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How NOT to Screw Up Your Sound in Post Production with Studio Unknown
In over 240 episodes of the Indie Film Hustle Podcast, I have never tackled one of the most important topics filmmakers need to know…AUDIO. Understanding sound is imperative if you are going to become a successful indie filmmaker. Today on the show we have Matt Davies and Rich Bussey from Studio Unknown. We discuss how to capture good audio, the entire sound post workflow and finally sound deliverables. This episode is a must listen to for all filmmakers.
You can’t always afford time in a sound studio, but you shouldn’t have to settle for bad sound for your film! Join Studio Unknown’s Sound Designer, Matt Davies, on a brief journey to learn how you can get a better dialog for your film, on any budget.
Here is what Studio Unknown is all about:
Studio Unknown believes in Visceral, Personal, and Affordable sound for film. It’s these core principles that not only guide us through the work we do but strengthen the relationships we build with filmmakers.
We strive to provide soundtracks that heighten any film, no matter the budget or size. This takes forms like comedic timing we add through foley, terrifying creatures we create, lush or delicate ambiances we build, or deep, dark themes we extract through sound design. It can also be as simple in concept as making a character’s dialog clean and understandable.
We help prioritize budgets and consult with the filmmaker to help make appropriate decisions about what sound work is needed once we assess the film. We then explain and collaborate on how to approach the sound concepts, overall story arc, budget breakdowns, external workflow and turnaround time.
We are a full-service, Dolby® tuned/Print Master Approved facility equipped with a 5.1 dubbing stage and full in-house editorial suites. Studio Unknown’s primary focus is on sound for film and we have developed a unique process for working with filmmakers that allows us to maximize client budgets and meet the tightest deadlines.
Enjoy my conversation with Matt Davies and Rich Bussey from Studio Unknown.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Studio Unknown Audio Post – Mention the IFH podcast, and you’ll receive 50% off one day of ADR
- Studio Unknown – IMDB
- Studio Unknown – Facebook
- VideoBlocks.com – (IFH Discount SAVE $50)
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: FREE AUDIOBOOK
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
- Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
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- Six Secrets to getting into Film Festivals for FREE!
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
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Welcome to the indie film hustle podcast episode number 247. The Sound and Music are 50% of the entertainment in a movie George Lucas broadcasting from the back alley in Hollywood. It’s the indie film hustle podcast where we show you how to survive and thrive as an indie filmmaker in the jungles of the film.
And here’s your host Alex Ferrari. Welcome. Welcome to another episode of the indie film as a podcast. I am your humble host Alex. Today’s episode is brought to you by Black Box black box is a new platform and community. That is all about Financial Freedom for filmmakers like you if you join block box, you will be transformed from being a worker to being a maker of your own content and you’ll be making steady passive income from the global market Black Box currently allows you to upload your stock footage once get it too many Global agencies and then allows you to share that passive income stream.
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Just visit w-w-w now guys today, we’re gonna talk about something that we have not discussed in over two hundred and forty six episodes of the podcast. We are going to talk about audio and how to do audio properly how to record audio properly tips in the tricks of how to do it cheaply what to expect in post-production.
What is the post-production process of audio the whole Gambit is. To be a mini master class on the audio process when dealing in feature films, not today on the show. We have Matt Davies and rich now, these guys are from studio and known as if you might recognize the name Studio known as been a sponsor of the show for uh for about 3-4 months now and uh, so full disclosure.
They are sponsor the show, uh, they have paid to uh to be on the show as an Advertiser, but I wanted to bring them on as a guest. Of the valuable information that they have in regards to audio. Now, I am a self-proclaimed audio it or audio audio idiot. I don’t like audio. I’ve never liked the process of it.
I love what happens when I work with someone who knows what they’re doing. But me personally I can’t stand doing it. It is one of the tools I did not put in my toolbox purely because I just don’t like. But it is extremely important and you need to understand the power of what can and cannot be done in post-production.
The audience will forgive bad picture, but it will not forgive bad audio. You could have a horrible looking movie and has to sound great. It’s just something in human DNA that we just don’t like bad audio, but we’ll take bad picture. Look at movie like Blair Witch Project, you know or paranormal activity, which is all these kind of just like lowbrow, um cameras, you know low in cameras that they were using in many ways, uh, and it was not visually.
Stimulating but the audio was amazing and that those two movies became huge hits because of it. So understanding audio is such a very big deal in regards to what we do as filmmakers as storytellers. So sit back relax and get ready to take notes and enjoy my conversation with Matt Davies and Rich from Studio unknown.
Thank you so much for coming on these guys are from Studio unknown, which you have heard their name a little. Over the course of the last few months on the podcast, but I wanted to get them on the show to talk all things audio because we have yet and 240 plus episodes have never had an audio episode and it’s such so so important.
So thank you guys for coming on. Yeah, of course, uh, thanks for having us. Yeah. Thank you Alex. So first of all, how did you guys get into the business? How do you want to go first? Sure, so, It was kind of a roundabout way that I actually got into doing audio post and all the things that I do within it.
I think that was always into films growing up, but I wanted to be a creature designer and Prosthetics Builder and get into the this kind of sculptural element of the filmmaking process. I was big into flying creatures and and then in high school, I started to get into music, you know was playing bass a lot and.
These kind of two forks appeared and it was either going the music route or going the sculptural route and I ended up going the sculptural route and after I got into um to art school to do that and started to get into the art World more. For doing sculpture. I quickly discovered that it wasn’t the right path for me because I was so film focused infill minded and so shortly after that.
I just plunged straight into doing sound and uh started become the the sound guy in the class. My college didn’t offer that many sound courses at the time. So I kind of had to create but in my own curriculum. Because of the sculptural background I started to discover things like sculpture and I started to build more things and so ended up coming back and then.
Did production sound for a while because those quite often can be the easier gigs to get when you’re green and you’re trying to work your way up in the industry, you know, it’s PA gigs and then production sound booming recording stuff like that and then eventually hit another Fork where I was like, okay, I can either continue to invest in my kit and continue to do production sound or I can try to leap for the dream and get into doing post-production where I want it to be.
Able to express creative ideas and build worlds and have this kind of blank canvas at my disposal. And so I I jumped into that then it just kind of took off from there. I just found myself being busy all the time joined the studio shortly after and then have been there been there ever since so involved, but it’s funny because it all kind of goes back to the original stuff that goes back to being a sculptor being into creatures being Into You Know music and film so, it’ll.
Is significant I think very cool. How about you rich? Yeah, so. Let’s see also very much into film at a young age and also found my way into music around Middle School when I got my first guitar and wasn’t various bands for school and outside of school in my high school years and I decided to pursue music at the University level.
So I took music technology which focuses on both music and the recording arts. And in that time part of the requirements are to internships. One of my internships was here at Studio. I know so that was kind of that was back in 2010 2011. So that was my first eye-opening experience in terms of sound and its use within film and it’s actually pretty common within the industry for a lot of people working and post sound to have a bit of a music background.
That’s that is I think you find that more you find that more than people just going down this path. Studying sound design and going into sound design and I think that’s actually great because it really you have to establish a wider skill set. And you know problem solving I think is a lot more common in Music Creation and production early on.
