A few months back I had finished shooting a short and was dying to see the first edit. When I did lay my eyes on the rough cut, there was no sound (other than a scratch track) and no grading had been done. Sure, I got to see how well (or not so well) the shots cut together, but the film just felt...well...dead. That might sound a little dramatic but hey, I'm trying to make a point here ;) Of course beautiful pictures (especially when matched and graded) will look great and do any film a huge justice, but it wasn't until subsequent edits after that when the film had made it's way into the hands of our wonderful sound recordist and sound designer, Glenn Talyor that I really got excited!
Not only does Glenn record perfect sound, every single time, but he also offers post production services where he works on those recordings and dare I say "grades" them hehe. Upon watching and LISTENING to the latest edit, I was gobsmacked by how ALIVE and engaging the film had become. Not only where the actors voices crisp and clear, but the ambient sounds and music bed behind them were so well refined and balanced that it took me a second watch to really focus, appreciate and take them in. In other words, the sound design was so perfect that all it did was make my visuals look amazing...hehe ;) And of course, complete the film. It's common knowledge that sound is an extremely important component to any film right? Sure, but just HOW important it is never really hit me until that viewing session. It scares me to think that film makers out there don't seem to have the same appreciation for sound, and often find out when it's too late (this has happened on a few films I've worked on....it's awful!).
This new found inspiration got me thinking about the power of sound and its ability to compliment a visual story - or more specifically, how it can COMPLETE a story. In fact, it's such an awesome story telling device, that it can work just as well, on it's own :)
Above is an audio design that I created, recording my own voice and adding/editing/mixing in sound effects to enhance the story. The music is from the game Max Payne, and so is the script (although I just read parts that I liked, completely out of order).
Recording quality sound on set is one thing, but don't forget the power of post! (Sound's like something I'd say regarding a colour grade hehe).
On a side note, you'll very rarely, if ever, see me post any external links on my site, or advertise anything. This is by design of course, because I for one HATE adds. I also like original content and struggle to find it on the internets. That being said, Dolby are currently running a competition which "sounds" really good! With only a week to go, I thought it might be something of interest to people out there since the prizes are great and I'm all about promotion of good sound these days :) Finally, the competition has been EXTENDED TO THE 31st of OCTOBER this year, so there's not long to go!
What are you experiences with sound? Do you have a good relationship with your sound department? I for one feel like I'm doing only half of my job if I don't actually collaborate with people like Glenn. He's also a guy you'll never see without a smile on face...maybe that's because he gets to listen to the conversations on set even when he's seemingly not listening hehe ;)