of a chair to a distant car shifting gears to the dialogue between actors. The work of folley artists is truly an underrated skill.

Probably the most unique sound that Brian and I had to make while recreating a scene from Friday Night Lights was the recreation of an oil rig churning in the background of our first scene. It was a very faint sound originally, but is absolutely needed since we see the oil rig in the shot. We determined that the sound could be recreated by reversing the sound of a mating whale, or by slowing down the sound of fabric squeaking on glass. And since we didn’t have any mating whales at our disposal, we decided to do the latter. We slowed the high pitch squeak down to about 20% in Final Cut Pro, added a low-pass filter and some reverb, and before you know it, we had the sound of a West Texas oil rig.

Another big challenge was getting the ADR to match up with the original dialogue of the actors. We would watch one line at a time repeatedly, then try our best to recreate the inflection and cadence of the actor’s delivery. It didn’t help that the two actors, Lucas Black and Billy Bob Thorton, were speaking in thick Texas accents.

All in all, this was a surprisingly tough assignment that took way longer than originally anticipated. It really did create a new found appreciation and respect for sound designers and folley artists.

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~ by Peyton Lea on November 11, 2009.

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