Yeah for sure. So there was almost a level of self-consciousness. I felt that some point with you know, listening to some of the great recording mixers or sound designers talkin about how they. Got into the position that they’re in now where a lot of them came from music backgrounds and I was like, oh God.
Did I did I like mrs. Stafford something like what you know what happened, but it’s I think it’s about how you seek out the knowledge and how you use it. But yeah, it’s a that’s an amazing place to start from. Yeah, so I completed my internship here at Studio unknown and then. Did a number of other internships in various other aspects of the world of audio?
I was at the Kennedy Center SiriusXM various other places and I kept coming back to thinking about Studio unknown and how much I really loved the world of posts sound and I wouldn’t have known that that’s where I wanted to land in my case if I hadn’t tried various other avenues as well. So I’m glad I was able to hone that in.
I did a bunch of live sound for two or three years right out of college, but Captain touch with Matt and these guys here and as they continue to get busy they bring me on to do some freelance editing Works, um field recording trips and got busy enough to bring me in three days a week three days turn to for for turn to 5.
And now now we’re here seven days a week sometimes. Yeah. The wonderful world of post-production. I hope you like nights and weekends. Yeah, exactly exactly went to um Full Sail for for my college days and they they would actually have classes between 12 and 4 o’clock in the morning and they’re their excuse was to prepare us for the industry.
But the reality was that they were renting out the the sweets during the day. I’m sure yeah, that makes sense. We have a couple buddies, uh, who came out of wholesale. I hadn’t heard this story yet about classes going to that’s that is such a such a fantastic convenient thing for everybody. I think because that is so like that’s the dreaded thing is like, oh man, when I start out I’m going to be like night shift crew and stuff.
How am I gonna like change my schedule in that just prepares you so well it does. Yeah, it was a similar thing. Not that intense. But you know, I went to art school and so the studio classes that are about 6 hours. So you’re often going late and then you need to continue working and it definitely.
Instilled in you that it’s like this isn’t going to be a quick process like it’s going to be dense, but it’s like you have to like hunker down and like commit to it and everything. It’s the marathon not a Sprint. Yeah, the marathon you’re sure so, you know a lot of a lot of filmmakers that I’ve ever talked to and I’ve been imposed for 20-odd years, uh, not in the audio sense, but in the visual side and audio is always the like red-headed stepchild.
Of of you know, I hope no one’s redheaded here. But uh, but no, but seriously, it’s like it’s like the stepchild of of post because not even a post of production because it’s like the last thing they think about their like, oh, well, you know, we’ll get somebody to hold the Boom. And you know, we’ll get it into the Mackey and uh, and we’re out the door, um, or at a scam and I did do that for one movie, but I did have some some skills to do it with and I did talk to my audio post guys before I did it but generally speaking, um guys, you know people don’t take a lot of time recording good locations south.
So do you have any tips for filmmakers out there how to record good location sound if you don’t have a. Mixer on set or someone who knows audio on set just some basic tips. Obviously. The biggest tip is to hire a real location guy. Yeah, uh to do it, but if you don’t what are some tips you think you can help him out with yeah.
So there’s there’s a lot. I mean that’s a loaded question. Of course, I purchased. Yeah. Um, but the number one thing that is important to have above kind of all else is attention. Putting attention on it and importance on it to be aware of kind of what’s what’s needed from your crew while you’re filming your attentiveness as a director to put your ears on the sound and make priorities for the shooting location to make sure that you are doing everything you can to allow the recording to go properly.
So like all the the best equipment in the world isn’t worth anything if you don’t. Allow the environment to be good for recording sound. So unless like, you know abstract answer to that is that we’re in a really great time where there’s lots of cost-effective solutions to get better production sound than just.
Just using the camera microchip for these things. Yeah, God forbid which we hear we hear sometimes on professional projects and it’s like what happened guys what happened? But you spent $500,000 in the camera. Could you just not throw a couple bucks to the audio Guy seriously, and it really it really has kind of gotten to that state.
But thankfully, you know companies like Zoom have really. I think about sometimes when I was in production sound of Zoom have been who they are now, and I don’t know that I would have maybe gotten into post-production because they’re so cost effective and they do such a good job that you can really kind of increase the level of quality for your production.
So one of the biggest things is. Is making sure that you can have control over that sound. So if you’re buying if you’re buying something like a zoom recorder even like an aged six or one of the smaller ones that has XLR inputs making sure that you have separation of your cast members or your subjects so that you can control those better and then in post you’ll be able to control their different channels.
You’ll you can separate them. If you need to use a different Source, you can do that, you know, it’s fairly cost-effective. I mean Road and zoom both have. Lower budget, you know solutions for lavalier mic. Yep, and then beyond that it’s like all kinds of little things making sure that you when you’re rolling that you’re listening to the environment and that you wait for things like planes to come over a lot of things like I kind of getting back to the first point that I made it’s all about listening to your environment and SO waiting until the time is right to start rolling can often be.
The deal breaker in a lot of this stuff. So wait until the plane goes by wait until the motorbikes stops idling at a traffic light across the street if you’re shooting in a restaurant location, see if you can talk to the management about turning the music off for your shoot like we’ve because then it’s like well, it does crazy but it’s so true.
It’s so I would say that happens a little bit more for documentary work than it does for narrative fiction, but. It ends up being that conversation of well, so we can’t use this entire clip now, it’s entire scene because there’s a very well-known song in the background. And it’s like yeah, so we’re gonna have to replace the whole thing.
And that’s something that would have, you know should have been discussed kind of upfront made aware. I mean, I think when you’re in the Heat and I’ll speak for myself as you know from being in production When You’re In the Heat of the Moment and you’ve got all the actors waiting and you’ve got all the crew waiting and we’re going to be doing this big Dolly move and then the sound guy goes hold and everyone’s just like God.
Damn it, because it’s something that you can’t see and he’s the only one hearing it like no, wait a minute that refrigerator. Hold on. We got caught it and we got to go back to you know, because a good sound guy will do that for you. But when you’re in the Heat of the Moment In experience people will just go screw it.
We’ll just fix it in post which is the worst thing you could ever say. Yeah, especially audio. I have seen though even in recent, you know years the Miracles that can be done in post. Uh, I mean there is some stuff that blew my mind that you can do but yet and that’s the cost money though. It’s much cheaper just to get good audio if that’s the I mean you said it perfectly.
It is much cheaper to just get good audio. You know, I think that there are a lot of cynics and Skeptics out there. They’re like, well, you know that’s expensive. I don’t I didn’t have the money to pay for a good production sound person, but it becomes about like being able to. Look at the budget that you do have and figure out how you’re going to be able to use that budget from day one to have a good outcome through the rest of your process and then there’s been a number of films where we’ve gotten just the most.
Terrible production sound and then we’re finding ourselves in a don’t shoot the messenger situation. Where at the end. We’re like Hey, we’re gonna have to like 80 your whole film. Yes, you know meeting and it’s usually yeah and the worst part about it is typically those conversations happen on in the worst possible scenarios where it’s like may be with child actors to who oh now sound like different people, you know, like a Terminator 2 stories.
