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Sound design for three short films

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Title:
Sound design for three short films
Creator:
Jones, Sidney Duane
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xiii, 108 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Sound -- Recording and reproducing -- Digital techniques ( lcsh )
Sound in motion pictures ( lcsh )
Film soundtracks -- Production and direction ( lcsh )
Surround-sound systems ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaf 108).
General Note:
College of Arts and Media ; Recording Arts Program
Statement of Responsibility:
by Sidney Duane Jones.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
435643586 ( OCLC )
ocn435643586
Classification:
LD1193.A70 2009m J66 ( lcc )

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Full Text
SOUND DESIGN FOR THREE SHORT FILMS
By
Sidney Duane Jones Jr.
B.S University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Masters of Sciences in
Recording Arts
2009


This Portfolio for the Masters of Sciences
degree by
Sidney Duane Jones Jr.
has been approved
by
Leslie Gaston
Chuck Biddlecom
AprA <3ccfj
Date
Sam Mcguire


Jones Jr., Sidney Duane (MSRA, College of Arts and Media)
Sound Design for Three Short Films
Thesis directed by Professor Leslie Gaston
ABSTRACT
Three short films were chosen to be the content for a recording arts
portfolio strictly dealing with sound editing and sound design for film. One is a
student film which is a documentary focusing on a Physicians Assistant Program,
while the other films are professional films whose original sound design has been
stripped. The films sound design will be rebuilt in 5.1 Surround using the
resources available to the student. Experimentation with Foley, location
recordings, and sound libraries were used to develop the sound of the professional
films. Various editing and audio restoration techniques were used to restore the
audio of the student film as well as having sound design elements added to
supplement the story. The final product is a portfolio with 2 films in 5.1 Surround
with stereo downmixes and a student film in stereo with the clean audio and
original audio for comparison.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed


DEDICATION
I dedicate this portfolio to my mother, Georgia, whose constant support and
encouragement has been a source of strength in the completion of my goals.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I give thanks to my advisor, Leslie Gaston for her guidance during the production
of this portfolio. I would also like to thank my peers Rick Thompson, James Dean
and Fredrick Johnson, whose suggestions and use of resources were critical to the
completion of this portfolio. Finally, I wish to thank the members of my
committee for their participation and critiques.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Figures....................................................ix
Tables.....................................................x
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION............................................ 1
Selecting Films and Equipment....................... 1
The Films............................................5
Studios and Microphones.............................12
2. THE GATHERING OF SOUNDS.................................16
Recording Foley.....................................17
The Props...........................................24
Studio Recording....................................38
Location Sound......................................42
Audio Dialog Replacement............................48
Sound Libraries.....................................50
3. UCAN SERVE PHYSICIAN
ASSISTANT PROGRAM........................................52
The First Phase.....................................53
The Second Phase....................................57
vi


4. TEARS OF THE BLACK
TIGER.......................................................69
Music Sessions..........................................70
Importing Foley.........................................72
Mixing Footsteps........................................72
Mixing Dialog...........................................73
Mixing Guns.............................................75
Environments............................................78
The Ricochet Scene......................................81
The Ceiling Drop Scene..................................85
Using the LFE...........................................87
The Final Filter........................................87
5. APPLESEED..................................................88
Mixing Music............................................89
Importing Foley.........................................90
Footsteps...............................................91
Mixing Gunshots
and Explosions..........................................93
Mixing the Robots.......................................94
Mixing the Tank.........................................95
vii


The Environment
96
Slow Motion and Robot
Perspective.........................................98
The Statue Collapse................................100
Using the LFE......................................101
6. AUTHORING AND FINAL
THOUGHTS...............................................102
Monitoring Level...................................102
Encoding...........................................103
Downmixing.........................................104
Authoring..........................................105
Final Listening....................................105
Conclusion.........................................106
BIBLIOGRAPHY...........................................108
viii


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
1.1 TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER..................6
1.2 APPLESEED.................................8
1.3 UCAN SERVE PA PROGRAM....................10
1.4 KING CENTER 146(146).....................12
1.5 LARGE LCD SCREEN.........................13
1.6 NEUMANN KMI83............................14
2.1 OLD TELEVISION...........................18
2.2 MAIN FOLEY SET-UP........................19
2.3 CANOPUS SET-UP...........................20
2.4 CANOPUS BOX..............................20
2.5 FAKE EASTER GRASS........................25
2.6 WOMAN IN GRASS...........................26
2.7 OUTLAWS IN GRASS.........................26
2.8 WOMENS HEELS............................27
2.9 SKETCHER BOOTS...........................27
2.10 BROKEN KITCHEN SHELF....................28
2.11 UMBRELLA................................29
2.12 WOMANS UMBRELLA........................29
IX


2.13 SHURE SM81 CASE..........................30
2.14 BROKEN SHELF ROUGH.......................31
2.15 BROKEN SHELF WITH BOOKS..................32
2.16 BOOKS BRUSHING...........................32
2.17 HENCHMAN DEBRIS FALL 1...................32
2.18 BOOK SLAM................................32
2.19 HENCHMAN DEBRIS FALL 2...................32
2.20 PAPER TOWELS IN EGG YOLK.................34
2.21 SQUEEZING PAPER TOWELS...................34
2.22 EGG CRUSHING.............................35
2.23 STABBING HONEYDEW MELON..................37
2.24 ROBOT STABBING VICTIM....................37
2.25 KC 146 DOOR..............................39
2.26 SLIDING OF COLUMN........................39
2.27 OUTSIDE KC 146...........................40
2.28 HOLLOW TABLE LEG.........................41
2.29 EMPTY BULLET SHELLS.......................42
2.30 MINIDISC TOP.............................43
2.31 MINIDISC FRONT...........................43
X


2.32 STEREO MIC 1............................44
2.33 STEREO MIC 2............................44
2.34 GARAGE..................................44
2.35 MINIDISC SET-UP.........................45
2.36 CITY PARK BOARDWALK.....................46
2.37 BOARDWALK SET-UP........................47
2.38 ROCK GARDEN.............................48
2.39 ROCKS...................................48
2.40 ADR SET-UP..............................50
3.1 REALLY NICE COMPRESSOR...................56
3.2 KATIES DOG..............................59
3.3 CAR INTERIOR.............................60
3.4 ADDED DOOR...............................60
3.5 OPENING CREDITS..........................60
3.6 KATIE....................................61
3.7 SARAH....................................63
3.8 STACEY...................................63
3.9 RENEGADE LONE WOLF.......................66
3.10 RENNIE IN CLINIC........................67
3.11 RENNIE 7-BAND EQ CLINIC ROOM............68
XI


3.12 RENNIE EXAM ROOM........................69
4.1 HERO 2 CLOSE-UP..........................75
4.2 HERO 2 WIDE SHOT.........................75
4.3 FINAL GUNSHOTS WAVE FORMS................78
4.4 RICOCHET SCENE WIDE SHOT.................83
4.5 RICOCHET CLOSE-UP........................85
4.6 HENCHMAN CLOSE-UP........................85
5.1 ORIGINAL FOOTSTEPS.......................94
5.2 FINAL FOOTSTEPS..........................94
5.3 GATLING GUN TRACKS.......................95
Xll


LIST OF TABLES
Table
1.1 Tears of the Black Tiger Production Data...........................6
1.2 Appleseed Production Data..........................................8
3.1 Really Nice Compressor Settings...................................56
3.2 Katies Home 7-Band EQ...........................................67
3.3 Rennies First EQ.................................................67
4.1 Gunshot Compressor...............................................79
4.2 Final Gunshot Compressor..........................................79
4.3 Rain Compressor...................................................80
4.4 Reverb Room 1...................................................81
4.5 Reverb Room 2...................................................82
4.6 Reverb Hallway....................................................82
5.1 Reverb Main Building..............................................98
5.2 Reverb Balcony....................................................98
5.3 Reverb Tunnel.....................................................99
xiii


