A look at audio techniques, Foley, and music tracks I use in my video content, the latter of which is provided by the incredible service artlist.io
Music in filmmaking is critical to the success of your film. Sound and general audio I would argue is 60% of the final cut.
Have you ever gone onto youtube and watched a bad quality video (with good audio ) all the way through? How about a fairly good quality video - but lacking sound or it being heavily distorted? Have you clicked off the bad audio?
Maybe you haven't, but I sure have.
Sound is incredibly important, and chances are you've watched many films, shows and content that have so much sound added to it - without you realising.
Have you seen Terminator 2 ?
Check this :
In this classic scene, we see Sarah Connor running from the Terminator - she thinks he's going to kill her - but have another listen, in amongst all the sounds in there, the bell/gong, screaming and the low score - you can just about make out her footsteps. Listen carefully at around the 00:13 mark.
There's a subtle inclusion of high heels. To those eagle eyed viewers, you'll notice she's actually bare foot. Those high heels make Sarah seem more venerable, and builds tension in the scene.
This is a technique called 'Foley' (Named after sound-effect guru Jack Foley) - in which the production adds sound to the scene after it's been shot - if you've seen any nightclub scene ever in TV / Film, the music track and crowd noises are added in post - this is because if it was all physically in the take, getting clean audio of the characters would be night impossible.
Score is another key ingredient into the filmmaking mix.
Lord of the Rings
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Dark Knight.
These films all have their own unique score that compliments what's happening on screen to deliver more impact and enhance the mood and feel of the film overall.
I was recently commissioned by Premier League football club West Bromwich Albion to create a film for a club legend who had recently passed away, Cyrille Regis. They brought me down to the ground for his memorial service and for a tribute they had pre-game against another club. I wanted this film to really deliver the message of who the man was, and how his legacy effected the word of football being one of the first black players to play for the English national team.
I usually like to shoot mainly b-roll and layer a track for my style of football related content, but there were a lot of speeches which I knew I needed to capture. Unfortunately, I didn't have a direct feed into their desk, so I needed to improvise - I sat to one side - forgetting that it was about 4 Celsius - and cradled my camera with a shotgun mic towards the person or persons speaking, luckily I had a nice PA beside me, so I could dial in the audio levels and capture a nice clean sound.
So I had the speeches sorted, but what about the track?
This isn't a plug for Artlist, but they're my favourite audio track website - there's plenty others available, Premium Beat and Audio Jungle to name a couple.
Artlist.io is a music licensing website, you sign up, listen to the tracks and if you find something you like, boom, download it in MP3 or WAV.
The content on there really is fantastic, I looked for a slow building, emotive track, which was a category super easy to find . I knew it had to be perfect, so I spent a good time trying to fit the perfect score to some of the images I had already to try and see if I could a feel for what I wanted.
I tested and tested, more so than what I'd test for colours and exposure in my camera (is that bad? good?) and came across my perfect track.
I won't bore you with my editing process, but here's the final product:
This video is one of WBA FC's most successful videos. Fans were delighted with how classy it was, honoring Cyrille's legacy with a powerful and emotive video - I'm not going to lie to you, I sobbed while editing this - which for me is a first - but it's reaffirmed why I got into filmmaking in the first place.
My point is, that this video wouldn't nearly have half the impact if neither one of those audio features existed - the emotive score guides your emotions, where the speeches bring a human element which allows you to relate more more, not so much for the club or the subject, but at a deeper human level.
I hope that this small post has opened your eyes to maybe experimenting or taking a little more time to go over the audio content of your films.
Thanks for reading, and as always. Happy Shooting!
Shameless Plug alert:
If by chance you're interested in artlist and what it has to offer, then you can grab 2 free months when subscribing by following my affiliate link below, so check it out! :