It’s like. So we’ll have to figure out ways of like making them sound younger by you know, so yeah pitching it or 80 performances. Sometimes that that’s happened to us in the past too. But anyway, yeah, it’s it’s a really it’s just that kind of level of attentiveness do it right the first time, you know, and then yeah, no.
No, I was going to say that I think that film goers will excuse and forgive bad picture, but they don’t generally forgive bad audio. That’s for sure and uh another point that you brought up that yes while we have the tools to fix a number of these problems. If you’re coming into post already with a tight budget, um fixing these problems takes time and we’d much rather put the budget that you do have towards creative additive sound because Productions.
Yeah. So yeah, it’s a really um, I think Randy Tom talked about that. It had some point was the importance of okay, so we can either roll with your bad production sound and be completely you’re at the kind of the beck and call of whatever the quality of the production sound is. So if the if there’s a terrible noise floor behind your dialogue.
Welcome to how your creative backgrounds and effects are going to need to kind of sound and blend. Um, so you really forcing your creative hand and for very creative independent filmmakers, that’s really challenging because your you find yourself in a position where it’s like hey, you know you wanted this.
You wanted the seem to be super delicate and really quiet and intimate but like there’s a drag race happening next door, like right, you know, we can’t hurt, you know some of the class or something happening. So right. Yeah, it’s definitely a challenge but you know, one of the biggest things that we talk about whenever we get onto onto a film closer to pre-production, we have the opportunity to talk to people about their production what’s going to happen in production is, you know, doing things like reading scripts or shooting scripts and determining like.
Okay, so you’re talkin about being you know in a big outdoor area or near some train tracks here will you know you’re going to come across those problems and make sure that you have Labs on everybody Wireless level years on everybody and you have a really competent boom up that can swing and get in there.
If a coat made some unfortunate Russell on a on a lab track. So it’s preparedness just being like on top of it as much as you’re on top of anything else. That’s so which brings us to our next question lavel or boom. Mic. What? If you had to choose obviously both would be ideal. But if you had to choose which way would you go I think most people will typically pick boom if the boom track is great and there are a couple of reasons for that which is mainly that you tend to have the most natural sound capture from a non lavalier microphone like a boom.
It captures more of the are captures more of the perspective if you have a booma. Getting in kind of as tight as they can based on how wide the you know, how wide the shot is then you can end up with this great natural perspective from shot to shot and that’s kind of perfect for us. And then the same thing follows through to fully and effects if you end up really establishing the sound for your film early on that being said just because environments are hard to control.
Lavel ears are equally important to get right as much of the time. I think a lot of the time they can be considered back up for the boom. I say that because doing so many films where the lavalier is hidden under. Several layers of clothing, right and it’s like if you knew that you were doing that.
Would you continue to go through the trouble of recording it if if it’s not going to be usable so often I feel like it’s used as a bit of a backup but there have been a couple of films where I’ve even had a little bit of my own philosophy challenged on it because it is very easy to say. Oh man booms, you know shotgun mic or or a cardioid.
Yeah, they will always sound better. And saying better is kind of a matter of perspective. There’s been a couple of films that I’ve worked on where the director has asked me if we can switch back to using the laugh track because it has a more intimate sound and so it really raises question of okay.
So what do you looking for in the sound of that dialogue recording and they wanted to hear more of the unnatural details. They wanted to hear a little bit more of the sound pressure on the lavalier mic capsule that made it. Feel maybe a little bit more uncomfortable a little bit more unnatural so that you actually were paying maybe more attention to that voice than you would have otherwise, so I think it’s about trying to use both of them understanding where each one excels.
Um, and then trying to make the conditions the best that you can. It becomes more of a creative decision in the end of like right what works better creatively and emotionally for this film the laughter the boom instead of like well the level signal failed and got some RF interference so we can’t use that so now we’re stuck with you.
Right great kind of different sizes. Would you also agree guys that it doesn’t matter if you have a $10,000 microphone or $100 microphone if you don’t put it as close as humanly possible to the subject. It doesn’t matter how good the mic is. I think that’s one of the biggest tips I discovered when I started to do my own audio on on my first feature was just get it really close and a $250 rode mic.
Does an amazing job, you know, it’s really amazing. Would you agree with that? Yeah, I mean, I think there’s there’s one note in there that I think is something worth addressing which is about it’s not so much as close as possible. It’s as close as you need to be right. Um, and so and what I mean by that is that in this applies to just about.
All audio recording with microphones is that there’s an optimal space where you can get the most natural sounding recording to capture as truly as you can the subject before it starts getting unnatural or starts getting you know, proximity effect or anything else like that. And so what’s hard is that?
Yeah, it goes back to that kind of I think the same thing can happen for cameras to know skilled skilled person with a cheap camera can do a better job than. An inexperienced person with a 50 thousand dollar camera and so it’s really about learning how they function and the you know, I think learning the downsides to the product that you have is great like learning the limitations of achieve.
Mike will make you increase your chances of being successful with it because you can roll into and lean into those deficiencies may be with the product to get something. Good out of the have a really cheap guitar 12-string bass guitar in my room and it’s a as an instrument. It is a terrible instrument.
It’s noisy. It’s like things have been have just broken over the years and what I figured out at some point, is that it shines. Under certain circumstances in played a certain way or manipulated a certain way and I think the same that applies to a lot of things and especially microphones like okay.
I know the limitations of this. Yeah, and I think it someone applies to what you alluded to earlier Alex in that someone might spend the success of amount of money on. Like red cameras, but then have exhausted all their budget and will now have to buy cheaper microphones if if any at all and it might be a much better approach to buy everything more proportionately.
Yeah, so. You’re no longer pairing this pristine Perfect Image with prosumer level audio gear, right? It makes no sense. You’re absolutely right. It makes absolutely no sense. But the mentality for a lot of filmmakers and it’s you know, this gear porn kind of mentality where the camera sexy for FileMaker the mics are.
And it’s just a way filmmakers work and the think about it because they could see the visuals and but they, you know hearing it crisp and clean is not nearly as sexy as looking at a beautiful Alexa image, you know, or a black Magic Image or a red image. Um, so it’s something I think that needs to be reprogrammed and filmmakers.
Mine’s a bit that like, you’ve got to understand how to get good audio if you’re not hiring a professional. To do it. I mean really do your research and do it because if not, it’s going to be really difficult to sell your movie or finish. Yeah, and I think what you brought up about the quote-unquote sexiness of equipment is grabbing We’ve joked a lot a lot of other sound people about if a film crew is like a band like who are the different roles and quite often the camera off with the cameras the lead guitarist, you know, yeah, they’re doing the solos their front they get you know on the front of magazines and then.
Sound guys are typically like the bass player, you know drag done by everybody. It’s like just you know, follow the drummer whatever I could it could honestly sometimes of the Roadies let’s just be honest. Well, and you do see that happen on production sets like hey grab the PA and the hold this boom and it’s like it’s like, oh man, that’s why you’re coming to me and post with like, you know, maybe they did a great job.