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Selecting Films and Equipment
As a Music SRT (Sound Recording Technology) student in my undergrad
years, I was taught a large number of concepts, practices and techniques that are
common within my field. Once I moved up to being a graduate student in the field
of audio engineering, I was able to solidify my understanding of these concepts.
Despite being taught a broad range of skills and fundamentals of the field in
general, I was able to narrow down the careers within the field that interested me
most. Working in film and television as one of the various sound editors, sound
designers or re-recording mixers had become my career goal.
Once I had chosen my desired field, I discovered what I felt was a slight
problem with my education as an audio engineering student. Both my
undergraduate and graduate school (as well as many recording arts schools I
suspect) leaned more towards the music side of the audio engineering field. I
hypothesized that this was the case for two reasons: 1.) Many Recording Arts
programs originally branched off from music programs. 2.) The fundamentals of
audio engineering can be more easily taught and adapted from music to film than


the reverse. Regardless of the reasons, I personally felt that was a problem for me.
I had been an audio engineering student for about 6 years (combined undergrad
and grad years) during which time I had only two audio sweetening classes
contrasted with the multiple audio recording I-IV classes, MIDI classes, etc. that
dealt mostly with music. While I felt well grounded in the fundamental skills and
knowledge that an audio engineer needs to have, I wanted to get deeper into the
issues of what was needed in regards to proper sound design and what challenges
a sound designer specifically faced. Unfortunately, I didnt have the money to
acquire the proper equipment such as computers, DAWs, and microphones that
would allow me to work on recording projects at home. If that was the case, I
would have been able to work on sound design projects on my own free time. Not
being able to fulfill this need through class or by my own means, when the time
came to determine what I would do for my portfolio, I chose to produce a
portfolio filled with sound design projects.
Besides, wanting to fully understand what was needed to be a great sound
designer, I also had ulterior motives for wanting to create a portfolio of sound
designed short films. I plan to use this portfolio as a demo for potential
employers. This will allow me to work with more industry professionals (as well
as become one), learn more sound design techniques, and grow as a sound
2


designer/editor. The portfolio will be a starting point for my demo. As I get more
experience it will grow.
After some discussion with my advisor, I decided to do three short films.
Two films would be scenes from professional movies in which the sound is
stripped and I re-build the sound design of the films. The other film would be a
student film. The two professional films would be in 5.1 surround with stereo
downmixes while the student film would be in stereo. The idea behind the two
professional films is to allow me to experiment with creating, placing and mixing
various sound effects to develop an aural world of the selected films. I chose to
mix both professional films in surround for multiple reasons. The first reason was
simply to get more experience mixing in surround. Since I plan on working in
film and television the odds that Ill have to mix something in surround at some
point in my career are high. Mixing the two projects in surround would allow me
to learn more about the issues that arise when mixing in surround. The second
reason for mixing in surround is to match a goal that was set for the project.
Stripping professional films and rebuilding the sound is a common project. My
goal was to separate my project from the many others by having a higher quality
and more creative product. I wanted to get as close to professional quality as my
limited resources would allow me. I felt mixing in surround would also help my
3


product more closely match the professional product. The purpose of choosing a
student film was to give me experience working with other people on a film. The
stripped professional films gave me the creative freedom to mix and edit sound as
I pleased. The student film was meant to give me the experience of working with
and trying to please a client. The second purpose of the student film was to get
experience working on more dialog and location sound.
The original plan was to do at least five films: three professional films and
two student films. However, there were a number of reasons why I chose to do
sound design for three short films. The main reason was lack of resources and
money. As stated earlier, I had neither the equipment at home nor the money to
buy any equipment. This meant that about 95% of the project was recorded and
mixed with school equipment on school property with the other 5% mixed at the
home of a peer using his equipment. As a grad-student I was given six hours of
studio time a week. I was able to gain additional hours of project time by working
in the departments computer lab which had Pro-Tools installed on all the
computers. My level of experience, combined with the amount of hours per week
I had available, gave me little time to experiment with recording and mixing
sounds. Given these facts, I felt I could do higher quality work with a smaller
4


number of films. Thus, I felt I could complete my goals with the three films I had
with better quality.
The Films
When choosing the films I would sound design, 1 had to take a number of
factors in to consideration. I first needed to make sure I picked scenes I felt I
could handle with my limited amount of resources. I needed scenes that required
sounds that I could either find easily in sound libraries or create with easy to find
props. For the student film I needed the same characteristics as mentioned above
as well as professional and reliable student filmmakers to collaborate with.
I eventually settled on two action scenes from foreign films as my stripped
professional films. I chose them because they had many of the basic action
conventions, yet being from another culture they seemed to have a weird, fresh
feel to them that I felt was interesting. For the student film I collaborated with
student filmmaker June Inuzuka on a documentary on rural healthcare, which is a
nice contrast to the action films.
5


Figure 1.1 TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER
Table 1.1 Tears of the Black Tiger Production Data

Country of Origin Thailand
American Release 2001 (2006 DVD)
Production Companies Aichi Arts Center, Film Bangkok, Five Star Productions Co. Ltd
US Distribution Miramax Films
Director Wisit Sasanatieng
Supervising Sound Editor David Edelstein
6


Tears of the Black Tiger is Wisit Sasanatiengs homage and parody to the
classic 1950s, 1960s action and melodramas of Thai cinema. The film is equal
parts action, comedy, romance and western. The action scenes of the film are
heavily influenced by spaghetti westerns, but are more outrageous and over-the
top. The director considers the film more of a Tom Yom Goong (a traditional
soup in Thailand) western, since home made western films were once popular in
Thailand. The film itself takes place during 1950s Thailand. In the particular
scene that I redesigned, the leading lady waits for her lover in a gazebo to shelter
herself from the rain. The scene cuts to the lover, who turns out to be an outlaw.
The rest of the scene cuts between the outlaw involved in a shoot out and the
woman waiting for him.
I selected the opening scene of the film because it gave me the technical
challenges I wanted to face. The opening shot of the leading lady allowed to me to
record Foley for common objects. The dialog of the film allowed me to gain more
experience working with audio dialog replacement. Also, the more organic setting
(rural area of Thailand) and pacing of the action, allowed me to give this film a
different sound than the second action film I was re-designing.
7


Figure 1.2 APPLESEED
Table 1.2 Appleseed Production Data

Country of Origin Japan
American Release 2004
Production Companies Appleseed Film Partners, Digital Frontier, Geneon Entertainment, MBS K.K, Micott & Basara K.K, TYO productions, Toho Company, Tokyo Broadcasting System
US Distribution Toho Company
Director Shinji Aramaki
Sound Editor Sound Designer Koji Kasamatsu, Les Claypool III
8


Appleseed is a Japanese 3D animated film directed by Shinji Aramaki. The
film itself is based off of the characters in the 1985 manga (Japanese word for
comic) of the same name. The film falls firmly in the genre of sci-fi action and
cyber punk. The characters live in a world where humans live side by side with
cyborgs and various other futuristic sci-fi technologies. Once again I chose the
opening action sequence of the film to re-design. The scene takes place in the
middle of a deserted city. The main protagonist of the story is a soldier fighting in
what is told to be World War III. Her group is setting up to ambush a group of
robotic creatures, and instead, get ambushed themselves. This leaves her to fend
for herself.
I chose Appleseed as my second film to strip and re-build mainly because
it gave me the chance to do a lot of action. It had a lot of explosions and guns and
was self-indulgent. As far as challenges, it allowed me to gain more experience
designing what I would call complex characters. One example is the tank in the
film that required engine noise, machine noise, gun sounds etc, to seem
believable. It also allowed me to work on blending sounds for esoteric noises such
as action slow motions. The pace of the scene is practically non-stop action, and it
has a more mainstream action movie feel.
9


Figure 1.3 UCAN SERVE PA PROGRAM
Table 1.3 UCAN Serve PA Program Production Data
Country of Origin United States
American Release n/a
Production Colorado Film School, UCAN Serve Americorps
Companies Program
US Distribution n/a
Director June Inuzuka
Sound Editor Sidney Jones
10


UCAN Serve Physician Assistant Program is a student documentary on
rural healthcare. The UCAN Serve Americorps Program collaborated with the
Colorado Film School to produce several short films. The agreement between the
two programs allowed Colorado Film School students to gain more filmmaking
experience while Americorps would gain several films that promoted their
programs. The program that the director, June Inuzuka, selected to film was the
Physician Assistant Program.
This Americorps program allowed student physician assistants to spend
time working at a clinic under supervision. Instead of receiving a salary students
received credit hours for their time. The clinic itself catered to low income
families and individuals in rural Colorado at a lowered fee or for free. The film
follows physician assistant (PA) student, Stacey along with her supervisor Sarah
as they treat various patients in the town of Idaho Springs. The film also tells the
story of cancer patient, Rennie Lone Wolf, as she is treated by the clinic.
It would not be fair to say I specifically chose to sound edit the film
UCAN Serve Physician Assistant Program. It was mutually beneficial for both me
and June. The film was an opportunity to work on a documentary as well as work
more with dialog and location sound. I would later find out that the film would


give me additional restoration experience as well. It was also nice to have a film
in my portfolio that dealt with everyday people.
Studios and Microphones
The selection of proper equipment was important when trying to create my
portfolio. Still, due to my lack of resources, I had to use whatever equipment and
software readily available to me. I was fortunate in the fact that the College of
Arts and Media had most of the equipment I needed to complete my project.
Other pieces of equipment or software that I needed were supplied by my peers.
Figure 1.4 KING CENTER 146 (KC 146)
As my main studio I used the King Center 146. The King Center 146 is
one of two studios that contained surround systems and TDM systems. The other
12


5.1 surround TDM studio, was studio 815, also known as the 8th Floor. I chose
KC 146 over the 8th Floor for several reasons. First, I was able to mix in 5.1
surround and I knew it also had a Pro Tools TDM system installed. In addition,
the studio and control room were one and the same in KC 146. Not having the
control room separate from the studio meant I could track Foley without the need
of an assistant. This also meant there were less people I needed to coordinate
session dates with, allowing me to schedule session dates as needed during times
that were perfect for me. Another reason I chose to mix in KC 146 was because
the set-up of the monitors is closer to the ITU standard with all monitors at ear
level while sitting unlike the 8th floor, which had the surrounds mounted above
the listener with a 45 degree slant. The 8th floor also has a high fan noise coming
from the projector which could affect the mix. The final factor that determined the
selection of KC 146 as my main studio was the addition of a large LCD screen
that allowed me to mix to video.
13


