Getting Deeper into the Post-Production Process

Now that the spotting session had been performed with the editor the process of identifying every sound, dialog issues such as replacement, and where and how long the music would play my team could start adding all of the elements in the soundtrack.

It’s always a good idea to review each scene with everyone, and then decide who would do what. Because this film is over 95 minutes long (a full feature film) we decided to break everything up into 6 sections we call days. I am working with a team of 3 other professionals thru my studio, so each of us would be responsible for a certain amount of days in the film. Because I am the principal composer and music editor, I decided to let the other 3 people on the team perform post-production, foley, and sub-mixing of the entire sound track. I would be working on the scoring of original composition and editing music the director and editor wanted to use. At the end of this week, we will be adding everything together and mixing the final soundtrack.

For those of you who don’t know what foley is, let me explain. Foley performers actually perform the sound effects as they are watching the film. Sometimes known as foley walkers (because oftentimes any footsteps in a film are replaced later) foley performers can get the exact sound and the exact timing to the film. Although there are tons of sound effect libraries in existence today, by the time you acquire the sound, edit it to the picture, and make sure everything is in sync, a foley artist can have the effect in place and sounding perfect. It does take time though.

To keep all of the scenes in sync for each team, I created OMF files of the scenes with all of the existing production sound and dialog. The files could then be imported into Pro Tools 10 (the software all of us are using for this film in our separate studios). Once we finish all of the soundtrack, I will mix everything to the full 95 minute film and merge it with the editor’s original footage.

The film is called The Twelve Lives of Sissy Carlyle and centers around a small ensemble of actors and three principle sets. In order to differentiate between the three sets Sissy’s antique store, her brother’s apartment, and a cafe, we decided to use different types of music to set the atmosphere. The director really liked classical guitar trio for some scenes. As luck would have it, I have worked with a very talented trio called The Atlanta Guitar Trio. In fact, I have done three albums for them. I called the leader of the group, Scott Plato, and he graciously agreed to let us use their music. I will be editing 2-5 minute long pieces of the trio’s music to fit the scenes which are various lengths.

There are other scenes that call for either jazz or blues. I will be working with my longtime colleagues Lee Spivey on guitars and Richard Mills on keyboards and jazz violin. For other scenes I recorded with Dan Marshall on guitar and bass to add a “blues/rock ambience in a long bar scene. (By the way, there’s no oboe in this one. Sorry Dave (LOL).

One of the other team members worked for 40 hours to complete scene 4, and I had already completed all the post and music on scene 1, so we are getting closer. The problem is, everything has to be finished and mixed within eight days. So there is a lot of work still to be done. Tomorrow I am meeting with the director and her assistant to make sure everything is working for the picture. Wish me luck!

As always, thanks for reading.