Case Study

On February 20th I got an e-mail from Matt Ramsay where he agreed to be interviewed by me for my case study. Mr. Ramsay is a Glasgow based staff dubbing mixer for Editworks Scotland.

Matt Ramsay’s homepage

Editworks Scotland 

My own interests within sound design are mainly post production work for both film and television. In my case study I will focus on a dubbing mixers work; what does a dubbing mixer do, what the workflow is like and how to get from the beginning of a project to a finished product. I will start with doing some research and possibly focus on a certain topic. I will discuss this further with Kirsten this week.

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Research for Beyond the Cul-de-Sac

Yes. Gus -> Douglas -> Beyond the Cul-de-Sac. Our film has gone through major title and content changes. So, from now on it shall be referred to as “Beyond the Cul-De-Sac”.

The other crew members had a recce on Monday 2.3. where they focused on production design, camera movements and choreography especially for scene 1. I decided not to join the recce, but to do some research for sound design instead. I am currently taking influences from 2 different films.

BROKEN (2012 dir. Rufus Norris)

– The scene where Susan dies and we can se her dad cry out in despair. All other sounds have been stripped off except of the occasional cries we hear.

– A very effective technique to catch audiences attention and make the scene feel stronger. However, this is used 3 times in the film, which tells that it’s a stylistic choice but also takes away the effect compared to if it was used only once.

– Could possibly be used in the scene where Douglas realises that the party guy has his dog, when all the dogs run out of the garage

Maniac (2012 dir. Franck Khalfoun)

– This film is shot entirely from the main character’s POV. We can only see him when he looks at himself through a mirror, and a couple of times when he commits a murder (split personality, out-of-body experience)

– Since everything happens visually from Frank’s POV, it is also supported in the sound design: we can hear him breathing, a low rumble almost like blood rushing through the ears, objects such as cars are louder when they are closer to him and the stereo experience is enhanced when the car drives by etc.

– Depending on how the script for Beyond the Cul-de-Sac progre progresses, this kind of sound design could definitely be used in scenes where we are inside of Douglas’ head. (For example in the party scene)

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE OPENING SCENE TO MANIAC (headphones recommended)

Skype meeting for Douglas

Notes from a Skype meeting with Lewis, Aaron, Maija, Veronika and me on Thursday 26.2. :

  • Script tutorial with Bita on Tuesday 13:30
  • Performance workshop with Catriona ?? Leon (actor for Douglas) at school, how can it be arranged?
  • Picking up kit 25.3. at 4pm, gives us a few rehearsal days
  • Musicians: give them the new draft of the script and update them on the changes. Later on give them clips and heavily storyboarded scenes for reference
  • Technical recce needs to be arranged!
  • Book Protools 21.-24.4.
  • We are shooting same weekend when we move over to summertime, keep in mind for sunset etc.
  • The mother and creepy guy need to be casted! People from the NUDS to play the party people?
  • Watch Blue Velvet and Broken for reference
  • Recce Monday 2.3.; camera movements in the house + sketches for production design, party house choreography
  • new meeting during the weekend saturday/sunday

Pitching “Douglas”

Our fiction film project has gone through some major changes in the script and the new working title, instead of Gus, is now Douglas. (This is because the main character’s name has changed to Douglas). The story is now basically about a 13 year old boy who has lost his dog. His family is convinced that the dog is dead since it’s been gone for a couple of weeks, but Douglas doesn’t want to give up looking for him. He leaves his cul-de-sac to go look for the dog and runs into some weird events. So things like him being a paper delivery boy and the whole space-theme has been removed. (The name Douglas comes for the fact that he is dogless…)

On Tuesday 24.2. we pitched the project for the class and lecturers. It went really well and we got some positive feedback, including “You have a strong premiss”. We feel really confident now as a team. Currently we’re still focusing on casting a couple of the characters and Lewis is still working on the script. Now that the story also starts to find its place I can start doing some research for the sound design.

Shooting a music video

The music video for Jaani Peuhu’s song “Did You Ever” was shot during the weekend of 21.-23.2.

Aaron, Cheryl and I picked up the kit from the store on Friday 20.2. and brought it over to Siiri’s flat at the end of Leith Walk, which would also be our unit base. The Blackmagic, gimbal and tripod however were taken by Aaron back to his for some test/landscape shooting already on Friday afternoon.

I met Aaron at his place on Saturday morning at 8am to help him get the kit to Portobello Beach, which was our shooting location during the first day. We arrived there at 9am and met up with Heike, who would assist Aaron with the camera. Whilst waiting for the rest of the crew and Scot, our demon boy, we took some establishing landscape shots by the beach. My job was to take care of the log sheets and clapperboard and assist with whatever running errands.