Figure 1.5 LARGE LCD SCREEN
In order to gain more time to work on my project I also chose to mix and
edit in Computer Lab 281. All of the computers in this lab had Pro-Tools LE
systems on them with Mboxes. This gave me more time to work on the project as
I was only prohibited from using the computer lab by its opening and closing
hours. The flaws of using Computer Lab 281 were that: 1.) I was unable to mix in
5.1 surround 2.) I was unable to use TDM specific plug-ins, and 3.) I had to mix
and edit on head phones. To get around these flaws I mostly mixed and edited
sounds that needed to be blended and music in secondary session that were later
bounced and mixed into the main 5.1 sessions. I also did rough mixes of the
student film in stereo in the computer lab and final mixes in KC 146.
14


Figure 1.6 NEUMANN KM I 83
I did a lot of tracking for this portfolio, but I didnt use many
microphones. For tracking Foley I used a Neumann KMi 83, because I knew it
was a very sensitive microphone that could pick up some of the smaller Foley
cues I would be doing. I chose a Neumann U87 for the ADR session because it
had a flat response and Im used to using it on vocals. I also used a Shure SM57
to try to catch some failed swoosh sounds.
15


CHAPTER 2
THE GATHERING OF SOUNDS
All of the sounds that were used in the making of my portfolio fall into
five categories: Foley, studio recording, ADR, location recording, or sound
library. I particularly relished using my portfolio as an opportunity to learn more
about and experiment with Foley effects. I spent a large chunk of time just
recording Foley, although I obtained only mixed results. Studio recordings were
recordings made with props during Foley sessions but not performed to video like
true Foley effects. Another time-consuming process was the gathering and mixing
of sounds from various sound libraries. My collection of sounds by library grew
over time and I found myself replacing sound effects used in my scene with what
I felt were better quality effects that I newly obtained months later. The most
specific example of this is the Tears of the Black Tiger film which doubled as a
class project. There are versions of that scene that were created with several
different sound effects that were later replaced in the final version. This was
mainly done to meet class deadlines.
16


Recording Foley
As I stated earlier, I was personally interested in experimenting with Foley
effects as I started this project. The idea of being able to create and record certain
sounds specifically for my scenes was intriguing. The job of a Foley artist seemed
like the perfect blend of my audio engineer career choice and my concert
percussionist past. At the time I was beginning my portfolio, I was worried about
having to use poorer quality sound effects that would not match well with what
was on the screen. I felt that using Foley effects for basic sounds such as
footsteps, cloth movements, doors, blood and guts etc. would give my portfolio a
better quality sound.
When deciding to track Foley I chose to record in the King Center 146.
Since the studio did not have a separation between the control room and the studio
I was able to be a one man Foley crew. KC 146 allowed me to set up a mock
Foley stage, perform as the Foley artist and then walk over to the console and
assume the role of Foley recording engineer. Including the fact that I would be
mixing the Foley cues, I essentially became a one man Foley crew.
17


For my tracking set-up I had to use the older TV and the gobos that were
already available within KC 146. When I originally started tracking Foley, the
large LCD screen that I mentioned earlier had not yet been acquired. This meant
that for a video monitor, I either had to use the computer screen (which was close
to the computer) or choose the old TV. Wanting to reduce the possibility of
computer noise, I chose the old TV.
Figure 2.1 OLD TELEVISION
I used the gobos that were lying around the studio as further protection
from the computer noise specifically and random noise in general. I placed the TV
near the right wall of the studio and placed the gobos on each side in a V shape
that had the focus point on the TV. The old TV itself was actually placed a foot
outside the V. I placed the microphone in between the gobos to shield it from
18


noise. The set-up also allowed me to use the majority of my props within the gobo
walls.
Figure 2.2 MAIN FOLEY SET-UP
Since the set-up for my Foley tracking was near the studio surround
monitors I turned them off and took them off their stands. There were two reasons
for turning off and moving the monitors. The first reason was that the old TV was
too close to the right surround monitor when placed in my Foley set-up. This
produced a hum that was coming out of the speaker when it was turned on. The
second reason is that my research told me that Foley is done on a dark stage to
avoid any hum or noise in the lights. During my recording sessions I also had the
lights off and though I walked around with a flashlight, I didnt want to
accidentally knock over the surround monitors.
19


In order to get video to the old TV from the computer I needed to use a
video capturing box. I used the Canopus ADVC-110 for this purpose. I ran a
firewire cable from the computer to the firewire port on the Canopus box. I ran
signal coming out of the Canopus box through a video RCA cable (with an RCA
extender) into the old TV. The Canopus box was set to digital in. This enabled
me to monitor video during my Foley and ADR sessions.
Figure 2.3 CANOPUS SET-UP Figure 2.4 CANOPUS BOX
As stated earlier, the microphone I decided to track with was the Neumann
KMi 83. This microphone was chosen because I knew it was sensitive enough to
catch the details in delicate Foley cues such as cloth movements. I ran into an
20


issue when trying to determine recording levels for my Foley tracking sessions.
My research told me that modern Foley mixers track Foley at +6dB and reduce
the audio track later when mixing. At the time I started tracking Foley my concept
of dBFS and dBSPL etc. was fuzzier than I had wanted to admit. The book I read
stated Foley cues are now recorded at +6dB and made no mention of what the
scale was. I assumed that +6dB in the book meant just record +6dB above OdB on
the King Center 146's Control 24. Once I saw that +6dB on the Control 24 did not
give me the proper waveform levels I desired, I moved the recording level up to
around +40 dB and later lowered it to around +26 and +30dB depending on the
cue that was being performed.
Regardless of what my recording level was, I still ended up with miniscule
wave forms. While my recording levels may have played a part in this problem, I
also hypothesized that my microphone placements may have had something to do
with it. I used a boom stand so I could adjust the microphone in many different
positions. Since I did many of the Foley cues from the floor of KC 146,1 may not
have gotten the microphone as close as was needed. The Neumann KMi 83
usually had to be slanted towards the prop for what I felt was a proper
microphone placement. It is possible that my slant on the microphone may have
placed the diaphragm of the KMi 83 in a spot that did not allow it to catch
21


complete sound wave coming off of the prop. I also may have performed my
Foley cues too softly. I was pleased with the actual sounds that were recorded, but
low level waveforms would come back to haunt me when it came time to mix the
Foley effects with the cut effects.
I decided to record the Foley of both films in a separate session from the
rest of the soundwork. This was done mainly for clarity. I was mentally more
comfortable not cluttering the Foley effects up with the unedited Cut effects. This
also allowed me to mix and edit the Foley as needed in Computer Lab 281.The
Foley cues were recorded mono at 48 KHz, 24-bits. I only allowed for eight tracks
per session for both Tears of the Black Tiger and Appleseed. At the time, this was
meant to somewhat simulate the work flow of the Foley mixers who recorded to
analog 8-tracks. They would record the footsteps and motions of different
characters to 8-tracks and import them to a main mixing session later. Not having
the time to get into my analog recording options at the school I decided to
simulate the work flow digitally. I had no technical reason why I chose to record
Foley that way; it just seemed like a more streamlined way to work. For Tears of
the Black Tiger I recorded the womans footsteps on track 1 and any of her
motions (dress movements, umbrella motions) on track 2. The main heros
footsteps were on track 3 and his motions (gun draws, belt rattles) were on track
22


4, with a similar set-up for Hero 2 on tracks 5 and 6. Tracks 7 and 8 were reserved
for miscellaneous Foley cues that didnt belong to any main character. I also used
the miscellaneous tracks to record motions of characters that occurred
simultaneously or were too difficult for one person to record. For example, the
female character has a section in which she removes her handkerchief and a
picture falls out. The cloth movement would be on track 2 (Female Motion) and
the picture falling sound would be on one of the misc. tracks. For the Appleseed
Foley session, Hero 1 footsteps were on track 1 and her motions were on track 2.
The various members of her squad were considered Hero 2 and only had a motion
track on track 3. The robots of Appleseed were titled Villain 1 and only had
footsteps track on 4. Tracks 5 and 6 were my miscellaneous Foley tracks.
Studio recordings were recordings made during the Foley sessions that
were not performed to video. These were usually done when I had props I felt
would not fit into my Foley set-up or if I had to record something directly outside
KC 146. They were recorded in the same Pro-Tools sessions with the Foley cues,
but they were recorded around a minute away from the Foley tracks and after the
end of the video track. I would bounce and import these sounds as needed and edit
and mix them as if they were cut effects from a sound library.
23


