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How Can Sound Editing Transform Production?

It is a filmmaker’s role is to deliver a convincing product that is believable through a reality on screen that viewers can relate to. One way to add realism is through sound. Luckily, adding sound is something we can do during post-production.

Storytelling may start with an idea and a script but sound, if done well, can tell a truly powerful story. Sound involves more than level dialogue and explosions and requires an enormous amount of creativity. A movie's soundtrack is multilayered with dialogue, ADR, sound effects, foley and music and putting it all together is a big job.

Sound editing is the creation, recording, or re-recording of sounds and part of this is foley. Foley is the recreation or creation of sounds unavailable to execute on set. One project that comes to mind was a Zombie film we worked on. There were lots of Zombies in the film and towards the end of the film we had pretty much used all the Zombie sounds we have in our libraries. We had to get really creative and sound design new animal SFX and a mixture of other creature sounds to create a new fresh playlist of Zombie sounds including screams or zombies feasting on a corpse!

Sometimes, the dialogue on set needs to be re-recorded requiring ADR. There are many reasons for this. Getting the timing and pitch just right is essential because, as every actor knows, the slightest difference in the emphasis of a line can alter the scene’s meaning or feeling. In general actors are very good at giving a consistent performance but there are times when projection, pitch and tone are not on point. The solution is to come into a controlled environment and re-record the lines that were inaudible on the location audio. When doing ADR we are often presented with challenges such as mouth clicks or inaudible dialogue. To assist fixing troublesome location recorded audio and to support workflow we have various software plugins at our disposal.

When sound is neglected, even the most beautiful shot can feel off because the aural elements of a scene are missing. Proper sound editing supports the significant storytelling elements. For example, making a location appear silent is not about removing or lowering sounds in already-established audio but, amplifying sounds that wouldn’t be audible with the natural sounds present. When we think about the concept of silence, we imagine the removal of all sound but the more external audible elements you remove from a location, the more apparent quiet details become. You begin to hear the quiet sounds, which were inaudible due to louder noises such as a ticking clock or a creaking floorboard.

Improving the quality of your sound design will effectively enhance the storytelling, transforming the quality of your production


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