Short Film Audio Research
For one of our projects we had to take the short film that we made earlier in the year and then editing the audio to the best of our ability, this would include things such as adding a soundtrack to the film in post or messing around with Noise Reduction to make someone’s voice easier or harder to hear depending on what you want to do for your film. You could also add in sound effects or distort voices so that they don’t sound like they usually do.
For the research part of this project we need to look at various different films and see how the audio has been changed in post. This was so that we could get a better of the work that goes into the film industry that we often don’t notice on the big screen.
One common aspect added to almost all films shown in cinema’s is sound effects. These can range from gunshots to animal sounds, cheering to a Wilhelm scream. On TV and movies, a lot of this can go unnoticed by the audience (aside from the Wilhelm scream, everyone notices that) For example, almost all the cheering heard in the popular TV series ‘Robot Wars’ is actually sound effects that have been added in post.
Noise Reduction is a very important part of audio editing, while plenty of equipment is used on set, such as high quality microphones and Booms, to help reduce the amount of background noise, it can still become an issue, luckily thanks to post process audio editing the background noise can be significantly reduced. They do this by finding a section on an audio track that has an undesirable sound on it, this could be a plane or the wind; what they then do is to highlight this segment of noise and find out what frequency it is playing at. Once that is sorted out they then tell the track to remove sounds at the same or similar frequency. This clears up the audio track and makes it easier to hear the person speaking. However, if not done carefully the editor could end up accidentally deleting some of the actors’ dialogue making him or her harder to hear.
Before technology advanced to a significant level, a lot of sound effects were created with objects that someone could find around the house, bangs and crashes were created using dustbin lids and other metallic objects that would produce a good enough sound when hit. While this is still sometimes used today, it has mostly been replaced with more versatile technology. A famous example of this type of audio use was The War of the Worlds broadcast by Orson Welles, which was apparently so convincing that there were people who literally though that an Alien species was invading the planet Earth. It was so bad that he had to apologise on air because too many people had tuned in mid broadcast and had started to panic. It’s a powerful example of how simple sound effects can be very effective.