The Props
There were various props that I used to create sound for both Tears of the
Black Tiger and Appleseed. In fact, I recorded the Foley sessions for both films at
the same time. When I chose a prop to use I would perform all the cues needed in
one film, close the session I was working in, and immediately open the Foley
session of the next film. This allowed me to get the most out of my time for the
Foley sessions.
The first effect I needed to perform was in Tears of the Black Tiger. There
were multiple scenes in which the three main characters of the story were walking
in grass. I decided to use a grass substitute instead of recording footsteps in real
grass and cutting the effect in. This was because many of the scenes in which the
heroes are walking in grass focus specifically on them walking. Using a grass
substitute allowed me to have more control over the performance of characters
footsteps.
When looking for a substitute for grass, I decided to go with the fake grass
that was being sold at the time. During the time I was recording footsteps it was
24


Easter. There was tons of the fake grass that were used for Easter baskets
everywhere. I was able to buy large amounts of it cheaply.
Figure 2.5 FAKE EASTER GRASS
Since the woman in the film was walking on less dense grass, I laid down
a thin amount of grass so the microphone would pick up a light foliage sound. The
two male protagonists of the story were walking in a much denser patch of foliage
so I added more fake grass accordingly. This gave the footsteps a thick brushy
sound that is synonymous with thick grass.
For the womens footsteps, I used a cheap pair of womens heels. For the
mens footsteps I used my everyday boots. In both cases I placed the shoe in my
hand and mimicked walking sounds. This was because I felt I gave better
performances this way than wearing the shoes. I also could not fit the heels.
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Figure 2.6 WOMAN IN GRASS
Figure 2.7 OUTLAWS IN GRASS
26


Figure 2.8 WOMENS HEELS
Figure 2.9 SKETCHER BOOTS
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I found a good prop to create footsteps on hard wood floors. My wooden
kitchen shelf had broken a year ago and my landlord never fixed it. I was able to
use this broken shelf to help simulate hard wood floors.
Figure 2.10 BROKEN KITCHEN SHELF
Similar to the grass footsteps, I placed my sketcher boots in my hands and
performed the movements of the various characters. I tried to convey emotions
with the various footsteps I performed. If the character was scared I used more
rapid steps, if the character was confident I made the footsteps heavier.
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During the scene in Tears of the Black Tiger in which the female
protagonist waits for the lead, there were several Foley cues to perform.
For the womans umbrella, I simply used the same type of umbrella. When it
came time to perform the cue I simply closed it from an open position to match
her action.
Figure 2.11 UMBRELLA Figure 2.12 WOMANS UMBRELLA
Before the female protagonist closes her umbrella, she sets her briefcase
down. For that Foley cue I actually left my main Foley set-up and recorded
directly on the console. 1 used an empty Shure SM 81 case placed firmly on the
casing of the Control 24 to give me a warm thump. While this sound was
satisfactory, I ended up adding another Foley sound to make it perfect.
29


Figure 2.13 SHURE SM 81 CASE
For the part of the scene in which the woman takes off her scarf, I used a
real scarf, and similar to the umbrella cue, I tried to mimic her movements and
mood. She later removes her handkerchief and a Polaroid photo slips away from
her dress. I used an actual photo I had lying around my apartment as the prop to
simulate the photo fall. I used my scarf to double as a handkerchief and recorded
the handkerchief motions with my scarf tied to my waist similar to the film. I
dropped the picture on a piece of cardboard to get a good picture impact sound.
Later in the film, a henchman is shot by the male lead. The henchman falls
onto what seems to be random junk or supplies. The henchman and junk proceed
to slide down to the floor ending with a satisfying crash. After some thinking I
came to the conclusion that I did not have enough random props lying around to
30


completely create this effect through Foley. Still, I decided to try and capture the
sliding junk sound and impact. For this effect I used the rough and unfinished side
off the broken kitchen shelf.
Figure 2.14 BROKEN SHELF ROUGH
I then took three manga graphic novels and put two in one hand and one in
the other. I placed the part of the books that were opposite the spine on the rough
surface. I then slid the books over the rough surface of the shelf and slammed
them firmly down on the surface. This produced a good sliding sound as well as a
good impact for when everything hit the ground. I merely needed to add cut
effects to design sound for all the falling debris.
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Figure 2.15 BROKEN SHELF WITH BOOKS
Figure 2.16 BOOKS BRUSHING Figure 2.17 HENCHMAN DEBRIS FALL 1
Figure 2.18 BOOK SLAM Figure 2.19 HENCHMAN DEBRIS FALL 2
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Later in the film Tears of the Black Tiger, the two male protagonists storm
into a room. They cautiously walk around the room looking for henchmen to
shoot. Then the main hero notices drops of water dripping on his hat. He looks up
at the ceiling and sees a gun coming out of a hole in the ceiling. He pushes his
partner out of the way and proceeds to shoot at the henchman hiding in the
ceiling. For the water drops, I took a baseball cap and bowl of water. I dipped my
finger in the water and proceeded to let droplets of water hit the bib of the cap.
This didnt give the wet sound I was looking for, but it gave a nice natural impact.
To create a shoulder pushing sound for the part of the scene where Hero 1 saves
Hero 2,1 simply gave a stern slap and push to the cushioned side of the gobos in
the studio and recorded the sound created by that action.
One prop that was used in both films were the eggs soaked in paper
towels. I used this prop to simulate the blood and guts of any brain splatter sound
needed in both films. This was a Foley technique created by Foley artist John Post
to create the blood and guts sounds in the 1982 feature film The Thing. The
technique is to take a number of egg yolks and beat them as if you were going to
scramble some eggs. You then take a number of paper towels, ball them up and
soak them in the egg yolks. When it comes time to perform the Foley cues, you
33


take the soaked paper towels and proceed to squeeze out the egg yolks to desired
effect.
Figure 2.20 PAPER TOWELS IN EGG YOLK
Figure 2.21 SQUEEZING PAPER TOWELS
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I also saved the eggshells for two other effects needed in the Appleseed
film. 1 took one empty eggshell and quickly crushed it to create a desired sound
for when a character gets his neck snapped and crushed. Later in the film a
secondary character gets his head slowly squeezed until it crushes and pops. I
would use another empty eggshell and slowly crush it. Put together with the
video, the egg shell sound became a slow skull crushing sound. I later took a very
thin piece of cardboard and rolled it up as you would a newspaper. Once I rolled
the cardboard as tight as could, I would squeeze it and simultaneously try to roll
the cardboard tighter. This in turn gave me a nice straining sound I would use in
conjunction with the skull crushing sound created by the eggshells. Once the skull
collapsed and brains splattered everywhere, I used the egg soaked paper towels to
complete the sound effect.
Figure 2.22 EGG CRUSHING
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I borrowed my friend Freds old tool belt and tools to create various
sounds in both films. The tool belt came with one pipe wrench, two monkey
wrenches and a screwdriver. I also added a combination lock in one of the tool
belts compartments. I wore the tool belt and performed motion cues for the two
male leads in Tears of the Black Tiger. This was used as the gun holster noises
that come from their belts as they walked. I performed guns being drawn and
placed from holsters by drawing and placing a monkey wrench in the tool belt.
For the film Appleseed, I manipulated the monkey wrenches and pipe wrenches to
produce sounds for the gun motions and rocket launcher motions.
There is a scene in the film Appleseed in which a secondary character is
stabbed by a robot. To create this sound I took a honeydew melon and sliced it in
half with a long knife. I then proceeded to stab the melon in sync with the picture
from the inside of the melon until I reached the shell. I also took a separate
recording of me forcefully removing the knife from the melon to record a sound
for when the robot removes its hand from the inside of the victims body.
36


37


Studio Recordings
As stated earlier, studio recordings were recordings that took place usually
in or near the studio but were not recorded to a video track. These were usually
last minute ideas for a prop or technique to create a sound. I would record them
without the video track to hear how they sound. If I liked them I left them where
they were in the session (usually away from the other Foley tracks). Other
occasions that called for me to record without the video track were sounds that I
needed to record outside the studio. This was usually because I needed access to
the concrete floors available outside the King Center 146.
For the various door kicks in the film Tears of the Black Tiger, I recorded
myself kicking the wooden door that leads into KC 146.1 took various recordings
of me kicking the door. I kicked it open, I opened it and as it began to close I
kicked it back open, etc. I also used the KC 146 door to re-enact the body sliding
sound that was needed for the scene in which a henchman gets shot in the head
and his body slides off the pillar he was hiding behind. I simply slid my body
down the door in a similar time frame as the henchman.
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Figure 2.25 KC 146 DOOR Figure 2.26 SLIDING OFF COLUMN
Later in the film Tears of the Black Tiger, a henchman falls through the
ceiling and hits the floor. To create this sound, I took the larger half of the split
honeydew melon and dropped it (shell side down) directly on the floor of KC 146.
Beneath the thin layer of carpet in KC 146 is a concrete floor. Dropping the melon
gave a nice low frequency impact when close miced. To give the drop more of a
wooden impact sound (since the henchman fell on a wooden floor) I took three
large Red Delicious apples and recorded the sound of them being dropped on the
rough side of my broken kitchen shelf. When combined with the honeydew melon
drop, this made for a good body drop sound.
There were various sounds in the film Appleseed that called for me to
record in the hallway outside of KC 146. This was because the Appleseed film
had many sounds that involved concrete. I researched that concrete sound effects
39


