I had the opportunity to work on a sound replacement exercise for the A Quiet Place 2 trailer & the whole idea was to make my interpretation of the movie through the use of dialogue, foley & sound effects. I also had to look at the audience perspective if they are to watch the trailer and be satisfied & that I found to very absolutely challenging.
The first step I took was muting the audio and just sit looking at the screen whilst the video played and started to imagine what type of sounds that would likely integrate for each scene without being over ambitious. I remember the saying less is more. I then categorised each section by priority making dialogue as first. The dialogue is probably the most important section in this trailer and so the placement of each dialogue I made sure is in sync with the video. There is nothing that is annoying as watching a video which is not in time with the dialogue. I spend more time almost 2 weeks and a half just working on dialogue & surely it has been challenging. Some of it needed some change of pitch to fit in the scene, especially the boy sounded like a minor from the files that had been provided for us. The boy’s voice is more like a young man in his puberty stage as his voice is breaking.
The challenge with dialogue also was the frequency levels and the dynamics that seem to change for example the woman being in the car and she being in the iron tunnel. High to mid frequencies in the vehicle and then the frequency changes once she is in the tunnel. I received some feedback on dropping her frequency range as it was high pitched. I managed to do the man’s voice to fit in the tunnel frequency and the feedback I received was that its a bit drowned with low frequency therefore need to work on it a little bit.
The next step I took was working on the foley which was a lot of work but very interesting with Roy, Clement, Ron and Jo right in the Neve studio. We created things like trip wire, fire, bottles & trolley bangs that would help me in creating tension within the sections of the trailer. I had quite a huge challenge as soon as I received the files a few days later was that the recordings had not been named and so it was a stress to start renaming each audio track. I was time consuming but I figured out that if I had not done it would frustrate me. File management is very important and so the renaming helped on locating and accessing files ensuring an easy workflow. Some of the foley I got it from free sound.org website just to beef up the particular sounds.
After all the foley was recorded I then started placing my dialogue in place and to be in sync with the video. There is nothing worse than watching a trailer or movie with dialogue coming late or earlier than the visual or see them not matching. Within the that process I added my fades why because it is much easier for me to remember than trying to figure out later as the workload increases and played a lot more with the clip gain as it gave me more control over my tracks. I did find clip gain to be more useful other than using automation reason being that I needed much control to know how to balance the music, effects and the dialogue. I cleaned up the dialogue using a 7 band EQ to get rid of low frequencies in the female dialogue and make it nice and tight. The male vocal was rather a challenge to make it match with the tunnel environment.
The next step was to add in sound effects and some Atmos building up on creating intensity. The first scene is the radio and the car moving towards the town. I added car passing effect and car horns from the foley and the most interesting of all was the part were the bus charges towards the female character’s car. I made it by having a huge plane with about 60Hz engine layered with a drill machine with about 2k achieving the rumbling and high pitched sound which I think worked well. Another interesting sound I found interesting was the monster sound crawling from the roof. How I achieved it was using an sm58 microphone making a grow from my mouth and recorded it then then rubbed the microphone and recorded that sound. I layered both sounds then time stretched them in Pro tools. It is my first time to create such as sound and that gave me confidence to do more. Another sound I liked was the bottle trap. How I achieved it was using the the foley of bottles and cans that we had recorded the n layered it with a bang sound from the trolley bang from foley. The trolley bang I put about 60 Hz frequency to give a boom and the bottles a of 1k then added a plate reverb.
After all the editing and mixing was done I knew I had a huge task and that is mastering. The first presentation I totally would say did not impress me at all whilst we were in the S6. Hearing everyone’s work so nice and loud and having mine so low really challenged me. Therefore I went back to the drawing board and the word which Guy Gray kept mentioning was make it loud. It was tough for me as I use headphones as I do not have studio monitors yet. So what I decided to do was to use the volume section on my laptop and lowered it to below half then used the limiter to increase the loudness meanwhile watching how the luffs are behaving so I can achieve the -14. I unliked the threshold and the ceiling and kept adjusting the release. So it became more of an experiment as time was not on my side. I would say pressure made me to work that way and to my surprise yes the final product was pretty loud and I was happy with it.
Overall this was an exciting but nervous wrecking assessment. I do appreciate the fact that it was only a trailer and if it was a full movie that would be crazy. I have learnt a lot from this exercise on how to manage files, workflow and creativity. I hope to improve my skills by collaborating with other disciplines and put in the creativity.