That’s awesome. But most of the time it’s like, oh, yeah, we uh, we didn’t actually ever have a sound. We just gave it to whoever was available. Right so and it’s just like oh, you know in the budget of the movie was $250,000 and you’re like are you kidding? Yeah going back to the more kind of technical question.
I think that you know, yeah, like rich said having your production budget for your equipment and just kind of saying like Okay, let’s try and tailor things back a little bit and this section so that we can maybe up the quality of that because everybody agrees that. Investment-wise microphones are just about the best investing that you can do in any audio technology because if you buy a good one, it’ll last forever and nobody.
Yeah, exactly lens has been nobody says that about camera bodies. No, so it’s the same crazy to buy camera bodies. Yeah, so it’s great at this point now because you can buy a good sounding recorder that will record the sound files properly. And then put your money towards getting a nicer Mike like a you know, Sennheiser 416 that is like a hammer.
I mean it’s like he could build a house with that thing any kind of weather. Yeah. So I think that’s that kind of proportioning of budget. That’s so important is like really you want to try to treat everything somewhat equally or be prepared to like have to tip the scale later on in the process because like you said people will.
Notice the difference is if the sound is bad and they don’t care how good I mean B movies. I this is my go-to for everything B movies are the classic example. Of why sound is important if you take like all the really bad sci-fi middle. Well, even I mean I think movies like Sharknado had the capacity to sound pretty good based on modern technology.
But if we go back to like the 50’s, oh God. Yeah, like right so Flying Saucer movies and stuff like that. I mean these sets even Star Trek or at least our Trek episodes, you know, these Boulders are made out of Styrofoam. You know, what do you think makes them sound heavy is the actors physical.
Performance paired with the sound effect of of a large Deep Impact following and that’s what makes them Arrington same thing still holds true. It’s like something’s filmed on a soundstage and you need that sound design and all the other elements to convince the audience that it’s all real which brings me to my next question Foley, which is an art form in itself.
Can you discuss what Foley is for the audience and how important it is in a current mix in today’s world? Yeah, so Foley and Foley Art is the act of performing a physical action recorded against picture and performed against pictures. So the Foley artists will watch the image and whether you’re doing footsteps, whether you’re doing something with props or an action will watch the character or subjects performance on screen and then mimic what they’re doing.
To recreate a sound and that’s all it’s not always literal mimicking. It’s just moving in a way to cinematically recreate the sound that they would have been generating have that sound been reported on production. So in the night, you know in an Ideal World your set is quiet all the time and all of those amazing details that happen because of the actors actions get picked up.
It doesn’t work like that because the attention is on getting the dialogue recorded properly. So there’s a very small percentage of the actual sound that we get from production that. Or effects like footsteps and things like doors that are highly usable. We call those production effects, but generally you but generally you even when you have those production sounds if there’s a budget and generally you ask for a little bit you replace those sounds with something that’s going to little bit meteor like a door closing or those footsteps or upon for an instant obviously a punch but things that were in production, you will replace them or enhance production sound to give it a little bit more weight.
Correct. Yeah, incorrect 9 times out of 10. It’s enhancing, right? So it’s blending between the two of them to go. You know, what Footsteps in this sound pretty good. But you know, we can’t hear the leather jacket. Um, and so let’s let’s try to enhance this character more or we use the production sound in a later scene as reference to go.
Like, you know what I know, we can’t see his feet in this scene, but he was in a similar part of the house here so we can assume that maybe it’s carpet as well and then we know how to do carpeted footsteps for which scenes of the film for example, so in the process of doing Foley Art unlike sound effects unlike a lot of editing where it’s a single person operation and you have a you know, many people.
Editing. Different aspects with holy art it’s typically a two person operation. It’s not just the Foley artist. It’s also the Foley recorded / mixer and in a lot of ways. The folio recordist / mixer is acting more for the ears of the film than the folliard. Sometimes is because they’re hearing how it’s getting recorded and how its translating into the software which can make or break a performance.
So in my relationship with Rich on the Foley artist here and riches the Foley mixer. So it’s very important that we’re constantly communicating when you say absolutely based on perspective. So Matt will be performing and hearing his performance through his ears naturally and I’ll be hearing it through the perspective of the placement of the microphone.
So very frequently telling him. Hey, you need to back up a little bit more or. Come a little bit closer. And uh, the way we are situated actually is that I can’t see much more than Matt’s head actually often. I’m not sure what props he’s using to recreate the sounds that were trying to put into the film which I’ve come to embrace because if I know oh you’re using a leather baseball glove for the sound of those leather pants then when I’m.
Recording it and watching it against picture. It might taint the way I’m interpreting the sound and if I can’t see the prop and I’m just purely just listening to the sound itself that I can more accurately let Matt yes that’s tracking well or no, it’s not and that’s one of the biggest reasons actually why although we love filmmakers visiting the Foley stage and we do a good amount of behind-the-scenes recording recording some of the Holy stuff that we do to put it up online.
It’s usually a bad idea to have a filmmakers viewing the actual Foley session for their film because it’s it’s really hard to fight the urge to go. Like are you sure that’s gonna work and then they’re gonna picture that all the way through till mix they’re going to be like maybe if you didn’t use the thing that you used it with and it’s so it’s a very psychological kind of exercise there, but it’s really, you know the setup at least that rich and I have allows for that.
Which is fantastic, but the whole like translation side of things with the microphone is important too because you know body paths are really simple thing. For example, like somebody let’s say two people are giving each other a hug and they’re patting each other on the back. Well, we can all imagine what that sounds like, but there’s a sweet spot for the microphone based on where your hand is padding on your own body.
And from my perspective with my ears, it all sounds pretty good. But a lot like with production sound you might think you’re on a really quite sad, but you’re actually recording all of these other noises because of the pressure that the microphone capsule is getting from the environment. So it’s the same thing with Foley.
It’s like the paths from my perspective might sound good and Rich As I try it, you know, like shifting your hand down like an inch or something and then all of a sudden it’s like that’s what lit it up for the microphone which makes it translate better for the film. So it’s a really collaborative kind of dance trying to create these sounds to fill it out.
And then the irony is that most fully sounds are very very low in the mix. So we put in a lot of this detail we put in all these footsteps and then they they occupy a small range of audible territory for the film, but it’s the one thing that really really drives this like. Unknown kind of visceral texture for the film that makes people feel more connected and more more kind of believable developed.
Yeah believable believable world because we hear all these things and take them in all the time that we have a natural tendency in our everyday lives to tune them out. Yeah, I was gonna say I’ve heard a number of recording mixers referred to fully as the audible glue for the film like if you were able to a bee.
The sound of the film with and without Foley it just adds to this immediate. Tangible life to your film and once you do hear the difference, it’s hard to go without Foley afterwards know there’s Foley and then there’s also kind of like the sound design pulling sound effects from stock libraries, which is another option as well.
Foley. A lot of times is a little bit more expensive because it’s a lot more labor-intensive. I’ve had projects that we were like look we don’t have the budget for Foley. We’re gonna do everything out of the canned or if you will canned or um, Packages that are out there those are options as well that you guys do.