only sound proper when the concrete that is used is part of a slab-on-grade
foundation. This means that the concrete is molded into the ground beneath. If
the concrete is not set this way, the effects sound hollow. Not having much
knowledge in construction, I took a guess that the concrete floors outside KC 146
were slab-on-grade. Recording the effects on the concrete outside KC 146 was as
much a test of the concrete for later footstep sounds as it was a recording of the
effects I needed.
In this environment I recorded gun drops and bullet shell drops for
Appleseed. I did not worry about any of the hall reverb since I would be close
micing the props. Also, the film takes place around a lot of concrete ruins, so a
Figure 2.27 OUTSIDE KC 146
40


little natural reverb was acceptable me. Id press the record button while the
microphone and props were still inside the studio. I did not feel safe leaving the
equipment outside while I went inside to press record. I would then grab the
microphone and needed props and go into the hallway. I waited until there were
not many people around and I would then perform my cues. I dropped monkey
wrenches to mimic assault rifles hitting the ground. To simulate the long hollow
end of a rocket launcher hitting the ground, I took the leg to my home table and
removed the stopper in it. This gave me a long hollow cylinder to work with. I
dropped the table leg various times until I had a take I felt matched the drop in the
video.
Figure 2.28 HOLLOW TABLE LEG
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There is a scene later in Appleseed that focuses on a close-up of a Gatling
gun (or Heavy machine gun). The gun is firing in the background of the scene
while empty bullet shells spew out the guns side in the foreground. I acquired
some empty .32 caliber bullet shells and recorded them being dropped on the
concrete. The idea was to get the sound of the bullet shells hitting concrete and
pitch shift them down later in the mix, so they would sound like heavy caliber
bullets.
Figure 2.29 EMPTY BULLETS SHELLS
Location Sounds
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While most sounds needed for the films I was designing could be
completed with Foley, Studio recordings or sound libraries, I found myself
needing to do a couple of recordings on location. In order to obtain these
recordings, I borrowed my friend, Ricks, minidisc recorder. This recorder
allowed me to record sounds at 44.1 KHz, 16-bits.
Figure 2.30 MINIDISC TOP Figure 2.31 MINIDISC FRONT
The minidisc recorder came with a generic stereo microphone that plugged
into the mic input of the minidisc recorder with a 1/8 inch connector.
43


Figure 2.32 STEREO MIC 1 Figure 2.33 STEREO MIC 2
I used the minidisc recorder to mainly record footsteps I could not make in
the Foley sessions. I recorded all the footsteps for Apple seed this way. I also
recorded the boardwalk footsteps in Tears of the Black Tiger with the minidisc
recorder. For the film Appleseed, I took the minidisc recorder into the garage of
my apartment. I chose to record in my garage because I needed concrete footsteps
and I knew the concrete in my garage was set into the ground.
Figure 2.34 GARAGE
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The microphone for the minidisc had a mic clip that did not fit any mic
stands. Not having any mic stands to use anyway, I decided to rig up a quick set-
up for the mic and minidisc. I took my sociology book and taped the mic clip to it.
I then placed the minidisc on the book and the mic in the clip.
Figure 2.35 MINIDISC SET-UP
I placed the minidisc set-up on the ground in the garage. I took notes on all
the footsteps needed for Appleseed. I then recorded various takes of me running
away from the mic, towards the mic, past the mic (left and right), shuttersteps, and
jumps. I ended up with decent footstep sounds that had a lot of reverb in them.
Still, due to the high concrete setting of Appleseed, I felt I could get away with it.
I used the same set-up to record the boardwalk footsteps in Tears of the Black
45


Tiger. I went out to the boardwalk stage at City Park and found a spot on the
boardwalk that had the sound I was looking for. I placed my minidisc set-up near
the boards, placed the womens heels in my hands, and performed the Foley
footsteps needed for the film. I would later edit the footsteps to the video.
Figure 2.36 CITY PARK BOARDWALK
46


Figure 2.37 BOARDWALK SET-UP
I also used the minidisc recorder to obtain the rock crumble sounds that I
needed for a scene in Appleseed in which a statue is hit by heavy machine gun
bullets and collapses to the ground. I took the minidisc to a school playground
that had a rock garden. I placed the minidisc recorder on the ledge of the rock
garden. I held the mic steady in one hand and shifted the rocks around in the other
hand. Like the footsteps, I planned to later mix and edit the sounds to fit the
picture.
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Figure 2.38 ROCK GARDEN Figure 2.39 ROCKS
Besides recording on location using my friends minidisc recorder, I also
had a recording session at my friend, Freds, house. Fred had a lot of tools and
household items I felt could be used in the making of both stripped films. For the
recordings we used an Electro Voice 308 ND. We placed a microphone outside
his house, and ran a cable from the backyard to the Pro Tools rig directly in his
basement. I then performed various recordings while he ran the Pro-Tools rig in
his basement. Since this recording session was done before the Foley sessions, I
decided to record a number of footsteps in grass, concrete (though not built into
the ground), concrete with sand on it (for gritty footsteps), flat brick, and flat
brick with sand on it. I also recorded a shovel full of rocks crashing onto concrete
and flat brick, which would later be used for the statue collapse in Appleseed. The
most significant recordings I made at Freds house were for the ricochets in Tears
48


of the Black Tiger. I took a large heavy token (about the size of a silver dollar, but
heavier) and two different shovels. I set-up the microphone and proceeded to hit
the shovels in different places with the token. This gave me a good metal ringing
sound that would be good for the ricochets. I also recorded the token hitting
Freds metal tool shelf. This produced me a more hollow metal ringing sound for
the ricochet that specifically hit the empty metal desk.
Audio Dialog Replacement
The dialog for Tears of the Black Tiger is 100% audio dialog replacement.
Since the original language of the film is in Thai, I decided to change the dialog
of the film to make it easier for the English words to fit the lip sync. Since the
films in my portfolio would not be for commercial use, I felt no need to stay true
to the original dialog.
49


The set-up for the ADR session was the same as the Foley session. The
only difference was that the Neumann KMi 83 was replaced by a Neumann U87.
Like the Foley sessions, I was the talent and the mixer for the ADR. I would set
up the record point to give me enough time to walk from the Control 24, to the
microphone and still have enough time to get into character for the film. I felt that
the amount of dialog I needed to record was small enough that recording in this
way was still using my studio time properly.
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Sound Effects Libraries
There were many cut effects that were placed into the films. This was
mainly because I was unable to create certain sound effects with my limited
resources. I would also use sounds from a library if I decided to make last minute
adjustments. Cut effects were used for all the guns, explosions, engines, and
machine noises. Cut effects were also used to compliment certain Foley cues and
recorded sounds.
There was no sound library that I used more than the others, though some
libraries have better types of sounds than the others. I also obtained access to the
various sound effects libraries at different times during the production of the
portfolio. I would often find myself replacing sound effects used in a film from
one library with new sounds from a newly acquired library. I would also find
myself holding off on a sound effect to develop because I was not comfortable
with the sounds I had at the time. I would build the sound effect once I had the
sounds I liked.
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Last Minute Sound Engineer Replacement
My agreement with June was to only edit and mix the sound. However,
there was a time when she needed me to record audio for a day. Her normal boom
operator was unable to record that day. So I decided to help her. The Colorado
Film Schools equipment was used. We used Sennheiser EW-100-GW lavalier
microphones for when the two women (Stacey and Sarah) were in the car. We
also used a Beyer-M58 with boom stand as our boom microphone. We recorded
directly to the camera which was a Panasonic DVX 100A. The camera only had
two audio inputs, so we could not keep the lavalieres on the women for the whole
shoot. If we did we would not have been able to capture any of the patients
talking. During in-door shots we used the boom microphone to capture everyone.
This allowed the video crew to move quickly, but would lead to poor audio issues
during post-production. Of the two shoots that I operated boom, June used the
first one as the first scene of the film.
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CHAPTER 3
UCAN SERVE PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT PROGRAM
The student documentary UCAN Serve Physician Assistant Program was
the most difficult of my films to edit and mix. The main problem was that I did
not have a good idea of the techniques used when editing and mixing
documentaries. I did not have a point of reference to refer to when mixing the
film. I also did not have enough experience in audio restoration to properly clean
the audio. Despite these problems, as I worked on the film, I developed and
acquired the skills needed to properly edit it.
The main problem of the film was the large amount of errors and noise in
it. The audio for the film had a high noise floor. I hypothesized that this was due
either to the audio being recorded directly into the camera on DV tape, or to faulty
microphone cables. There is a lot of hum in the audio of the house scene due to
the TV which was still powered on in the patients house during the video shoot.
In fact, one of the dialog lines in the film for the patient Katie is I usually turn it
off which is referring to when the film crew asked if the TV could be turned off.
53


