Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Urban Endings- On Shoots Other Than Mine

Once the first day of my shoot was over with, it was straight onto helping out on others. My role on all of them was pretty much the same, but I'll list them individually anyway... Despite them only being shot a few weeks ago, in film making terms, that's like a lifetime, and since I'm in the middle of editing the last fiddly bits of mine, it's easier for my mental wellbeing.

Amelie and I had agreed to swap sound roles for our Urban Endings. and hers was my first shot at using the 744T mixer and recorder (otherwise known as "Graeme's kit"). I's met with Graeme to get some notes but hadn't actually got to use the kit practically. There were some initial problems with no sound coming through the cans, but I just switched the side they were plugged in to and everything was fine. There was no dialogue on the first day so I was just capturing atmos to make sure the takes synced up with the video, so there wasn't too much for me to try and keep up with. The biggest obstacle was the lack of space in the tiny shed-come-artists' studio, and the shots were quite complicated and involved reflections in mirrors, so I had to fit myself around this without getting in the way. Admittedly I did have to phone Graeme in a panic when nothing came through and everything was really quiet, but thankfully he managed to help and everything was resolved... I just had to turn the levels up as they sounded like they were recording quietly, which left me with a bit of a migraine at the end of the day... I hope this means it was resolved though!
The second day was much of the same, except we had baby chicks and a cat to pick up too. The chicks were no problem- I just recorded them chirping in their box. As soon as I put the boom mic in, they clustered around it and I found it really easy to record (as well as finding it totally cute). The cat was a bigger problem. For a start, it wouldn't move when we wanted it to, so I just had to keep following it, and even then it didn't make any noise when it walked. To make up for this, I thought ahead and recorded the sound of its tail wagging (do cats wag their tails? I'm a dog person, I talk in dog terms). I managed to record the dialogue we needed as well as some wild track, despite being in close proximity to Glasgow airport... those planes take a long time to get out of the way!

Lucy's shoot was always going to be a tricky one for me. For a start, we weren't using the 744T (which I'd also used on Julie Dunn's shoot in between Amelie's and this). Instead, I was using the SQN Mini which I didn't feel as comfortable with. There was no separate recorder where I could see tracks as they were being recorded, and we were outside, in the forest, in the middle of the night. For whatever reason, I couldn't get a sound feed coming through but this was resolved in the morning... there were alot of cables and attachments to untangle and connect and re-connect to try and sort it out but it was resolved in the morning- we even managed to pick up wild track as well as a lengthy monologue (which was killer on my arms but a brilliant test of endurance). Everything seemed to have gone well until Lucy came to edit and we found out there wasn't any sound- and no explanation for where it went. It sounded as though it was coming through OK, everything looked as though it was working, but somehow there was nothing on the video. The film was shot on a 7D, which meant I had to connect the mixer directly into the camera, and so I'm not entirely sure about what went wrong. I was really disappointed, as I felt as though I'd let her down as well as shown myself up for not knowing what to do. Thankfully she managed to dub it in time, although I'm still unsure as to what happened in the first place.

Scott's shoot was in a farmhouse-type bulding off of a country road, which was initially dodgy for traffic noise, but I was back using the 744T and felt more confident about it after my knock during Lucy's shoot. Again, there was little to no dialogue, but there was fire... a pretty big fire, actually. It sounded really good, all crackly and I could even hear the wood and fake 'money' burning, which for me meant I was doing well. The only problem was that to get this sound I had to stand really close to the fire. It was contained to a bin and we had extinguishers and water at hand, but my God was it WARM. I'd had to put the wind guard on the boom as it was outside and there was traffic, but I kept getting paranoid that I was going to singe it in getting the sound I needed. Once we moved inside, all was well, and I was just recording movement etc, which I think I done well in getting.
I wasn't taking any chances this time around though, and made sure that I listened to the playback of each take, to ensure I'd gotten everything and I'd recorded what I needed. Thankfully it was all there, named and everything... phew!

I feel like I've grown alot in confidence at using the sound kit (well, the BIG one anyway). I was proud of myself when it worked, once I'd gotten over the problems with sound levels etc. It was tricky to boom op and keep an eye on levels at the same time but thankfully the minimal dialogue in each script made this alot easier for me. In saying that, since I was only doing sound roles, I felt like once I;d managed to do one, there wasn't too much of a challenge on others. Unlike, say, camera, where every shoot is different, the role of sound recording was pretty much the same on each shoot, so I don't feel I got to test myself very much. I still enjoyed it though, and it was nice to feel like I was good at doing something for a change (again, aside from Lucy's shoot). Overall it's an area I enjoyed working on... and after the initial crippling shoulder pain, my upper arm strength has improved no end!

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