Right? Yes. So the majority of majority of film X’s contain both a bit of both and we might have some projects that have a lot of Foley and kind of an average amount of what we call hard affects their cut affects things from libraries, but then there are other films you take like action films for example, the majority of the sounds and the film will be cut in from library.
Or from stock and then you’re using Foley for the really kind of nuanced things. So even let’s say like on a really strapped budget, even if it’s more convenient to have a library to cut from often it can end up being more efficient time lies to Foley things because there’s almost like a pre-editing that happens during the performance where I’m giving the film what it needs in a given moment.
And that’s tailored to it. And then all it needs is a little bit of additional editing in order to sell it and especially when you look at kind of more nuanced actions, like maybe somebody writing or somebody kind of feeling with a book and opening and closing or newspapers kind of a classic one opening up a newspaper and kind of looking through it.
All of those little movements can be. Kind of square peg round hole situation when you’re editing from a library, right and with Foley, it’s just again, you’re recording the natural tendency of physical objects. And that kind of that kind of mini chaos that happens with those physical objects is the thing that brings life to it.
So sound effects libraries are incredibly crucial. I think getting ones that sound. Natural and aren’t overused too much are great. And especially in the independent World talkin about indie films. There’s an amazing amount of independent sound effects libraries out there where they’re more cost-effective.
They’re made by independent sound recordist and sound effects record. And they have that kind of independent spirit in mind where they maybe have a little bit less of a commercial sound to than than your really big libraries that may have been used in like 50 Productions or more in one year. So, um, it’s all incredibly crucial content, you know, including those big box libraries, but it’s kind of knowing knowing where they all fit together and ideally here in a situation where you use everything at your disposal.
So you’re using these amazing libraries on top of. Independent stuff on top of Foley and then you previous Big World right when I when I’m in session a lot of times I’m doing well doing the spotting session with my sound designer. He’s like, oh, well, we’ll just going to use canned for that door shut because we don’t need to fully that but we do need to Foley.
These footsteps because they’re over ground that’s kinda weird and unique. So we’re gonna fully that so they pick and choose what they’re going to work on and then sometimes they’ll do both they’ll do a Foley and then they’ll maybe mix in a heart effect on top of it just to kind of create a better sound.
Yeah. I think that’s a great thing to bring up specifically with mentioning doors is that the majority of stuff that does get cut in for independent film a lot of the time are things like doors. Cars bigger items where you have a lot kind of at your disposal and maybe the benefit of having a Foley door isn’t that much of a you know, the benefit of it isn’t that much of a stretch because it’s in the end up sounding very very similar to something like that.
And that’s why you do here. Like I remember I think it was the first Hunger Games Film. There’s a very famous door that’s been used in a lot of Productions, you know in the beginning of the film. That was probably the consensus is like we just need a good sounding door for her to walk through. It doesn’t need to be you know, we didn’t fly in some like rare, mahogany or something but to it right out the door, that’s perfect.
And what is that one guys? Yell that’s in every movie. What’s the name of that? Oh that one guy you talkin about? Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah at The Wilhelm scream. Yeah the Wilhelm scream. It’s it’s it’s turned into where’s Waldo for me? Because I listen to every I mean it was an Avengers Infinity War. I literally just heard it in Avengers Infinity.
Why is that yell everywhere? Is it just something that now sound guys have to use like it’s like it’s like a they have to put it in because. It’s this running joke. Is it that good where it’s funny? We’re actually at a really fun time to be talkin about that because I think we’ve almost come full circle into like now people are like maybe officially sick of it.
I’m not sure I’m never gonna get but I love like I personally love it. I wanted to know my movies. I heard I can’t remember who it was but I feel like it was some of the guys that Skywalker we’re talkin about a new screen that they. Discovered or recorded that is kind of a successor to to The Wilhelm and I’m of course all years about that because I’m like a tall order, you know, like waving the flag for years, but it’s the Wilhelm was was can you explain this?
So, you know, it’s this screen that the easiest place to find at a lot of the time our Star Wars movies, Indiana Jones movie the kind of lucasfilm. Empire of films which was you know has been attributed to amazing veteran sound designer Ben burtt who who was archiving sound effects as a student. I believe and discovered the sound and went on, you know for years.
I think it was starting to get used and things and so people started to realize this and then this big research kind of process started for him and kroeber was involved as well. Um, David Lynch’s sound effects reported she’s known for so it really became kind of this cult following and I think it was a very interesting thing that I think that sound designers got you know, is this like rite of passage or this kind of um, You know, it’s like who gets to break the wishbone and Thanksgiving and you get to cut the Wilhelm into the film, you know?
Yeah. And so and where is it going to be? You know, can we use it more than once it can we be that like, but then I’ve never seen it more than once. I generally only see it once in a movie because it’s so distinct. Yeah, but you find that people have gotten very creative about it. And I think what’s happened is because of YouTube because of the internet one of the my favorite things that I show students whenever I work with them is there’s a compilations on YouTube.
Yeah. It’s like, you know 150 uses and it’s a great film history to because you can see all these incredible films but what’s happened is because people are now so aware of it is that people sound designers have had to get really creative about how to incorporate it. Like there’s an amazing use of it in.
Legacy which is a really like bit crushed digital sounding stretched out thing and its people have gotten very creative with it. What’s funny about you mentioning? I think we were my wife and I were watching Age of Ultron or yeah, maybe it was in any war and I didn’t notice it and she did. And for years, I would be the one calling out, you know sound facts during films and she was getting annoyed with me and normal people would sir exactly and normal people.
Yeah, and at some point that kind of crossed over where she started calling things out to me like the will home and I’m like, yeah, I heard I heard oh my wife my wife pulls out bad green screen comps now and like big budget movies. She’s like, oh that was a horrible green screen. You are social worker.
What do you it’s just like I’ve been with you for a long time. I’ve picked up a couple of things. You know, that’s that’s what’s I think that’s a great message to you know, especially to these massive High budget films. It’s like people are smart on your average person now is so much more aware.
Oh, yeah how the sausage is getting made that like you it’s like, oh wow now we’ve got to like. Catch up, you know, where as it didn’t used to be that people used to have a really visceral reactions to seeing creature Prosthetics or whatever. It’s now a very different kind of stakes have been up a little bit but go back and watch Hulk angley’s Hulk from 2000 and something.
Oh my God, that’s ilm is some of the worst CG I’ve ever seen in my life. I remember some people saying that at the time. But it was kind of like in a bad compared to what or like, you know, whatever it’s like. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing. So let’s get into the fun part of audio deliverables. Now, this is this is an absolute mystery to most filmmakers, uh, because after being a supervisor for so many years most of them don’t even understand deliverables of what how important they are and what you need to do to get them.
So, can you explain what? Audio deliverables at least filmmakers need when they’re going to deliver a film domestically. Yes, so it ranges to say first but on average the majority of independent filmmakers that we work with need kind of a set of deliverables. They usually get a mix of their film which is typically a WAV file they get a stereo down the of that.
And then they typically get as is temps. So as is dialogue music and effects Dems or NASA’s music and effects then and do you give stems for the five as well? Correct? That’s correct. Yeah now now early on so if there’s let’s say a distribution deal isn’t lined up but they need to kind of prepare some stuff to approach the Distribution Company or they need to create a trailer.
