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Diary 11: Production nuggets

May 15, 2017

I'll talk a bit about the production processes and give a few examples of what I did.


After testing many different sound sources, I narrowed that number down. Limiting the sound sources helped keeping a clear goal and efficiency in the production, but also sparked creativity, as this required a deeper look into the few sources. Limiting the search and use of sounds can feel restrictive, but still desirable. This mentality in scoring is supported by Trent Reznor, who explained in the interview with Brian Brooks that he needs to limit his options to spark creativity, fresh sounds and maintains efficiency (Film Society of Lincoln Center 2014). 



Breaking the audio and using picture as a sound source:


As one of the themes of the film revolves around.. well.. a glitch, I explored different ways of integrating broken, transformed and malfunctioning things.


Using the picture as a sound source was one of the concepts I found interesting, so I took a screencapture of the scene and imported it to Audacity as RAW-data. Different sounds can be explored by changing the importing settings. Mostly it sounds like speaker-and ear splitting white noise and other noise that has an amplitude like a tower in Dubai, but with patience and perhaps by printing some effects on the waveform with Audacity tools, you can get some pretty interesting sounds.


Because the film is not out yet and the pictures of the scenes I used as source are not visible in the trailer, I wont be able to share it here.


Here you can see the waveform and how unhealthy it looks like in Audacity: 


A lot of the glitches represented a thin line between whether they are sound design or music. Even though I did not do any sound design specifically, sometimes the music would be quite transparent or very apparent, but not necessarily that musical. Some of the sounds are really ear twitching, but that was the aim and the purpose of these sounds; to make the viewer embody the painful sound and really feel it. The director was emphasising how he wanted to leave these sounds really loud as well, to convey the aforementioned. Of course ethical considerations needed to be thought of, as we do not want to actually hurt anyone. 


Here's a video in which I demonstrate how I played in the synths in the last track of the film. This video show's one of the layers in that piece. After creating a multi-instrument in Ableton, I used Push 2 to play it, as I like to play things in and record in real time:



The source is a clip from the Juno-60, used with some distortion with the Fab Filter Saturn-plugin.


To demonstrate the theme variating in the score, I made this video, in which the theme of an angry guy called Malcolm is developed through the score:


 You can hear, that key sounds are being introduced in every section, but they are slightly transformed by EQ:ing them with Fab Filter Pro Q 2, using the clip view in Ableton and the quantising systems in that and/or different spatial placements. The spatialisation is reflecting on what is happening on the screen, to make the music fit in the frame and participate in the narrative. The first section is close to the character, very much in his mind and the sounds are very prominent and aggressive. The second section includes the Moog Mother 32 sounds and Juno-60 sounds to suggest continuity it within the different scenes. The perception of depth is greater, as we are now looking at the same emotional content from a more distant perspective, where the character is conveying this emotion to other people. Thus, the emotion is externalised and further away. 


Another central theme in the film was inspired by minimal techniques of layering parts of instruments on top of each other, while they play almost the same content but with variation of tempo or pattern. This creates an illusion of a' wall of sound' if you like. You can hear this effect in Terry Rileys piece called in C. There could be an endless amount of these layers depending on how distinguished you want to result sound like.





The string piece, which I recorded with the quartet, was inspired by Nils Frahm and the way he uses the piano in creating endless patterns. He plays the same notes like an arpeggiator, perfectly in time, but the tonality of the sound variates with every hit. This can be heard on his track 'Kept' from the album Felt. 


Here is the sheet music:



In an earlier post I mentioned that Tess Tyler checked the notation and gave tips how to improve the sheet music:




To make the score flow through the film in a supportive manner, I aimed to switch between the diegetic and the non-diegetic styles. For example, a character is listening to music and dancing vigorously. The music is dry and as it is, but when she is interrupted, the music fades into the room and we are back in the diegetic world. I did this with Ocean Ways studio plugins by UAD, and Max4Live Convolution reverb.




Film Society of Lincoln Center. (2014). The Close-Up: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on Collaboration, David Fincher, and 'Gone Girl' | Film Society of Lincoln Center. [online] Available at: https://www.filmlinc.org/daily/trent-reznor-atticus-ross-gone-girl-soundtrack-david-fincher/ [Accessed 15 May 2017].

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