Free Design File, No Date
This week we our problem was on Audio. We’ve learnt about off-screen and how it is being used in an example to analyse the different sounds and see how they are used. We were then told to do a small audio project which involved to record the sentences from a kid’s story called ‘The Three Goats’. This was focusing us more on the audio than the visuals as this week we are doing about Audio.
Problems of recording sound
When we record something, there could be potential problems. Here are some of the problems as follows:
- Background Noise – Having background noises can be really annoying, especially when you want to record something specific. When you listen to it after recording, you will hear that Ambient sound, which will distract you completely, so to solve this problem, you would have to record it using a different polar pattern if you use the wrong one or you would have to record it somewhere silent.
- Levels being too low or too high – If the levels are too high, the sound could become distorted or muffled. This can be really annoying when you listen to it, you would hear those crackling noises very often. If the levels are too low, the sound will be too quiet, meaning that you are not able to hear anything. So you have to make sure the levels are at -12db so that the sound is correct.
- Placement Issues – When recording, it can be too far or too close. The sound could become distorted or muffled if the microphone is positioned too close to the person talking. If it is too far, the sound will not be loud enough, and it would force people to increase the volume when listening to someone talking. So adjusting it to the right position is very essential.
- Choosing the wrong Microphone with the wrong Polar Pattern– There are many types of Polar Patterns in all microphones. There are many types from Omnidirectional to Cardioid to Shotgun. Each Polar Pattern has a purpose depending on how it is being used. If you need a microphone to record the ambient sound. Then one with an Omnidirectional pattern will be extremely efficient to get all the sounds that are around you. These could be used in forests or landscapes where you want the sound of nature. If you want to focus on a person but to have some kind of background sound behind, then a microphone with a Cardioid polar pattern will work. Not only you will hear the subject you record in front, but you will also hear a vague sound in the background to add an effect to the scene you are doing for example. As a last example, if you wanted a microphone where you only want to hear one person and to cancel out the ambient sound, then the shotgun polar pattern is the best. When you listen back to the audio after using this, you will hopefully notice that even if there was background noise while you recorded, you will barely notice as the polar pattern points at one specific thing only. So if you record something specific for example, and that accidentally you use a microphone with a omnidirectional polar pattern, then it means that you must have probably chose the wrong one.
Problems I had in other practical work
When we did our slating task for our practical work, one of the problems which I had, was adjusting the levels. I have done all the recordings without actually checking that the levels were right. Even though if I did, I have put the levels too high which caused the sound when listening to it to be turn out too good. The 2nd problem in this is the position of the microphone. I tried to not place it in the frame as we were filming each type of slating, which could have been the problem to why the sound didn’t turn out good. Because I was too far from where Kyle was talking, as he was the person saying the type of slating, this is what caused the sound to become really quiet, which forced us to increase the volume.
Off Screen Sound
Off screen sound is when there is sound which you see and hear visually, you listen to it.The example we have watched was one person doing and saying different things while there was ambient sound which was not on the screen.
LIFTOFF – #4: Off-Screen Sounds – NYU Sight & Sound: Filmmaking, (Harvey Kingsley-Elton, 2016)
In this example, we first watched the video with visuals as well as listening to the sounds. We saw that there was Foley sound being used, especially when the boy was typing on his laptop and when he closed the computer.
We visually saw that he was typing and closing the computer, so Foley was clearly used in this.
The other sounds that we heard but were not seen was the ambient sound, which is also known as ‘Off Screen Sound’, meaning that we can’t visualise it. These were:
- Headphones Music
- Muffled sound from people talking or arguing in the background
- Ambient Sound
In each muffle sound, Neil’s emotions changes. Then there is a different Off screen sound to tell the audience what is happening. The sound is being used off-screen to tell the audience how people feel about Neil. It also gives clues where the thoughts are when you listen to them.
We then listened to it a second time without the visuals and I did hear things which I didn’t in the first time watching it:
- The typing sound of the computer is nog actually there, so Foley sound is use to so that we know that he is typing.
