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  • Writer's pictureDorsa Sajedi

Sound Project Reflection

Roles in this project:


Maddy & Tom: sourcing sounds, preparing the Pro Tools session/timeline/sync to the best of their ability

Dorsa: sourcing sounds, fixing up areas of the sync, sound mixing in Pro Tools

Mia: sourcing sounds

Abbie: sourcing sounds


Overall, I feel like this was a good first attempt at Pro Tools, but I definitely have a lot to improve on. Two of the groups in our session had chosen the same video clip as us. This provided me with the opportunity to draw a lot of comparison with my group's piece, and to notice the mistakes I made in the mix, and realise the ideas that I too could have incorporated to make it better.


FEEDBACK


Before beginning, I'd just like to say a thank you to everyone for the feedback. I was feeling quite insecure about the footsteps at the beginning of the sequence (one of the sounds that I had sourced) but several people noted that it sounded very accurate to the piece. This was very helpful (and gratifying), and I hope that the next time I encounter sound it will be a much better experience.


Genre/narrative


The genre we were going for was crime-drama. Our setup was that our protagonist was just accused of committing a crime, and has just lost the one piece of evidence that could support his innocence. Although people picked up on the drama aspect, nobody had guessed crime-drama. Upon reflection, I feel that we could have incorporated a lot more into the mix to accentuate this and to make this clear. Other groups had used elements such as a phone call/voicemail to ease in a voiceover, which I liked and wish that my group had brought in something as such. In the future, I believe if we consider conventions in sound that belong to the genre that we're working on, we could emphasise the mood and tone we desire. Perhaps my group needed to develop our narrative further before moving onto sourcing sounds/deciding what sounds are needed.


Score


What we were going for with the score was a sense of hopelessness - that he's never going to find what he's looking for. But what this also unfortunately did was reduce the intensity, resulting in a bump in the narrative structure and a restriction of build-up with the tension. A lot of comments we got on this was how the choice of the song suggested other genres such as romantic comedy, but that could also just be due to the lack of hints/nods to our genre that we missed out on. Alongside this, it was arguably a little too loud and so somewhat distracting.


Foley


I do believe that our foley was really well-recorded. Abbie sourced the sounds of the rustling of paper and plastic bags while paying mind to picture so it was recorded exactly on sync which was very helpful when doing the mix. We received compliments on these sounds, as she had recorded them from a distance, making the mic positioning 'on point' thus matching it really well to the visuals.


Levels & Panning


Being new to sound mixing as a whole, something I neglected to pay much mind to was the levels. I did pick up on the difference between the first half of the piece and how it goes from being fairly quiet to extremely loud suddenly without any form of build-up. The tracks that were in the first half happened to be quiet, whereas the sounds of the clanging gates, yell, etc. being the complete opposite, but what I should have done was attempted to achieve a balance between the two and to formulate a smooth progression from one to the other. Sadly, what this also resulted in was a reduction in how much you could hear the foley from the plastic bags that I mentioned above.


Other


In regards to the grunting/breathing/yelling sounds, I agree that they sound out of place and don't really match with the character. But I'm aware that Maddy and Tom struggled to find appropriate ones and therefore had to record their own for a few. Because of this, it's unclear as to what genre it is as it almost sounds somewhat comical. On top of that, there was the issue of the transition of the sound between the part from when he walks outside the door. This is because the volume of the rain hasn't properly been mixed, and so it's just confusing in terms of where the microphone has supposedly been placed i.e. inside, or outside. I could have solved this by equalising the rain to make it sound more muffled, etc. Finally, it appears that we forgot to add footsteps when he gets up from the chair to look around the kitchen.


Conclusion


One of my weak points is definitely communication and my need for reassurance. While doing the mix, I noticed a few elements that I didn't quite feel worked, but I struggled to bring that up with my group. Instead, I gave them frequent updates in hopes that they would somehow read my mind and validate my opinion (which, as you can guess, didn't quite work). That aside, I can confirm that my group and I worked well together, and we split the workload fairly/in the most appropriate way that we could. Although I'm on for editing for the next project, I hope to apply these my newly learned skills to projects I work on in the future. I also feel that this new insight on sound mixing and how it all comes together will aid me in providing sufficient feedback for others in the future to ensure we get the most out of what we've got.

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