There is also some hum in the scenes that take place in the clinic, which I feel
may be due to the lights. The clinic itself was positioned right off of a highway.
You could actually park on the highway curb and walk 10 or 15 meters directly to
the clinic. The low-mid and low frequency sounds from the cars and trucks
passing the clinic on the highway are clearly heard in the film. The boom
microphone that was used to record everyones dialog in-doors also caught much
of the room reflections as well. There were multiple clicks and pops in the film
that also needed to be removed. The last cause of errors came from bad edits in
the dialog which were cut by June herself without any crossfades or noisefloor
considerations.
The film was mixed in two phases. The first phase was the mix that was
made to meet Junes deadline of February 15, 2008. Upon discovering the film
needed more work, it was later mixed again after the Appleseed and Tears of the
Black Tiger films were done.
The First Phase
June gave me the audio for the film with an OMF file. I opened the file up
with Digi-Translator. This gave me three tracks with dialog and two tracks with
music left and right. Although the tracks would sync up with the video due to the
54


OMF file being exported through Final Cut Pro, I requested her to place a
timecode bum on the video. The timecode was offset by 1 hour, but started over
every time the scene changed. Since the audio synced with the video I did not
worry about the timecode burn. This would come back to haunt me when it was
DVD authoring time. A final stereo track of the audio was imported as a reference
and to check the sync.
The majority of the film is dialog with music occurring only at the
beginning and end of the film. This meant that all the errors in the audio were
easily noticeable. My first decision was to clean the audio at my friend Ricks
apartment. There he had a Pro-Tools LE set-up and the Waves audio restoration
tools. After viewing/listening to the film, Rick suggested that I run the dialog
through the outboard compressor that he felt was good on vocals and speech. I
decided to take Rick up on his advice. We separately routed each track of dialog
to the compressor and returned it on a separate audio track. We recorded each
track of dialog with compression added and adjusted for latency and placed it in a
new playlist of the original track it was recorded from. The compressor that was
used was the RNC1773 Really Nice Compressor. This really gave the dialog a
smoother quality that was immediately noticeable when compared to the harsh
dialog of the original vocal tracks.
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Figure 3.1 REALLY NICE COMPRESSOR
Table 3.1 Really Nice Compressor Settings
PARAMETERS SETTINGS
Threshold -20 dB
Ratio 1:15
Attack 0.4 ms
Release 0.4 ms
Gain 0 dB
Super Nice Button Pressed
Besides adjusting the normal settings of the compressor, I pressed the
super nice button. This gave the compressor a specific type of knee that smooths
the vocals out even more.
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After running the audio through the compressor, I decided to attack a
rather nasty collection of clicks and pops that occur in the first scene inside the
first patients (Katie) home. To get rid of them, 1 first isolated the section with the
errors. I used the X-crackle plug-in to get rid of the crackle that was associated
with the clicks. I set the threshold to 70 and used shape 100. After the X-crackle, I
used the X-click plug-in to reduce the clicks. In this plug-in, I had a threshold of
50 and used shape 23. Finally I took the pencil tool and drew out the remaining
waveforms that popped. While using all of those techniques did not fully get rid
of the pops and click, they sounded significantly better. Those were the only
adjustments made at Ricks house.
To meet Junes deadline I mixed and edited heavily in Computer Lab 281
and did final mixes in KC 146. This was to give myself more time to work on the
Film. Since the majority of the audio was on one track, I chose to use audiosuite
plug-ins instead of placing a plug-in on the track or using an aux track. At the
time of mixing the session, I felt this would allow me to use various plug-ins and
save computer power. I would also not have to split the audio into two separate
tracks. Unfortunately, much of the exact audiosuite data is lost. I know that much
of the EQ I used was mainly to remove noise. I removed the hum from the scene
at Katies house. I removed interior engine noise from the scenes with Stacey and
57


Sarah in the car. For the remainder of the film I removed the noise coming from
the highway near the clinic. I then adjusted levels and fade ins/outs to make the
scene transitions more seamless. I finished this first mix in time for Junes
February 15th deadline. She was pleased with the mix. Afterwards, I let my thesis
advisor Leslie hear it. She explained that there was much more that could be done
to the film. Upon finding this out, I decided to finish mixing the film once
Appleseed and Tears of the Black Tiger were completed.
The Second Phase
Upon completion of my other films, I went back to work on UCAN Serve
Physician Assistant Program. While I continued to work on the EQ of the dialog,
I added more sound design elements to the film. During the scene at Katies house
there is a part that focuses on her dog. The dog proceeds to hastily run away from
the camera. I added the sound of the dog collar jingle and decreased the level of it
as the dog moved away from the camera. I had added the sound of a dog panting,
but decided to leave it off in the final version.
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Figure 3.2 KATIES DOG
After removing most of the interior car noise to clean Staceys and Sarahs
dialog, I found the scene seemed unrealistic without it. So I mixed interior car
noise with the womens clean dialog to make the scene seem more realistic. Later
the film cuts to a scene where Stacey opens a door and enters the exam room. The
scene opens in the middle of the door sound. I decided to take a door opening that
occurs later in the film and reuse it as the door opening of that scene. The final bit
of sound design I added to the film was typing text sound to the opening credits.
Since the font and animation of the credits resembled a typewriter, it was a natural
choice.
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Figure 3.3 CAR INTERIOR
UCAN SERVE
Antericor
TCG 401:00:01:28
Figure 3.5 OPENING CREDITS
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Besides adding sounds, there were times I needed to replace words
said by a person in the film, with other words said by that same person. These
were usually pieces of dialog that had been cut during the dialog editing that June
had done. I had to replace these words with words that fit. In the very first scene
with Katie, shes shown finishing an incomplete word.
o
Figure 3.6 KATIE
Since the edit made her seem to be speaking two syllables of gibberish, I
decided to replace it with the two syllable phrase oh, yeah she had spoken later
in the scene. During the interior car scene the last word that is spoken is
fabulous. I took the fabulous Sarah spoke in Katies house and used it to
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replace the cut fabulous in the interior car scene. 1 raised some of the low-mids
in the word in order to make it match more of the dialog in the scene. Since this
scene actually had two dialog tracks (due to the car interior scene being recorded
with lavalier microphones) 1 had to replace the word in the second track. This was
due to the crosstalk between the two lavalier microphones. I EQed the second
fabulous similar to the first fabulous, but I made it thinner since I was
mimicking crosstalk. I also placed it out of sync with the first word to give it a
delayed crosstalk feel. I also found part of the noise floor in the scene that had no
dialog and copied and pasted it under the two fabulous words. I did not have to
worry about sync since the word was spoken off screen. The last word that was
replaced took place during a conversation between the patient, Rennie, and the
PA, Sarah. Sarah speaks the word ok, but an edit takes place at the same time
and cuts off the word. Since I could not find any other instance of the word ok
being spoken in the scene I decided to replace it with the word yeah. I was able
to do this because the clipped ok was spoken off screen. This meant I did not
have to worry about sync; it just had to fit the conversation.
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Figure 3.7 SARAH
Figure 3.8 STACEY
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There were a number of clicks and pops sprinkled throughout the film that
I missed during the first phase of mixing. There were also noticeable noise floor
dropouts that needed to be fixed. The majority of these errors were fixed by the
same technique. I would find a piece of the noise floor in the scene that had no
dialog. I would then copy and paste the noise floor over the click or pop, and then
use crossfades to blend the edit points of the noise floor with the rest of the audio.
I also removed a word (spoken off camera) in the film that was not relevant to the
story by using this technique. Later while mixing the film, I decided to go back to
the collection of clicks and pops that I had reduced, but not totally removed. I
decided to try another technique that I had learned hoping that it would
completely remove the errors. I first isolated the region that contained the
collection of clicks and pops by separating it from the rest of the audio in its track.
I proceeded to highlight and delete all the clicks and pops present in the isolated
region. I would then timeshift all the regions that were left behind in order to
cover the empty spaces left due to the deletion of the clicks and pops. This got rid
of most of the pops that were present in the audio, but added a slight stretchy
sounding distortion. I decided to keep the distortion since it was still better than
the clicks and pops it replaced.
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Despite both techniques, there were still clicks and pops I was unable to
fix. In these cases, I could not remove the errors without causing a bad edit that
sounded like the error I was trying to remove. There was also a high noise floor in
the recording that needed to be reduced. To remove the final errors I would need
high quality audio restoration equipment that was developed specifically to
remove these errors.
After some discussion with my advisor, I had a better idea of the type of effects I
was going for when using EQ. For the scene at Katies home, I first used a 1-band
EQ and set it to a high-pass filter. I dropped every thing below 235Hz by 12 dB.
This got rid of most of the hum present in the audio, but I had to leave just a bit in
because it would have negatively affected the audio. I then used a 7-band EQ to
adjust the audio for more clarity.
Table 3.2 Katies Home 7-Band EQ
MODE LPF HPF LF LMF MF HMF HF
Q 12dB/oct OUT OUT 5.48 6.31 OUT OUT
FREQ 9.5 KHz OUT OUT 462 Hz 748 Hz OUT OUT
GAIN N/A N/A OUT -9.7dB -9.7dB OUT OUT
65