- There was a sound effect of when was cut off and instead we heard the people talking around him
- The computer closing
- Footsteps of people walking
Ny Dam Prints, No date
The practical task of this week, based on the story of ‘The Three Goats’ was to record the sentences which were highlighted on the paper. As well as recording that, we had to record sound effects that would link to the action that are happening within the story. Before we did the practical, we had to answer a few questions to think of the ways we can record the audios in the best way possible.
As we worked as a group, all of the people in my group used the same sounds and text recorded. Before we went out to record our things, we had to make sure that the levels were correct. So that when we record what we need, we know that our audios will be good enough for when we listen to it. Once we’ve done one location we went onto the next one to do the recordings needed for a particular part of the story so that it fits in.
What are the potential Problems and what were the problems?
The potential problems of this task could be the background noises. There could be noises which we do not want to be picked up, so we would have to use a microphone that is suitable for not picking any sounds other than what we actually need.
When we did the practical, one of the problems was the find the right location where we could record the sound we needed. it was quite hard at the beginning, but after a few minutes of finding it, we still had to think about how to do the walk of a goat, the sound of a troll and over sounds and voices. By the end, we did manage to record everything we needed correctly.
How did you get the sounds that you need for the task?
We would have to find good locations within the college that are suitable to record the sound needed for each action. For example if I wanted the sound of a goat walking, then I would have to choose and make the sound of a goat walking that sounds close to what I need. However, for more complex sounds like nature, it is possible to record the sound, but because we are in a college, there isn’t a place with loads of trees or birds which would be suitable to record it. So the best place to find this sound would be on the internet itself. There are websites where sounds are downloadable. Freesound.org for example is a good website where you can find the sound you need.
Freesound, No Date
Troll Voice shout – This was a very difficult sound to get as no one knew how to do a troll voice. Everyone tested to see if their troll voice was good enough, but it didn’t sound too good. So we thought of asking Reece to do the troll voice shouting for when he first appears. When I went onto the editing, I thought it sounded really well just after the first narration paragraph when the troll first appeared.
Goat shout – To get a goat shout, we thought of asking Sara for it. Because she is good at making sheep sounds, so we thought of asking her for the goat sound and he is terrified after the Troll said that he will eat them. It worked pretty well on it.
Goat walking – To get a goat walking, we asked Rhiana to help us with it. Because goat sometimes stomps when walking, we thought of asking her for it. It worked really well in the final product, as the goat was ‘trip trapping’ on the bridge.
Ambient Sound* – The ambient sound for me was really important to make people feel as if they were there for real. Because they are on a bridge where there is a river under it. So because there was flowing river with a bridge near college of course. I had to download it of the internet. Although I didn’t choose just any random river flowing noises, I had to choose one which would fit with the story. So I thought of choosing a river flowing un the bridge sound effect that is calm, with birds whistling from time to time, to really get a feel in people’s mind that they are outside in the same place the goats are.
Narration – We needed someone to do the narration. We thought Kai would be the one doing it as his voice is clear, so people can understand what he is saying.
Dialogue – We had to record the dialogue between the goat and the troll. Because we did not have any voice actors, we had to do that entirely ourselves. The recording was done in a quiet place so that no background noise was picked up.
Running* – This was another one which was needed to be downloaded on the internet. Although we did record running in the practical, I thought that it would not work, so the only way to get running sound that is near to a goat running, I chose a running sound that would fit in. When watching my final production, it worked really well, with the narration and the background music.
(The ones with a * are those that were unable, to be recorded was done by finding them on the internet)
What are the best Methods to record my sound?
The best methods to record my sound is when there is no one around and in a location which will help us to do the sounds we need to record. So we would have to find a location which is relatively quiet in order for us to do the recordings needed without disruption.
What are the best tools for the tasks?
The best tools for the task is to use a shotgun microphone. This means that the noise behind will be cancelled out and that it will mostly focus on the person who is making the noise or the person who is talking. The microphone we used was a RØDE VideoMic, which is normally used when filming. But for our audio, we only used the microphone as it had a shotgun polar pattern, which was very useful for me and the rest of my group to use to reduce the ambient sound whilst recording.
