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Posts Tagged ‘Arts and Entertainment’

Tutorial: Sound Design Jobs in Film

This is a sound production tutorial provided by the Light Film School. The objective of this tutorial is to outline sound design jobs in film and teach indie filmmakers more about sound production. The video offers useful tips and advice for the many indie filmmakers who often work on a limited budget, deadline, and crew. With some extra time, creativity, and a modest investment, an indie filmmaker can greatly improve the audio production standards of their film projects.

Who Works in the Sound Department?

Before getting into the audio techniques in earnest, the tutorial first covers the average structure of an audio production department. Sound production has multiple stages, with crew members performing the work at each stage:

Boom operators/Mixers: These people are responsible for the early stages of sound production. Boom operators capture the audio, while the mixers set the proper levels and recording of the audio. The sound that they capture on set is called production sound, and on many indie film sets, the job of boomer and mixer is performed by one person.

Sound Editors: The sound editor receives the production sound. This person closely works with the director to oversee how well the audio matches the overall soundtrack. The editor also manages the post-production sound team. The following people are managed by the sound editor:

Dialogue editor. This person works exclusively with the project’s dialogue track.

ADR editor. This person re-records any dialogue that couldn’t be captured on the set.

Background editor. This person lays in and edits the background tracks, whether simple ones or complex atmospheric tracks that define the environment’s acoustics.

Sound effects editor. These people research various sounds in sound libraries or record non-diegetic sounds. These are sounds that are not produced by the events within a scene, but are present to set the mood or tone.

Folly artist. These people handle the “folly” sounds like punches or footsteps. In other words, diegetic sounds that are the result of actions in a scene.

Music editor. This person will work with the soundtrack by editing and syncing the music into the project.

Re-recording mixer. This is the person who takes over the sound once everything is finished and mix together all elements to build a final soundtrack.

In larger budget films, these roles are played by various people, but on some indie sets, they’re played by only one or two people. Regardless, a successful sound production process depends on how well the boom operator and mixer are able to capture production sound. No level of sophisticated editing can fix bad production sound.

How to get good sound?

The film script and good location scouting are two factors often overlooked in getting good sound production. For instance, consider the scenes written into a script. Sometimes writers will put in scenes (like a daytime industrial setting) that offer too much noise. While writers don’t need to change their script to suit sound productions’ demands, it’s important that the latter think creatively and anticipate obstacles. Thus, investing time into location scouting is crucial to quality audio production. In addition, the sound crew needs to consider the kind of equipment they’ll use and where they’ll position themselves within a location, in order to get the best results.

It should be noted that while you can play around with the sound of a location during editing, you can’t isolate or delete bad sounds. It’s best to do a proper job of recording in the first place. Some people aren’t aware that certain sounds share frequencies with others. Thus, if you try to delete a “bad” sound in your film, you may end up changing the dynamics of the “good” sound because they share the same frequency.

Overall, there are many factors that go into good sound production, but the most important one is having all departments work together to solve problems. Below are ten tips for ensuring this:

1. Turn off all mechanical and electrical devices.
2. Close all doors and windows.
3. Scout for quiet times at the location.
4. Close the set and implement a “no talking” rule.
5. Allow the boom operator and mixer into rehearsals. This will help them figure out their sound levels and position themselves within the scene so they don’t cast shadows against walls.
6. Perform test recordings.
7. Capture wild lines you need to re-record.
8. If the scene requires crew to move around, have them minimize sound and impact by wearing soft foot ware like socks.
9. Test the noise level of your props and be aware of which ones are noisiest (bracelets, necklaces, phones, etc.).
10. Give sound recorders time before and after the shoot in order to capture room tone.

In many instances, sound crew have the heavy burden of being understaffed, pressed for time, and not given enough time to prepare. Just because this happens often, it doesn’t mean that it should. Good sound is the responsibility of everyone on the set, and it will only happen if the sound crew is given ample time to set up and test. In the long run, you’ll get a better production because of it.

Funding Your Film! Using Film Finance Basics

I’m looking to raise funds to produce a feature version of my alien sci fi short Zedic and the Crimson Born. So I came across this most excellent video on Film Financing by Dave Basulto from Film School On Demand.

To start Dave explains the basic budget ranges for funding films. At 0-100K you are your own boss and distribution is mainly through festivals and online. 100K-1M films need “name” talent and a sales agent for distribution but you are still your own boss. 1M+ movies require big stars, distributors in place (tv or studio), it takes a long time to raise the money and you have less control.

You must have a budget to get financing. But Dave says this can be easy once you have done the research. You need to include equipment, locations, hard costs like insurance and crew, sound/music, post production (editor) and be sure to add padding, luckily for you there are insurance companies like onesureinsurance.co.uk which are very affordable and they still cover any damage.

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At a minimum you need equipment rental and liability insurance. You want to try to work with free talent as much as possible and use cheap music like mine. Make sure to include post-production in the cost. Also, include a still photographer.

Dave uses Gorilla film finance production management software in this video to enter above the line expenses (key players) and below the line (production crew) expenses. Check it out, this was very informative!

If you like this post you might also like my article High Concept Story Plots – How to for Hollywood Screenplays or 7 Indie Film Digital Distribution Companies You Can Submit to Online.

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Songs You Can Download from Top MP3 Sites Legally and for Free: Plus iTunes vs. Amazon Video

I compose my own royalty free songs but of course I am also a music fan. So I want to tell you about the top sites I love where you can download and listen to new MP3 songs from popular artists legally and for free.

Songs for Free at the Amazon.com MP3 Store

Right now there are 2,178 free mp3 downloads available at the Amazon.com Mp3 store. Incredibly, many of them are tracks from hit artists including Beyoncé, Suzanne Vega, The Doobie Brothers, Sufjan Stevens, Ziggy Marley and Jeff Beck. I’m not sure why record companies would do this, but at the end of the day it must be to promote their latest album or a CD that needs a boost in sales. Amazon.com MP3 Store

songs - download free mp3Free Song Downloads on Spinner.com

Spinner.com has a free MP3 of the day page. They set this up in a blog style and every day post about a new song you can download. These are mostly hip indie type bands that you have probably not heard of. However, if you are the exploring mind type like myself then you will love the opportunity to grab these files and make mixes. Spinner.com

Free Daily Song Download on MP3.com

Since MP3.com is a major hot spot, top artists like Maroon 5, David Gray, The Smashing Pumpkins, Willie Nelson, Weezer and Radiohead actually release some of their hit songs for free. Plus they post really leading-edge material like an ambient version of a Justin Bieber song which a producer slowed down by 800% – wild! MP3.com

Video: iTunes Versus Amazon MP3 – As mentioned in the video, I also prefer Amazon for the MP3 file format.

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