Rolling off the higher frequencies got rid of some the noise. The reduction
of frequencies in the low-mids and mid frequencies was to remove room
reflections and a specific noise that was interfering with the clarity of the dialog.
The scene with the grandfather and grandchildren needed less EQ. I removed
much of the noise in this scene during phase 1.1 dropped 312.7 Hz by -9.8 dB. I
used a Q of 7.25. This got rid of some of the room reflections.
O
Figure 3.9 RENEGADE LONE WOLF
The most EQing was done when the film focuses on the patient, Rennie
Lone Wolf. She has three different scenes with different locations as well as two
different voice-overs. I had to EQ Rennies voice five different times. Her first bit
of dialog is a voice over. I used a 7-band EQ on it.
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Table 3.3 Rennies First EQ
MODE LPF HPF LF LMF MF HMF HF
Q 12dB/oct 12dB/oct OUT OUT 7.42 OUT 1.00
FREQ 5.2 KHz 117 Hz OUT OUT 980 Hz OUT 3.5 Hz
GAIN N/A N/A OUT OUT - 12dB OUT -7.1 dB
The low-pass and high-pass filters removed noise and hum. The mid
frequency cut reduced a noise that was sticking out. The extra cut in the high
frequency was to smooth out some of the high nasally frequencies of Rennies
voice.
Figure 3.10 RENNIE IN CLINIC
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During Rennies second scene in the clinic room, there was a lot of
boxiness in the dialog due to reflections in the room. I did a 15dB cut at 181.6 Hz
with a Q of 3.88. I also did a 15.8 dB cut at 473.6 Hz with a Q of 6.61. This
removed a lot of the reverb in the room that created the boxiness of the dialog. I
also cut everything under 100 Hz by 12dB to get rid of hum and noise.
0 .....
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Figure 3.11 RENNIE 7-BAND EQ CLINIC ROOM
When Rennie is in the exam room I cut everything below 133 Hz with a
High Pass Filter. I did a 13.8 dB cut at 271.4 Hz to reduce a frequency that was
sticking out. I also reduced 702.6 Hz by 6.8 dB to reduce reflections.
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Figure 3.12 RENNIE EXAM ROOM
During Rennies second off screen voice over, I cut 200 Hz by 13dB, to
get rid of an out of control frequency. 1 boosted 2.45 KHz with a Q of 1.00 6 dB
to bring out her voice. For Rennies final interview I used a Low-pass filter and
cut everything above 9 dB to get rid of noise. I used a High-pass filter to get rid
of everything below 225.5 Hz. This removed the Highway noise. I reduce 533 Hz
by 12 dB to reduce room reflections.
During this second phase of mixing, I gave each scenes dialog its own
track. Instead of using audiosuite I placed the EQ's in the inserts of the track. I
was overall more confident with the second mix.
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CHAPTER 4
MIXING AND EDITING TEARS OF THE BLACK
TIGER
When mixing Tears of the Black Tiger, I had the 1960s spaghetti westerns
of Sergio Leone in mind. Still, since the film was also a parody of the old 60s
Thai action films, I wanted to keep the cheesiness factor as well. I tried to keep
things tastefully exaggerated.
The film was mixed in surround at 48KHz and 24-bits. Since I would
only have one music track and two dialog tracks, I did not feel a need to do any
stems. I also did not do any stems because I knew no one else would be mixing on
the film nor would it be commercially released in foreign languages. During the
early stages of mixing the film I did not do much as far as assigning certain
sounds to specific tracks. I had two tracks for dialog, one track for music, one
LFE track and six tracks for rain and nature sounds. The rest of the tracks were
simply labeled effects, and I put any cut sound effects anywhere I wanted
within the effects tracks.
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Music Sessions
I decided to edit the music in a separate session. This allowed me to use
Computer Lab 281 while I mixed music and save my KC 146 time for mixing the
main session. I chose to use real recordings of music from other films and edit
them to fit my film. I chose to do this instead of compose my own music for two
reasons. First, composing music is not a skill I possess nor is it a field Im
interested in. Second, I do not have the equipment to create music that wouldnt
sound cheap. Since I was an amateur at sound designing films, I felt
professionally recorded music would enhance the quality of my sound design. I
was able to use the music under the fair-use copyright law since my portfolio
would only be used for educational purposes and as a demo.
All of the music of the film was taken from two albums. The first was the
Best of Godzilla 1954-1975: Original Film Soundtrack, and Once Upon a Time in
the West. Both soundtracks were recorded in the 60s and were representative of
the feel I was going for when mixing the film. The majority of the music for the
film was taken from the Once Upon a Time in the West soundtrack. The music
was composed by Ennio Morricone who was a composer of many of the
soundtracks of famous spaghetti westerns. I used his music mostly because it had
71


the musical sounds associated with spaghetti westerns. The music from the Best of
Godzilla 1954-1975: Original Film Soundtrack was composed by various artists.
I used music from this album mostly for the fast-action parts of the film. Since the
action of the film was over-the-top and exaggerated, the Godzilla music (which
was equally exaggerated to fit the Godzilla films) was a nice fit. While the two
scores contrasted each other musically, they had some similarities. They were
both orchestral tracks and they were all recorded around the same timeframe.
This gave the recordings a similar feel. I did not have to worry about editing one
piece of music into another because the scenes were cut in such a way that there
were moments of musical silence before the next music cue.
I did not have to do much serious editing when cutting the music to
picture. Most of it was just cutting the section I needed and fading it in and out.
The only serious editing I did involved the section of the scene in which the Hero
slowly walks into a room, fires his gun and the bullet ricochets around the room
until it hits a henchman behind a column. At that point the music does an
orchestra hits twice and goes into a blaring horn section. I edited the music so the
orchestra hit repeated five times and stopped when the Hero shot his gun. The
music stops and the blaring horns section comes back in during the close-ups of
the ricochets. Since 1 was not able to stop the orchestra hits at the exact time the
hero shot his gun, I bussed the music to an aux track and placed a reverb on the
72


aux track. When the music stopped, the reverb tail trailed over to the gun shot.
The final thing I did to the music was remove everything below 50 Hz. This got
rid of the noise in the music track. I also decorrelated the music in the surrounds. I
placed the right front music track in the left surround and left front music track in
the right surround. This gave the music a fuller sound.
Importing Foley
After recording all the Foley I needed, 1 made composite tracks of all the
takes and separately bounced each track in mono at 48 KHz, 24-bits. My small
waveforms gave me a hard time when it came time to mix the Foley with the
music and cut effects. I had to raise the gain of the majority of the Foley by 6 to
12 dB. Even after raising the gain I had to push the levels up as far as they could
g-
Mixing Footsteps
After raising the levels of the footsteps, I had a few footsteps that were out
of sync. After syncing footsteps, I automated the levels so they would lower and
raise as the character moved closer and further away from the screen. I would also
73


automate high-pass and low-pass filters to add and remove low-mid and low
frequencies as the characters move closer or further away from the screen.
Mixing Dialog
While there are two dialog tracks, the only track that had actual
ADR is the first track. The second track only contained groan and yelling sounds
that were added from sound libraries. For the dialog I recorded, I removed
everything below 500 Hz. At the time, I felt my voice was too deep and I wanted
to get rid of the lower frequencies. There were two perspectives that were shown
during the scene in which the second male lead was talking: a close-up and a wide
shot. I set a high-pass filter to remove everything below 90Hz by 12 dB. I then
automated the filters master bypass to turn on during the close perspective and to
turn off during the far perspective. The removal of the lower frequencies made the
dialog seem further away during the wide shot.
74


Figure 4.1 HERO 2 CLOSE-UP
Figure 4.2 HERO 2 WIDE SHOT
75


I put some reverb on the dialog to give it some space. I used the Dverb
plug-in that comes with Pro-Tools. I used the ambient algorithm and set it to
large. I gave the reverb a pre-delay of 7ms and set 100% diffusion. This was to
give the dialog space, but still feel like Hero 2 was speaking from outdoors. I
adjusted the rest of the plug-in settings to what I felt sounded best. I gave the
reverb a 33% mix. Later in the film, Hero 2 is talking to a fallen henchman before
he shoots him. During this scene I bussed the dialog to the aux track that
contained the reverb made specifically for that room. This let the reverb of Hero
2s voice return in the surrounds.
Mixing the Guns
When mixing the guns I tried to mimic as close as possible the gun sounds
of the Sergio Leone films. Unfortunately, I only had three gun sounds that were
similar to the ones used in spaghetti westerns. One sound was called Old West
Gun while a second one was called Old West Pistol. The final was generically
titled gun shot and it was a series of gunshots mixed together unlike the first two
that were single gunshot sounds. All three sounds were in 16-bits, 44.1 KHz, and
in each gun sound everything above 6 KHz seemed to be reduced. I decided to
take the first two gun sounds and use them as the foundation for new gun sounds.
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I would take each Old West gun sound and supplement them with cannon
sounds or modern pistol sounds (at lower levels and faded out sooner, add reverb,
etc.) to make them sound more full and exaggerated. Once I was content with the
blended gunshots, I would bounce them in mono at 24-bits, 48 KHz. Hero 1 and
Hero 2 had gunshot sounds that were made specifically for each character. I also
mixed a different gunshot for times when guns were shot in slow motion. I did not
have any tracks that were specifically made for gunshots. Still, I mixed the
session in a way that many of the gunshots were on tracks that were near each
other. I placed a compressor on these tracks and automated the master bypass of
the plug-in. I automated the plug-in to turn on for gunshots that clipped or
distorted and turn off for sections that had no distortion.
Table 4.1 Gunshot Compressor
Gain
+0.1 dB
Threshold
-31dB
Ratio
3:1
Attack
.10ms
Release
20ms
Knee
80
77


The final pair of gunshots comes from Hero 2s guns. From a story
perspective it would actually be considered one gunshot, since the same gunshot
is shown twice. Since I had to place the effect twice, I consider it the last two
gunshots. The video of the final scene with the gunshots is edit in a way that the
gunshot sounds had to overlap each other. The problem was that the gunshots did
not sound like two distinct gunshots, but were sounding more like one blended
gunshot.