Overall the final production turned out how I wanted it to be. There are 1 or 2 things which I think I would change in this in the future.
The things that went right was that in the editing, I was able to link the actions of what was being said using the sound effects to the narrations. For example, towards the end when the Troll fell into the river, I wanted to add a sound effect that would feel like he has fell into the river. If I didn’t add it, it would not have sounded realistic. The ambient sound of the river under the bridge was for me a very important part of the re-creation of the story because it will make people think in their minds of an outdoor place where a river is flowing. So they could picture it in their heads of the location these characters are in. We were shown a few new things on Avid that we could use for our audio project. I was able to use multiplie tracks so that it when I add an audio onto the timeline, it does not remove the other audios on that same track. The other things which I have learnt was how to increase or reduce the volumes of a particular sound or music.
I had to go on the middle button next to where it says S and M. Once I clicked it, it would give me options: ‘Clip Gain’, ‘Volume’ and ‘Pan’. I have to click on clip gain. Then on the track there will be a little symbol which appears on the bottom left, I can adjust the dB level. For the narration and speeches for example, I decided to put it to the maximum level so that people can hear what is being said. The problem which I had with this is that when I listen to the whole thing with my earphones or headphones, it works perfectly, you can hear everything. But when you listen to it openly, you can’t hear the narration. The reason for this is probably because I did not adjust the volumes for when the narrator talks, but I thought there would be no need as I could hear perfectly. But it was a mistake to not have done it, so the next time if I have a narration, I will make sure that the volume is loud enough.
For the ambient sound which was the sound of the river and birds whistling as well as the soundtracks which I have used, I had to lower the dB levels to make sure that the text is being heard, but that in the background you can still hear the music and the sound of nature to make people feel and think that it is happening outside.
The sound effects which were recorded and those which I downloaded off the internet, had to be louder than the ambient sound and music, but a bit more quieter than when the narration and speeches are being said for the exact same reason as the text above.
The other very small problem while editing was the keyframes. I tried to add them onto the last parts of the audio project, but I struggled with it even when I asked for help. Which is why I had to keep the sad music at the end low throughout because I couldn’t add the keyframes onto it. If I was able to add keyframes onto the track, it would have sounded better from my point of view.
After listening to it a few times, I thought that the voices did not match the characters. The troll voice should be more scary and should shout at them rather than saying it quietly. Same process for the goat, but he should be more frightened of that troll, so his voice should not just be a normal voice but has to be scared, so that people know that the goat is scared and that the troll is a frightening figure.
This is my final product, using the sound effects I have recorded and downloaded on the internet. I hope you will enjoy the story:
Billy The Goat, ( LeFrenchBlog, 2017)
In conclusion, I created my own version of the last part of the story, to make it unique.
The things which I would change next time to to make sure that the dialogue is at its maximum dB levels to make sure that people can hear what is being said. For the voices, I would have to make sure that it suits the characters, rather than saying the dialogues normally.
CMS Wiki, No Date: Available at:http://jeanporter.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/THE+3+BILLY+GOATS+GRUFF…photos+%26+images, Accessed on 17/01/2017
Free Design Style, No Date, Available at: http://freedesignfile.com/tag/audio-wave/, Accessed on 17/01/2017
Freesound, No Date, Available at:https://www.freesound.org/, Accessed on 17/01/2017
Harvey Kingsley-Elton,LIFTOFF – #4: Off-Screen Sounds – NYU Sight & Sound: Filmmaking, (2016), Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdoM2v5Gsp8, Accessed on 18/01/2017
LeFrenchBlog, Billy The Goat, (2017), Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJmQ_cLw0kU, Accessed on 18/01/2017
Ny Dam Prints,No date, Available at: http://www.nydamprints.com/goatsgruffweb.jpg, Accessed on 18/01/2017
Premium Beat, 2015, Available at: https://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/audio-keyframing-tips-in-avid-media-composer/, Accessed on 18/01/2017
Rode, 2017, Available at:http://www.rode.com/microphones/videomic, Accessed on 18/01/2017