Typically. It’ll be will say, okay. Let’s hold off on striking. All of these things until until we know a little bit more so that we can be be precise with what we’re making. So to start we might just be making just for the stereo version. We might be creating the acids DME or as is emanating, um for use in trailer cutting or for using submissions or whatever else and then from there start getting into the more kind of nitty-gritty distribution deliverables.
And so what happens a lot of the time an independent films that don’t have a distribution deal lined up is that the next stop after their mix quite often? It’s bestival. And so the goal a lot of the time is to get the festival mix done and completed and then quite often a DCP is made so for the DCP, you need your 5 in your stereo the additional file that I should mention that we also provide.
Is the um Dolby Digital I was about to ask you about that one. Yeah, that’s a that’s a wonderful little scam. Dolby has he got a rent that damn sister. I read that piece of gear to the code and then you gotta read that another piece of gear decode it like what a scam. Yeah. I mean thankfully, you know the AC3.
Is it least like a you know creating something like a DCP or Dolby print Master for wear it when you’re going into like more intense distribution deliverables. Thankfully the AC3 is kind of the lesser of all of those kind of cost deliverables, but I think of his flexibility the fact that it’s it’s a format that was able to live on both DVD and Blu-ray, which I think is pretty incredible and ours as well.
Yeah. Sure. Sure. So it’s um, we always provide one of those in case there’s going to be a screener or anything that might need to be created on physical media, but it’s definitely like now people submitting to festivals even as large as Tiff, uh, Toronto International Film Festival pair. They’re going to be using digital upload.
So, you know in most cases that’s stereo. If not all cases you mean for for um for screeners, Uh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s all on a it’s a video link. It’s a link and that’s generally is Stereo. You’re right. You would not want to jam in a five mix on a quick time. Yeah, and so that actually helps in a lot of ways because that’s the big difference overall between a um stereo mix in a five easier dialogue coverage because as soon as you start splitting things out across the surround channels, you become much more aware of noise and kind of things you need to do to fill out the environment surrounding the dialogue and with stereo that.
You have a little bit more leeway on that because it spreads across the two channels. So especially when you’re delivering to a festival and typically delivering early on in the post-production process a lot of mixes that we do within the first two or three weeks. There might be in the middle of that right now.
We just started a film and we need to deliver submission mix so quite often that ends up having to be stereo for that. So it’s all I think finally gel together and become more convenient process and that can you discuss a little bit about International deliverables. Like what a fully filled is because that’s that’s something that sneaks up on people like, oh wait a minute because that’s expensive.
That’s not cheap to do a fully filled. Yeah, exactly. So as I mentioned with the kind of previous basic domestic deliverables, I kept on saying the term as is and as is is the alternate to fully filled. So as is is based on maybe it’s a lower budget, or maybe it’s the fact that we not sure what kind of distribution deal we’re going to get.
You might not be in a position where you need to fill in all the sounds. That were behind dialogue in the dialogue track and that can be any, you know, all the incidental sounds that might be picked up on set. I’m not fully sounds not things added that somebody’s walking and talking and you can hear their bag rustling and their footsteps clearly behind dialogue.
Well, if you’re only ever going to go to ethic and you’re going to have a very low level distribution deal. That stuff can stay there and it’s going to do its job. But as soon as you get rid of that dialogue, you’re going to be missing all of those effects that were recorded behind it on set. And so the fully filled will call it a fully filled DME dialogue music and effects them you have to be able to mute the dialogue track and then your effects track contain.
Over the same information that was behind the dialogue so that you’re not having dropouts so that you can replace you can over dug in any other language. And it will more or less sound like the same film, you know outside of the language being spoken in the actors that are hired to do that and that’s not that’s not cheap.
That’s that’s an expensive process to go and that is a cost that gets snuck up on if you don’t have a good post supervisor on the filmmaker the like what do you mean I need another five grand. What do you need? Another 10 grand to do this? I’m like, well, that’s what it’s gonna cost. You movie was not in good shape.
Yeah, you hit the nail on the head and in a lot of ways. At least the way we have our template setup. Even if we’re working towards and as is set of deliverables, we are prepping in such a way that once we do get the green light to go fully filled. We’ve already kind of started in that direction.
So it’s not like we have to break up the original asses mix and start anew. We’ve laid the groundwork to pursue a fully filled mix. But yeah, you’re right. We have to do in a lot of cases full footsteps coverage a Russell pass. So the sound of the clothes of the characters throughout the entire film.
Yeah. It’s the generic wrestling of everybody on the screen. So we’ll shoot that front to back for the entire film so that there’s always some kind of support for characters that are on screen. I think what’s what’s interesting about the fully filled is that there’s at least kind of two ways to think about.
What the effects end up sounding like there’s kind of what I consider like the Indiana Jones trade-off where you want to replace the content that’s behind dialogue from production with something of an equal value or wait so that you’re doing that trade. And that no discernible value has been lost from the effects, but then there are some cases where because of the necessity to have to fill back in all this stuff.
You may be technically improving the sound quality of some of these effects elements because you’re having to replace them sure some cases your foreign dubbed version of the film will have. Slightly different texture with it may sound like slightly higher Fidelity in some specific circumstances because you’re no longer leaning on.
More raw kind of natural sounding production sound that used to be there now. Can we talk a little bit about what’s on the horizon for deliverables and sound because they’re always you know, five seven, you know at most you know, you guys delivering Atmos right now. Are you guys doing seven one?
Can you talk a little bit about those things and what else that I didn’t mention if there’s anything else on our Aizen? Yeah. There are some newer things that are still in development. But yeah to kind of go back to surround formats. 507 winter still very much the standard that you would call it the new standard in a lot of ways versus stereo or whatever now that’s especially is very much considered the standard and then 7 is often used as well.
That must isn’t being done yet. On that much of an indie level. It’s only for a theatrical until until we get more of an at most home theater experience. Yeah, but even then how many indie films really need most right exactly. I mean you can argue that the big argument for Atmos is that is just a little bit more space to breathe to kind of move things around but you can easily think about that in relation to five as well and ask yourself how many people you know that have.
Proper five systems are 500 setups at their house and then think about from a consumer purchase level how something like an atmosphere the home consumer isn’t getting used as much as it could be now. They are a lot of companies are now coming out with. Atmospheres for home and of course, they figured out how to do it in a sound bar.
So you don’t need to have this elaborate setup to do it. I mean, that’s great that they’re able to take this big format and do that, but from an indie perspective it’s about okay. We you know, we have vastly more channels available to push the sound wherever we want to but that takes time to do.
And if there are no audiences that are going to get the benefit of hearing that then what’s the point? Yeah, that’s it. Yeah, what’s the point because essentially the directors and producers that are on the stage getting to hear the final mixer going to hear it the best then and then if they don’t get the opportunity to screen it in atmosphere or screen it for a lot of people when it’s streaming or whatever in home scenarios, then it didn’t live beyond the mixed age.
