Firstly, I would like to thank my favorite director and cinematographer in the world: Ollie Verschoyle. He linked us up with London production company Duck for their upcoming Hackett advert. This project was different for all the right reasons and it’s something I feel passionately about. We were in talks about sound design and audio post production at the early stages, before the shoot happened. I cannot emphasize enough just how much difference this prior planning makes to the soundtrack. We had conference calls with the producer, director and location sound guy about all aspects of sound; location and audio post. It gave us the chance to discuss the diverse locations, and how the environmental factors of those locations were going to affect achieving good quality sound. We could then go on to plan; securing the correct technical methods for dealing with those factors.
One example of this was how to microphone a canoe for optimum sound on the Thames; the canoe being followed by a motorized boat, swathed with London traffic and underneath a flight path. The short answer was wild track recordings off camera, and a Foley sound session to pick up specific additional details. Not much we could do about the traffic, but with no boat following it allowed us to find the quietest spot and wait for planes to pass overhead. Anything that I couldn’t use then was picked up in Foley sound.
It also gave us all the time to discuss in detail and with foresight how the advert should sound in terms of atmosphere, tone and mood. This then gave us the schedule for how to approach sound design: whether just reality, or more sustained and atmospheric. We discussed the potential for a soundscape approach, using every day sounds, then removing them from their visual cue, embedding them into the music rhythmically. Interesting; but in the end it was reality that we went for.
All these things were made possible because the time was made for pre-planning sound, in order to reach its full potential. A simple concept, but something that needs to happen on every project.
The basis of this experience is going to form my new campaign entitled Sound Ideas. I shall be endeavoring to encourage producer’s, the world over, to inject planning for sound at the beginning of a project so that its not an afterthought.
This is the way forward if we are going to achieve the best results for our soundtracks!