Editing – Sound

Sound is often an overlooked part of media productions and I am guilty of in the past ignoring or leaving my sound until the last minute. This time I refused to leave anything to chance. I wanted quality audio from the start, I am NOT an expert in sound, I wanted help from whoever I could get to make sure the sound did not hinder this film at any stage of production, I asked for help from Tayo with capturing the sound as I had heard some of his previous recordings before and knew he would be capable with a zoom H4. In the shoots we had some major problems with the XLR cables causing a ‘Pfffft’ sound due to faulty wiring, this forced whoever was on sound to be wary and still during recording. another major problem was external sounds but the major problem was in the Richard Crossman building for the final scene, more on that later on.

The sound itself was recorded in Mono, but on FCP it separated itself as two audio tracks meaning that all of the audio was going through the left channel while the right channel was empty, this caused some annoyances during editing when adding some other sounds such as background music. In the final edit the film will be in mono, mainly to do with my own lack of experience and equipment in getting stereo sound edited correctly.

I did use audition to fix errors in the final scene which without these edits would have been unuseable. Below is a comparison of the recorded sounds and the sounds I used in my final project, I will give a very short explanation into how I achieved this.

What I had to do was use Adobe Audition to find the sound that was causing the worries (in this case the hum) and ‘capture’ that sound and tell audition to essentially get rid of it. Before getting to this stage I tried finding the pitch in equaliser and getting rid of it that way, but it gave the effect as if the actors were being drowned rather than sounding crisp. If this method had failed then I would have called up my actors to do ADR (I sent them a message as a precaution) the screenshot below is of me capturing the noise print to get rid of the sound, I then applied the noise print to the entire clip. This worked great and although it didn’t fully get rid of the sound it did get rid of the really high pitched sounds making it much more bearable and something I could use in my film.


A major issue I had with the sound was that it was recorded at a very low capture volume. Although this was done to avoid possible spikes in the sound which would lead to distortion and it was successful in that, It also meant that the raw sound was very low and timid, especially next to the loud sounds caught by the 5D’s themselves (although of course the sound from this was low quality) I put the sounds together with the clips initially at this low volume, foolishly thinking it would be a quick edit to boost them up again, having already boosting up some sounds to double check quality, however this proved to be a mistake on my part, I decided to export the ‘almost’ complete sound (which was all the dialogue and natural sound effects captured by the h4n1 during the shooting dates) to aodbe audition, level and normalise all of the audio that way and then reimport it back into Final Cut Pro as a fully edited sound and then match it with the visuals. As i wouldn’t have changed any of the visuals from exporting the audio and then reimporting it. HOWEVER this proved to be a problem, although I did manage to achieve the editing of the sound to a decent standard I then reimported the sound clips to find them all out of sync with the visuals despite as mentioned previously not changing anything to do with the visuals. This proved annoying but I decided to edit the sounds as they were in FCP, this actually proved to be a blessing in disguise as it allowed me through the extra hours of sorting to notice some syncing errors that had slipped me by during the initial rough edit, saving me a bit of a problem had the audition export been successful. This also forced me to get a good ‘feel’ for the soundscape that I had created throughout the making of the film.


I had enquired a while ago via Vimeo forums about getting some volunteers to score my film and surprisingly I got a lot of responses very quickly. http://vimeo.com/forums/topic:50826 The problem with this however was that alot of the projects were based overseas and wanted payment which I could not afford, I also wanted to be able to see the composer personally if things went wrong, I decided to accept an offer from CCM student Benedict Scaymore who offered to compose the film, at this point I am awaiting the tracks but there is a worry that it will not be ready for hand in on Monday 14th due to his own deadlines being the same day. This causes a major problem for my film, although I am confident it will be done for submissions to festivals, it puts me at a worrying situation for getting a ‘finished’ film for hand in. Because of this I am looking at copyright free music sites such as audio network and freeplaymusic. Ideally I should have probably stayed in touch with one of the offers and know better for next time, this goes back to a reference I made in my casting posts “always keep backups”.

As well as composed music I also needed background music for the pub scene and an instrumental opening for the introduction, I had asked Dale if he would be able to provide me with a song during filming and he said he had an idea in mind, I was happy that the track (a session track his band king hermit had recorded in New York several years ago) suited the introduction scene I had in mind (although it did require a few visual edits) I also spoke to an old friend about using a song from his band ‘String Of Colonies’ I felt that the song, ‘Another step too soon’ was a great way to set the mood of the conversation the band were having, the atmosphere of the pub they were in and also a calm down from the loud instrumental opening demonstrated through King Hermit. As a sort of joke experiment, I placed in other audio tracks over the scene such as screamo and heavy metal music, it was very interesting to see or rather hear how much this changed the ‘feel’ of my second scene.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s