So it’s really about thinking. Where your film is going to play? Um who the audience is going to be and tailoring it for them. So as much as Atmos is absolutely amazing, which it is. It’s also like it’s still very much in that growth phase of like, okay, who’s who’s the intended audience? Should we just agree that it’s going to stay in theaters, or is it are we gonna start to see it pop up more at people’s homes.
I’m just gonna say that being said, There have been significant jumps across the decades in terms of like your final deliverable format. So the Chunk from mono to stereo. It was like, oh we instantly know that that is much better. So we’re gonna go stereo and the same could be said from stereo two five one.
The difference there is just you instantly know now the jump from 5 to 7 in some ways wasn’t quite as significant as the drunk from stereo to 5 and what I’ve what I’ve heard in reading up on on at most and listening to other professionals talk about it. Is that the jump from 5 to at most is another one of those significant jumps.
So I’ve had the experience of being in both. Yes. It’s amazing and I have heard the Rumblings that Netflix in certain cases. Might be requiring Atmos deliverables as part of their deliverable requirements. So it could be creeping up in the next couple of years. We’ll see. So one thing one thing the rich mentioned was the jump from mono to stereo and there’s actually I think a pretty famous story with I hope I’m getting this right.
I think it was with Scorsese where he was getting to hear one of the first filmmakers that you know, got to hear this jump to stereo and I believe he hated. Because he was like, I don’t understand I’m seeing my characters in the middle of the screen and I’m hearing them to the left and the right and they’re losing their they’re losing their anchor.
They don’t feel physical anymore. This is awful. Go back to mono and the kind of amazing thing about five one is that it brought back and embraced fully the idea of Mana while also like. Transforming it into this amazing new soundscape. It’s like a full proper Evolution. You got kind of the best of both but now so so like, you know, there’s at most but one of the other pretty New Horizon for sound has been because of VR and 360 some work, which is still the wild west right now in terms of everybody from technology manufacturers to.
Filmmakers sound people are all still trying to figure out how it’s all working how to optimize it how to collaborate. It’s a very open collaborative industry right now for that because people just want to figure it out to make it work and it’s interesting because binaural has had a massive comeback because of 360 and VR sound design because.
It’s by normal is just it’s just stereo, but it’s an immersive kind of stereo recording technique in playback where it really holds the audience in a space and think they’re going to be our filmmaking and. And stuff like that. It’s come back in a big way because it’s so much more attainable to record in that than it is to record any Sonic or or any advance for us, but talkin about deliverables that’s on a whole other level because of the the files that you need to deliver need to metadata that link and the time when I was experimenting with VR.
Last year the year before it was a YouTube wasn’t even equipped to handle certain things and you couldn’t you know, it was like YouTube on an Android phone in that combination could handle yeah, you know certain kind of file and so slowly it’s now we’re at a point where the default I think vanilla copy of Pro Tools comes with.
Facebook 360 audio implementation and stuff like that. So we’re definitely getting there but it’s like that’s kind of the Wild West right now of audio. So can you guys tell me a little bit about Studio known sure. So, um known is a bicoastal audio post production facility and we’re a full service facility.
So we do all editorial, you know, dialogue editorial sound effects editorial music editing. Obviously, we do folliard Poli recording and editing and then we have a um, five and approved dub stage at least on our in one of our facilities we have because we’re bicoastal. We have facilities in Los Angeles as well Hollywood in Burbank, so.
You know in our facility located where we are right now, which is just out of Baltimore Maryland. We have a full service facility with our Foley stage dumping stage editorial sweets and everything. So our studio being bicoastal has great workflows to be able to work with filmmakers just about anywhere actors on both coasts that they need to come in for ADR and pipelines between them to really make it an efficient creative process.
And so. It’s a film focused facility don’t Focus company, but we do anything on so we’ve done interactive work. We’ve done be our work sure we do commercial in spots. But really the big thing about the work that we do is we always see creative opportunities within it. So just because we’re given a talkin Head documentary that doesn’t mean that it has to be.
Flat or just be dialogue just be music. It’s opportunities to figure out how you can be creative and still still giving audience and experience regardless of the specific genre or type of work that it is. So like putting explosions in the background of a yeah have Michael Bay it Michael bang if it calls for I think another big point to highlight and I’m seeing this in a lot of companies.
Even Beyond audio post is that we have our core. Full-time team whether we’re talkin about Baltimore or LA but we also have an extensive list of freelance editors that might specialize the dialogue specialize in sound design specialize in you know, various forms of editorial so, When you find that we’re able to scale the team to match whatever the project needs to talk had documentary.
We might be able to keep it all in house. If it’s a Netflix original we might be calling upon some of our friends to come join our team for that particular project. Yeah, or yeah. Yeah, and you guys are very indie film friendly. Yeah, I mean that’s you know, we’ve done stuff that’s been on prime-time broadcast and we’ve done stuff that’s been very commercial and stuff like that.
But our big focus and the majority of the film work that we do is independent and there’s an independent nature I think to even the kind of larger broadcast things we’ve done. I think it’s more of kind of a mindset in some ways. But yeah, we’re extremely indie film focused and I think the important part of that What Makes Us.
Like that is the fact that we understand the problems and the challenges and hurdles that can come up during the production process and how you need to creatively problem solve in order to make a successful. We know that budgets are what they are in the indie film world and so budgets always a conversation at any level as to what your priorities are.
Like what we need to focus on. How can we help you do your film in a way that. You don’t feel like trapped in the process. It’s like creatively other people so well, I’m gonna do the speed round. Now of all the questions I ask all my guests. So we’re gonna knock these out quick. I wanted to ask you first of all, what advice would you give any filmmakers trying to break into the business today?
I think it’s really important to ask questions and to be a sponge. And I think that’s really important at the beginning of your career in this case with filmmakers sound people whoever it is be a sponge and be willing to learn from everybody and never stopped anybody that stops the learning process because they think that they have enough experience is doing themselves a disservice because it’s an opportunity to build peers and collaborators and improve yourself and help other people improve themselves and.
It’s a great resource in personality trait to have early on because it will give you opportunities to excel faster where and whatever category you’re trying to do with in filmmaking. It’s just a it’s trying to feed back in and build relationships. It’s just so building relationships and being being social and building.
Your network is valuable. Yeah, I think that’s kind of more or my immediate reaction went to at the question is maybe more so in a practical. Census seek out internships understand that there’s a large need for freelance editors out there. So if you’re going to call various companies, maybe don’t ask are you hiring a full-time position say more?
So do you need help with your night shift crew or are you seeking freelance editors in this capacity at all? Because I’m around cool now, can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career? You’re talkin about this earlier. Yeah. Um, dr. Seuss got it. Yeah. Well, I think for me I can pinpoint a couple throughout my life, but it’s you know, any of the books where the story has gripped me so much where I’m reading it till 3:00 in the morning on a school night.
And most recently in my life, but I like a lot of sci-fi and I this one’s been around forever. But the last one I devoured was doing yeah, so I just I crushed that book very quickly and I think uh, Denny am I saying his last name? Right? I hope I am last I heard he’s actually rebooting it filner.
Yes that yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yes, the guy that did arrival and later. That would be he’ll be a good guy for that. He’ll be a good guy to reboot that well, that’s just last night. Hopefully it comes to but yeah, it’s a tough. It’s a tough book to bring to the movie screen. I think to keep coming to General answer to that.