^flotr* qun 1963:07.6 1963:10.2 6- *9 3
Jtofw qun 6- J963 07.69 1963:10.23

Figure 4.3 FINAL GUNSHOTS WAVE FORMS
I used a different compression on the first waveform and hastened its fade-
out. This allowed the last gunshot to overpower the first one, making the scene
sound like two distinct shots.
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Table 4.2 Final Gunshot Compressor
SETTING VALUE
Gain -3.7 dB
Threshold -23.8 dB
Ratio 1.75:1
Attack ,87ms
Release 41ms
Knee 80
Environments
The environment of the film came in two forms: the rain outdoor
and rooms indoors. For the rain I had two main sound effects: Rain on Foliage
and Rain Heavy. These were the only rain sounds I had that were continuous
with no noticeable changes. Originally, I only had the Rain on Foliage sound as
my base rain sound effect. This sound was too poppy for my taste. I took the 7-
band EQ and reduced everything above 3.28 KHz by around 12 dB. I then
compressed the rain using a threshold of -3 ldB and a ratio of 4 to 1.1 had a
medium attack and a slow release. This made some of the pops in the rain closer
to the sound I wanted.
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Table 4.3 Rain Compressor
Gain
-2.8 dB
Threshold
-31 dB
Ratio
4:1
Attack
11 ms
Release
50 ms
Knee
80
Later I acquired the sound effect Rain Heavy. This was a more straight
forward continuous rain that had no poppy foliage sounds. I chose to use both the
Rain Heavy and the Rain on Foliage sound effects as my base rain effects. I
used Rain Heavy more when there were no houses or gazebos present in the
scene. The Rain on Foliage was used when the scene took place in the gazebo
or near the farmhouse. To blend the Rain Heavy sound with the Rain on
Foliage sound I placed them under the same compressor. I also used a low-pass
filter and cut everything above 5.42 KHz. This basically made the two rain effects
sound the same. The only difference after the adjustment was that one effect
sounded like rain while the other effect sounded like the exact same rain hitting
something. I mixed those two sounds with rain effects that were short on duration,
but had lighting and thunder effects. I also would add a Rain on Water sound
80


effect for the gazebo scenes, since you could see the rain hitting the water. These
extra rain effects blended right in with the base rain sounds. During the second
scene at the gazebo, I also added wind sounds and an outdoor ambience during
the wide-shot. There were six tracks made exclusively for rain (including thunder,
lighting etc.). Five of the tracks sent the rain to the front speaker while the sixth
went directly to the surrounds. There was also an aux track that decorrelated the
rain into the surrounds.
There were two rooms in the film where action took place. I gave each
room its own reverb which returned to the surrounds. I also had a reverb for the
hallway Hero 1 was in before he entered Room 1.
Table 4.4 Reverb Room 1
Algorithm
Size
Room 1
Large
Diffusion
Decay
76%
610 ms
13 ms
Pre-delay
HF Cut
LP Filter
Mix
9.79 KHz
Off
100%
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Table 4.5 Reverb Room 2
SETTING VALUE
Algorithm
Size
Diffusion
Decay
Pre-delay
HF Cut
LP Filter
Mix
Room 1
Medium
68%
656 ms
16 ms
off
13.15 KHz
100%
Table 4.6 Reverb Hallway
SETTING
Algorithm
Size
Diffusion
Decay
Pre-delay
HF Cut
LP Filter
M ix
VALUE
Hall
Medium
62%
2.6 ms
5 ms
15.10 KHz
off
100%
The Ricochet Scene
The ricochet scene is the scene where Hero 1 slowly walks into a room
(after shooting three henchmen) and shoots his gun. The bullet hits an oil lamp
82


and proceeds to ricochet around the room finally hitting a henchman, who is
hiding behind a column, in the head. The action is shown from a wide shot. The
scene then stops, plays some graphics in Thai which roughly translate to did you
catch that? Lets see it again! The gunshot is shown again, but this time the
camera focuses on each ricochet and cuts to the bullets perspective as it closes in
to the henchmans head. The scene ends with the henchmans brains being
splattered over a mirror and his body sliding lifelessly to the floor.
Figure 4.4 RICOCHET SCENE WIDE SHOT
For this scene I found four different ricochet sounds. The bullet in the
scene ricochets seven different times. For the wide shot I selected and placed one
83


of the four ricochet sounds for each ricochet that occurred. I added a bullet wound
sound and a short scream for when the bullet reaches the henchman. Finally, I
placed my body sliding off the door Foley cue to finish the wide shot of the
scene. When the scene cuts to the ricochets again, I used one of the heavier, fuller
sounding gunshots that I mixed for the film. As the scene cuts to the close ups of
the bullet ricochets, 1 placed the ricochet sounds in the same order that I used for
the wide shots. I then imported the sounds of a token hitting various metal items
that were recorded at Freds house. I also imported a cut effect of a metal impact
that was similar to but more hollow, than most of the impacts I recorded at Freds
house. I then mixed the metal sounds with the ricochet sounds. If the bullet hit
solid metal, I used a solid metal sound. If the bullet hit something more hollow I
used a more hollow metal impact sound. For added emphasis, I took a jet flyby
and cut the second half of the sound that involve the jet flying away from the mic.
I placed the jet flyby in-between the ricochets and time-shifted each one so they
would match the camera zooms and end at the ricochet of the item the camera was
zooming on. I used a scream that was pitch-shifted lower and time-shifted longer
to give the henchmans scream a slow motion effect. The final brain splatter was
supplied by the paper towel egg yolk Foley cues, as was the henchmans sliding
off the column.
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Figure 4.5 RICOCHET CLOSE-UP
Figure 4.6 HENCHMAN CLOSE-UP
85


The Ceiling Drop Scene
The Ceiling drop scene takes place during the second action set. The two
male leads bust into the room. They begin to walk around the room looking for
henchmen. Hero 1 notices drops of water landing on his hat. He looks up to see a
hole in the ceiling where a gun is coming out of. He pushes Hero 2 into some
sandbags and begins to shoot at the ceiling. When the ceiling becomes too weak
from the bullets and weight of the henchman, it breaks and the henchman falls to
the ground. The door kick was recorded in the studio and footsteps were all Foley
cues. For the water drops I mixed a cut effect of water drops with the water drops
I recorded. The cut water drop effects added the wetness I needed while the
recorded water drops added the impact.
I had already recorded a Foley cue for the shoulder push. Since it was in
slow motion, I wanted to add an echo effect. Unfortunately, I had no echo plug-
ins. Instead I copied the push in and pasted it into another track. I used audiosuite
to place a reverb with infinite decay and an ambient algorithm on the waveform. I
made sure to highlight past the waveform into the empty track space behind it.
When I hit proceed, the audiosuite plug-in created a new waveform that had the
non-decaying reverb tail in the empty track space. I then faded the reverb tail out
86


to my taste. The effect sounded like the old slow motion effects of the 80s and
early 90s but much faster. It was not the exact sound I wanted, but it was close
enough.
I mixed most of the sound of the ceiling collapse in a separate session. In
fact, I mixed the ceiling collapse in the same session I mixed the guns. I started
out by blending various wood creaking sounds. Slowly, I started blending in wood
breaking sounds. I added two final wood crashing sounds for when the henchman
falls onto the floor. One sound was for when the henchmans upper body broke
through the ceiling and the second for when the lower body breaks through. The
sounds are placed so close that they bled into one sound. I pitchshifted the final
wood crashes down a bit to closer match the sound I felt the ceiling would make
due to the henchmans body mass. I then bounced the blended sounds as a stereo
track and placed them in the main mixing session. I blended the stereo track with
the gunshot and wood hits that were taking place at the same time as the wood
creaks and breaks. The body drop was already placed during the Foley session; I
only had to mix in the sound of wood dropping on wood to complete the effect.
87