AUS220 Week 13 Final Report
This semester has been enjoyable as we have cruised through the three intensives, namely post-production , live sound, and studio production. It has also been challenging in terms of time management as we only have 4 weeks for each intensive before we were expected to deliver a product at the end of each intensive. Here under is an reflective blog of processes that go into making them, as well as what I have learnt and the possible improvements I think I can make.
It has been a very challenging project as we have picked one of the toughest clip to make out of the pool. The biggest challenge is to sound design different gun sounds without recording any real guns and we evidently did a great job. The mix was a dense mix as there are a million things going on with the scene. Gun shots, bullet drops, ricochets, rubbles and food steps happen constantly on the screen. It was a time consuming job spotting everything in and also problematic when it comes to mixing. The principles of working fast and only make big and bold moves that we have learnt in the lesson s are evidently useful whenever I had to do post-production work. Reflecting upon the whole process, we could have improved the mix by not allowing us getting caught up on small flaws. What we could have done instead is to spend more time on mixing creatively and spend more time deciding on the style we want the mix to sound. For example, we had the idea of applying filters during the slow motion scene but we did not apply that mostly because we did not have a solid discussion on the approach and the fact that we did not have much time.
Studio Production (Music)
To sum up this song, it is a quiet trip-hop style ballad with a mix of electronic and modern pop/rock music elements. Our main reference track was Teardrop by Massive Attack, notably aiming for the overall dark trip-hop vibe with ethereal sounding female vocals. Besides Massive Attack, we also be drawn references from other big names in trip-hop such as Portishead with their hit Roads. We are all happy with this direction since our group consist of half of electronic and half of pop/rock musician so we can all contribute and participate throughout the process. I am happy to learn about the drastically different way these our seasoned electronic music artists think of music and also their workflow. The observation I made on the general workflow of making electronic music has led me to reflect on my normal music production process and my obsession on studio techniques, plugins or gears. Maybe next time, instead of stressing and obsessing on nailing particular sounds right, I should focus more on the big picture. Overall for the project though, I am very satisfied with the result and can not come up with anything to improve on in particular.
We have managed to pull off a small intimate jazz/fusion gig at the SAE soundstage with plenty of beer, bean bags and couches. The designated headliner pulled out last minute so we had to go with our two opening acts. With low team morales and little experience, our production plan has a lot of gaps in between but we managed to react and decided quickly and collectively to ensure smooth production. Reflecting upon the failure of delivering a thorough plan on time, I think there are a few things I could have done better and also things we could have done better as a team. In terms of personal reflection, I think I could have been more positive and proactive to encourage the team towards a better product. Knowing my teammate well that they have tendencies of overpromising, I could have tried harder to make sure they deliver their work so I did not have to end up completing the production plan mostly by myself. Designing stage plan, input list, setting up Facebook event page and creating poster are all out of my normal scope and I felt very stressed when I had to step up to deliver all of them on my own. This could have been avoided if I encourage my teammates better and if I had stepped up earlier to take up the leading role when no one else wanted to do it.
Our podcast was about the difference of music scene of Berlin and Melbourne. Since the two cities come close on top as World music cities, we think it would be a good chance for us to look into the different policies or aids that are available for the development of the two music scenes. By comparing between them, we could hopefully gain some insight on why Melbourne is still behind of the game despite having such a vibrant live music scene. For the production process, it has been fairly smooth as the two city governments have done so much work to ensure the development of their music businesses, which in turn provided us with more than enough information to make a 20 minute podcast. We eventually slimmed down the topic into focusing on the aids provided for musician and music venues. Furthermore, with the help of a professional voiceover artists and some informative interviewees, we formulated the podcast with relative ease.
I have worked on quite a few project this trimester and the majority of them fall into the post-production category. One of the project I have worked on is a webisode crime drama that I have documented in previous blogs. However, since the showmaker would want to do another edit and the music still needs to be scored, the project is not released yet. Another project was to record ADR for a featured film. Unfortunately, I have signed an non-disclosure agreement with the production so I cannot disclose the details of the job.
The final post production project I have worked on is fortunately finished and you can check it out with the link above. I have helped editing the audio for this SAE capstone film produced by Ben O’Connor. The film itself is about an Australian professional Esports player of the game Rocket League about his career, the struggles and challenges he faces. The game is essentially like a soccer game, but instead of controlling the ball with your feet, you drive a car and control the ball with the car. As the film features heavily in-game footages of the national qualifiers, my major role in the post production is to put the sound effects in place and to make non-players of the game better understand what is going on about the match. Consider putting in all the ball kicking sounds and footsteps back artificially to a football match you would have the picture of how fiddly and trivial my job is and how time consuming it would be. Since we only have another day before the deadline of submission, I worked until midnight after class and gladly made it to Shay, the main audio engineer of the project to finish the 5.1 mixing of the film. I enjoyed this job a lot although I assume most would find this job tedious and unamusing, just like editing voiceovers, and I am glad my effort has helped the project. The short film is now under a re-editing process before official release, the link of the video will be posted as soon as it is released.
In terms of musical production, I have helped a friend producing and mixing an ambient music track which would be part of an 5 track EP of similar style. This style of music is very much out of my usual scope. Without common parameters such as keys, tempo or time signatures, I have to rely very much on my ears and gut feels during the production process. I have listened through a lot of the legendary music producer and ambient music pioneer Brian Eno, particularly his profound series of ambient albums, namely Ambient 1 to Ambient 4 so I can understand more about this genre. The actual production process was more about breaking away from normal studio routines and try to creatively search inside our brains. Check out the link below to listen to the demo. Since we still have 4 tracks to go before we finish this EP we are open to opinions and ideas.
Perhaps the most important thing I learnt about myself this trimester, apart from all the reflections above, is my new found interest in audio post-production. After the post-production intensive and some freelance work experience, I am certain that this is a career I want to pursue. I also realised I have grown in terms of adaptability and self-confidence, and such observation is made based on the fact that I have managed to do well despite facing quite a lot of accidents over the semester.
Lastly, I would grade my performance of this trimester with an HD, for the fact that I have delivered everything that I am supposed to deliver timely and of good quality. The icing that would earn me an HD on top of a Distinction grade would be the fact that I have publicised all of my work on various platforms that are part of the curriculum, and also actively participated in various freelance work within and without SAE.