Reflecting on the Pirates Sound Replacement Project
The finished product.
Looking back on the project I can say that I am relatively happy with how it turn out, I believe Dustin and I worked together well and we managed to produce some really good, high quality sounds. The only thing that I feel a little disappointed about was that we didn't manage to create a musical score for the video which we had planned to do from the start, but more about that later. I already had some experience with working on a post-production project so it was good to do something like that again but this time focus more on recording the sounds instead of using sample libraries.
The most important events in this project were the recordings of the group fight/shout tracks and in depth research for creating some of the more difficult sound designs. The recording of the group fight track went really well and we managed to produce a good and realistic atmosphere from it which was one of the most crucial aspects to get right. We had 2 groups consisting of 4 and 6 people in which Dustin and I participated in both and recorded multiple takes of us all grunting, shouting, and jumping around like maniacs to layer together to create a sense that there were more people in the space than what there was. This worked surprisingly well which was mostly down to getting people in who we knew well and were comfortable with to produce a performance that sounded realistic. Due to the fact that we knew these people so well it was really easy to communicate our creative ideas to them and get them to understand what exactly we wanted from the session. The success of the session shows the importance of being able to trust the people that you get in to help preform on projects and for future projects to always try and get the best people from the start, providing that they are available.
The research that was done for the creating of certain sound designs was an invaluable part of the project and I don't think some of the sounds would be nearly as good as they were if we didn't discover these production techniques. The amount of time we saved in doing this research compared to if we just messed around in the studio trying to blindly work out how to make a glass shatter or ricochet sound allowed us to focus on all of the other sounds that we needed to produce. The small amount of time and effort in took to complete all of the research was well worth it and highlights the benefits of proper planing. On projects that are bigger than the one we undertook having this understanding that research and planning are needed not only to make the outcomes better but to produce results quicker could mean the difference between success and failure. I can personally still do a lot better in this regard because even though I did some good research into certain aspects of the project I could have managed my time better and stuck more to the production plan to make sure everything was completed when it was required to be.
This leads onto the biggest negative and disappointment of the whole project which was the musical score. As I have already mentioned we didn't manage to produce a musical score that left and the end of the project only a few day to either produce one or get someone else to make one for us. Fortunately we were approached by another audio engineer Tom Meo and offered to produce a musical score for us which saved us a lot of stress in regards to producing something ourselves. He managed to give us a good track within a couple of days that fitted the aesthetic of our project but seeing as it was done in a short amount of time it was a little repetitive. In the project plan we had allocated a good few weeks to researching a producing a track ourselves but we neglected to think about it until the last minute. I think this was due to the fact that the musical score was pretty far removed from what both of our natural composing style is and the task seemed incredibly daunting, in hindsight if research was done earlier to get a better understanding how we could approach this task it probably would have seemed less daunting. Also if we had come to the conclusion sooner that we needed to get someone else in to produce the track they would have had more time to complete it and for us to provide feedback to make sure the musical score was as good as it could be. I think the reason why I didn't consider getting someone else to produce the score was from a selfish want to produce everything just between Dustin and I so for future projects I will have to evaluate what can and can't be done more objectively so I can outsource certain tasks earlier to produce a final project I can be completely happy with.
Dustin and I worked well as a team, we both brought ideas to the table and came up with creative ways to produce sounds in the studio together, such as working out ways to hold and rustle materials to make clothing movements that best fit the video, different objects to blend together to make a swinging chandelier sound, and many more things. We both participated in the final mixing session and kept listening to the project from start to finish to make sure everything was done that could be done. Having another person to do this process with not only makes the final product better as we both picked out different aspects of the project that needed more work done to them. It also provides better an environment where we can both evaluate whether changes to the mix are actually improving the quality of the final product just by the fact of more people listening to something increases the chance of hearing things that do and don't work well. This is only really achievable by working with people who's opinion you can trust and you know that they are working towards producing the best end result possible otherwise you are not going to listen to there opinion, at least that's the case for me.
At the end of the day I believe we were successful and reproducing sounds to replicate what was originally done for the Pirates of the Caribbean clip, it was an enjoyable process and I got some good post-production experience. I have learned more about my own work processes and that I shouldn't always try and do things myself even though I might really want to, if I can't do something I need to accept my own weaknesses and get help from other people. I have some improving to do with my time management skills and work ethic in regards to what I mention previously but I think that the work I do produce is of a reasonably good quality I just have to keep refining my craft and keep progressing in the audio industry.