SFX, Boom Mics and Podcasts!

I am already feeling the pressure of deadlines as I finish my second week of Trimester 4 2018 and move into week three. This past week I participated in recording the SFX for the Batman trailer project and learned about recording audio on the set of a film. I also developed ideas with my group for a podcast project about Melbourne music.

Recording the SFX for the Batman trailer was fun and extremely rewarding. Feeling the whole thing come together with the simple addition of a few sounds was exciting. I was surprised at how professional the sounds came out despite the actual objects making the sounds being just cheap everyday things. We achieved the bats flapping their wings by vigorously shaking a rubber glove which worked wonders. To top it off we created the little squeaks of the bats by scratching fingernails against a windbreaker jacket. After layering them and adding reverb they came together to produce a very convincing sound of a swarm of bats flapping towards the screen. A few other sounds such as sword and wooden staff strikes were achieved with old bits of wood and metal.

The most challenging part of recording the foley wasn't anything to do with getting the sounds, but actually using the desk in a different way and embracing a different workflow to what you'd normally use in a music recording session. Instead of assigning channels in Pro Tools to different channels on the desk as you would setting up for a mix, everything was just sent to a stereo channel pair and we predominately used the desk's remote functions to control the DAW. I had never used a desk in this way before so it was a little difficult to get my head around initially however it become more natural over time.

We spent the second half of Wednesday's lesson with professional sound recordist (more often inappropriately called sound mixer) Nick Harrington as he gave us a kind of crash course in recording sound on set of a film. It was really interesting learning all the tips and tricks of the trade such as how to properly handle a boom pole, recording to a portable device and concealing a lavalier mic.

The other portion of the week was spent developing ideas for the podcast project. Our group has settled on investigating Melbourne recording studios: their benefits/detriments to Melbourne music, why they are closing down and how easy it is today to just make a record in your bedroom. I think it will be very interesting interviewing people who own recording studios and people who just make their music at home and getting their thoughts on how each method harms or helps the music industry. Is making a record in a studio a dying art? Stay tuned to find out!

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