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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Audio Process

Bismillah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem,

Assalamo Alaykom everybody...

It’s been a while since you guys heard from us and that’s because some things didn’t go according to plan but Alhamdulillah all is set and the movie will be released before April is over.

Before I write about the audio process of this movie I'd like to say, Alhamdulillah that He's giving me the opportunity to work with Ummah Films. It has been a challenge that helped learn a lot about myself, more of the movie industry, and got to know the most amazing team. The best part of it all is that each person is from a different part of the world. It's true; Ummah Films is by the Ummah for the Ummah. This Ummah is united, alhamdulillah...

One thing I've learned being in the audio industry for a good while is that the actual audio for film is taken for granted. Insha’Allah, this movie will show how important it is because it really turned things around.

The program I’ve used was Steinberg’s Nuendo. It’s very similar to ProoTools but the only reason why I use that is because it’s a lot cheaper to get since I don’t need to buy hardware with it in order for the program to work.

As soon as I watch the final edited of the movie, I knew this is going to be a challenge. The audio needed a lot of work because of lack of continuity in sound, the background noise was loud and some scenes didn’t even have sound to begin with... But I’m always up for a good challenge; it’s a door to prove myself in the industry that doesn’t know me yet.

First thing I needed to take care of was the background noise that was too loud. I simply had to EQ the sound. I lowered the hi’s where the hissing sounds are found.

The second thing I had to take care of was the continuity of the sound from one cut to another. One way of doing that is adding atmosphere sound in the background. If the scene is in a park, the atmosphere sound should be a few birds, dogs barking few cars in the background etc… If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to add reused audio in the scene to cover the skipping of the sound. You’ll need to find a perfect cut to use and just copy and paste where it’s suppose to hide the cut. Sometimes you’ll need to time stretch the sound because it might too short and if you just repeat it, you can hear the sound being looped and that’s something totally not acceptable. You’ll also need to make sure that the added sound is cross faded with the rest of the audio of the original sound recorded while filming. It’ll sound smooth.

Last but not least, I worked on the actual Sound Effects (SFX) I didn’t have to put much since the original audio had it all but some had to be emphasized and some needed to be added because it wasn’t there to begin with. I have a decent library (Sony, BBC, Digital Juice, Sound Ideas, the 1000 series and 2 of the 6000 series and some other I’ve been given to me by my former boss back in Syria) but didn’t have everything. In situations like these you’d need to innovate and record SFX yourself. That’s the really fun part. Just record the sound of what you want to use but make sure there isn’t much background noise. The best recording is the one with the purest recording. I then EQed the SFX so it’ll fit in nicely with the rest of the audio.

Some scenes had no sound whatsoever but that isn’t an issue. It’s simply like putting a puzzle together but this is puzzle of sound. Just add the sound of the atmosphere then pay attention to the details of what’s going on and try to put as much SFX making it sound as what you’d hear in reality…

One good way to learn what SFX is needed is while watching movies, concentrate on sound and what’s even better yet, wherever you are in your home or outside, pay attention to the sounds around you… Taking notes helps to keep things fresh in mind…

Insha’Allah, you guys will enjoy the movie as much as we enjoyed making it.

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