I love reading material that is descriptive and immersive because that’s the same content that I look for in films is. Descriptive texture to the film and so a lot of the stuff that I read for the most part now is scripts. It’s based on assessing films for the creative process and much like books.
They have a style to them. They have a way of being written in some you find don’t use a lot of adjectives don’t do a lot of describing to set the tone for a theme. So when you’re reading that you’re having to put a lot. Into trying to understand the world that the author is creating versus one that might have a more collaborative style of being written where they’re very descriptive of the visual environment.
And then therefore ye start to in your head here the environments and things like that. They have specific adjectives being used to describe a creaky staircase and everything so good. So good writing. Yes, physically really good writing. I mean something extends to poetry. You know what I mean?
Sure now what lesson uh took the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life, I think for me it’s similar to what we were talkin about with starting in the film industry. I think that all the technical stuff is a matter of time for the most part. It’s like after a while. You know rinsing and repeating you’ll learn how to operate you learn how to do this.
But the creative side of things can be much harder to learn in terms of your ideas. And one of the biggest ways that you develop I think creatively is by having a creative Minder training yourself to be creative and that starts with questions. It starts with being curious and I think that I became a better.
You know better in general but better certainly as a sound designer with the more questions, I started asking not assuming that your idea or the ideas that you have or the best ideas and that because you’re being hired as the sound person that obviously your ideas are the best out of everybody’s in the rooms.
It’s about asking questions of other people and like one of the biggest questions I asked and every spotting session that I have with filmmakers is how do you want the audience to feel in the scene? And in a lot of ways, it takes the pressure off of everybody because it’s thinking about oh, yeah, they’re the end-user that matter the most because they’re gonna make or break your career whether they like your content or not.
And so. It’s really that I think asking questions can be so important to do that. And I really like I try to ask as many questions as they can as possible like even things that might seem obvious like that whole like they’re you know, there are no stupid questions there really aren’t it’s like some of the information might be redundant but right it’s all information.
That’ll help you P, you know better filmmaker Better Sound person better person human person. The very first thing that just said referring to a lot of the times the tech will come with time. It kind of applies more to your question about advice when you’re first bringing is not a lot of times like the interns that come through and just various people that we choose to work with at least initially a lot of times it can be more personality-driven.
How do you work with the team? I can teach anybody the tech just about. But it’s much more difficult to teach someone to have an agreeable personality or just someone that you want to be around every single day. So if you see certain struggles within your own life as far as becoming one of those agreeable personalities, uh, I’d start there.
Yeah, and it’s a tall order but just don’t be a dick don’t be especially the best advice you can give people. I think it’s really hard with the film industry, especially to because it is. 50/50 creative and Technical sure and when you have that you’re gonna have a much larger mixed bag of people that are either very technically minded and literal and people that are very abstract and quote-unquote creative artsy.
And so there can be. Certainly a struggle with that. If you’re too much of One Thing versus the other and he find that most people that are well-rounded and successful. It doesn’t mean that they’re not as creative as somebody who’s a purely creative artsy person. It just means that they’ve learned the language to be able to talk to anybody about it.
And that’s one thing with talkin to some independent filmmakers. They go. I don’t know if I’m going to use the right words so correct me if I’m not making sense or tell me if something doesn’t make sense and I don’t speak the language and I said it’s I always say it’s not your job to know the language.
It’s my job to interpret what you’re saying and figure out these ideas that you have because you do have them there in it’s just a matter of like learning to communicate them and having people around you that are willing to ask and learn so lastly guys each of you. Give me one of your favorite films of all time.
Oh boy, that’s a lot easier. My biggest influence probably has been alien movie great great movie. Yeah, and it’s I think it’s my de facto desert island film because you know, I think I saw it first when I was 10, but not a good idea. Go ahead now. I good idea. But years before I had seen it I was living in the UK I grew up in England and we didn’t have a lot of the same action figures that were being produced in the state’s it took months for things to come overseas for us.
And so I remember my grandmother sending me one of the Kenner action figures from from aliens. That was the most of all those things crazy-looking thing that it was the flying alien queen which does not exist in the film Universe at all. Of course, is this just. Monstrosity and it’s incredible and I remember being like Oh my.
God this is just on a whole other level and I got obsessed with the just the visual of the figures and then eventually got into the art and the comic books before I was allowed to see the films. And then finally, I remember this right after we moved to the states. The film was on AMC think it was back when they saw so you cut a cut down version of it down version, but still.
It stuck with me forever and every every different part of my life that film has meant something different like in high school. I got hardcore into Geiger’s sharp for the film and then eventually I started getting more into the sound design for the film and then back into the sculpture and it’s just it’s such a landmark piece and it’s amazing and now it’s like I get more obsessed about the score than just about anything.
How about you rich?
Uncie, I won’t hold you to it won’t be on your on your Tombstone. Just something that comes to mind. Well, I guess if I had to base it off of what I’ve gone back and re-watched the most I don’t know why I’m using that as a way to measure it. But I’d say maybe the Lord of the Rings series. Okay, and just.
It’s got pretty much a little bit of everything across, you know, the full span of nine hours that series runs. That’s the original. I think the extended ones like 11, you know, everything from very intimate more actions through some of the most creative creature design. Very cool. Yeah, well guys.
Thank you so much for being on on the show. It’s been an epic epic conversation about sound and I think anyone listening to this episode will be a lot better versed in sound and what they’re gonna need to get good sound and deliverables and all that kind of good stuff. So thank you for dropping some knowledge bombs on the on the tribe today, and I’ll put links how to get to you in the show notes, so don’t worry about that.
So, thank you guys. Now as promised Matt enriched brought the thunder and really dropped a bunch of knowledge bombs on the tribe today in regards to audio and I cannot tell you how important audio is guys. I mean one of the reasons we were able to sell, this is Meg. Is because the audio was done very very well, even though I was recording it mostly with a little Tascam and rode mic on how I put it together, but the audio post we were able to put it together give it depth really give a lot more production value to scenes that were mostly in in rooms, but we were able to give him much more value to it.
And that’s the power of audio if you intend to sell a movie in today’s Marketplace. You need to have Stellar audio and again the boys over at Studio known can definitely help you. I’ll leave all their links in the show notes and a special deal that you get by, uh mentioning indie film hustle. So just head over to indie films the show notes.
And if you haven’t please head over to filmmaking podcast and leave us a good review on iTunes. It would really help us out a lot 5 Stars would be amazing. Thank you again and really helps get the word out on what we’re trying to do at any film hustle and get this information in this knowledge to as many filmmakers as possible.
And that’s it for today guys as always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive, and I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks for listening to the indie film hustle podcast at indie film hustle.
By Alex Ferrari |
By Alex Ferrari |
WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
Taught by veteran award-winning film producer and author Suzanne Lyons. The filmmaker behind over a dozen profitable low-budget feature films.
© IFH INDUSTRIES, INC.
WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
Taught by veteran award-winning film producer and author Suzanne Lyons. The filmmaker behind over a dozen profitable low-budget feature films.