The rest of the crew arrived around 10am. We quickly realised that we were battling against time; apparently, on that exact date, Britain was experiencing “super tide”, which means the water levels would be higher than they’ve been in 19 years. So nature was working as our 1st AD, making sure we worked real quick because the water levels were rising rapidly.

The pressure from the tide aside everything went really well. Scot did an amazing job in front of the camera and the whole crew worked really well together. We kept on working until 4pm, after which I helped Aaron take some of the kit back to his and we checked out the footage.

2015-02-21 12.46.39 2015-02-21 13.58.30  2015-02-21 14.42.59 2015-02-21 14.43.15Unfortunately our second shooting day, on Sunday, got cancelled because of the weather forecast promising heavy rain for the whole day.

We continued the shoot on Monday morning again. Me and Aaron and Lucy met up at Calton Hill at 9am and waited for the rest of the crew to arrive at 10, whilst taking some more scenery shots. We then proceeded to Princes Street Gardens, Dean Bridge and Stockbridge. Everything went smoothly and I continued working as the clapper and writing log sheets.

After all the exterior shots the team moved to Cheryl’s flat to shoot a couple of shots inside. We wrapped up after 5pm.

The cancelled shoot has been rescheduled for Sunday 1.3. and after that the music video will move on to edit.

Meeting for “Son of Fire”

Some of us are currently working on a music video for a Finnish artist called Jaani Peuhu and his song “Did You Ever”. I will use this project as part of my work experience for the Work Related Learning for Film- module.

On Wednesday 18.2. we had a last meeting before the shoot to make sure everything was under control. We discussed call sheets and other practical arrangements, for example how and when everyone needs to be at the locations etc. We are shooting this weekend, 21.-23.2.

My role in this production is basically to manage the shootings; make sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be, that everything’s on time, take care of log sheets and continuity + other assistant work in general.

Today, Friday 20.2. we picked up the kit and brought it over to one of the crew members flat so it’s ready for tomorrow.

Location recce for “Gus”

On Thursday 19.2. me, Aaron, Lewis, Maija and Veronika went out scouting for possible locations for “Gus”. We have 2 houses for the interior shots already, so the main point of this scout was to find suitable streets for the bicycle montage.

The houses we’re shooting in are in Blackford so we walked around the streets in that area and found lots of suitable places to film. The good thing about that area is that the houses look very different from each other so it will be easy to make it look like we’ve had many different locations.

We also discussed about simplifying the script. Lewis will keep that in mind whilst working on the second draft.

2015-02-18 14.00.29

2015-02-18 14.01.09

2015-02-18 14.06.13

Preparing for the pitch with “Gus”

General

Today, 17.2. the crew for Gus (Lewis, Aaron, Maija, Veronika and me) had a meeting to further plan the project and the upcoming pitch.

We started off talking about the location recce which was planned for Thursday 19.2. We decided to move it to Wednesday 18.2. The aim is to take a look at the two houses we’re filming in and also some streets for the bicycling scenes.

We were also discussing some changes in the script. Lewis is currently working on the second draft. Basically the boy is not delivering papers anymore, but giving out flyers because his dog is missing. So the dog becomes a central character in the film.

The space scenes at the beginning and at the end of the film are going to be made by paper mache.

So far it looks like we’re still sticking with the proposed shooting days at the end of March, 27.-29.3.

Sound design

  • Annoying video game sounds when the sister and her boyfriend are playing in the living room
  • Sounds from the kitchen (steam, coffee maker etc.)

Music

Both me and Lewis agreed that we wanted music in this film. Lewis gave me a couple of reference tracks and I contacted 2 musicians whom I know from Finland, and they agreed to compose music for “Gus”. One of them has a band called Chain Reactors, and their song “Meaning of Tonight” will be used in the background of the party scene. (All band members have agreed on this).

John and Fredrik will further work on two different tracks; one for the bicycling and one for the end credits. Here are the references I got from Lewis:

Bicycle scene

End credits

Production meeting for “Gus”

My main project in the Film Project module goes by the working title “Gus”. So far the crew consists of Lewis (writer/director), Maija (producer), Aaron (cinematographer), myself (sound designer) and Miranda (sound assistant).

On Tuesday 10.2 we had our first proper production meeting. Lewis has now finished the first draft of the script. Basically it’s about a boy who delivers papers on his bicycle and he experiences strange events on his route.

Currently the script is very ambitious and needs to be toned down a little bit. Production wise we already have the actor for the boy and 2 locations (2 different houses). We’re still looking for a door with a buzzer and a suitable stairway for one of the scenes.

We will do a location recce on Tuesday 19.2. and that’s when I’ll be able to check the ambiences and possible noises that could disturb the sound recording. Once Lewis finishes the second draft of the script I will start working on a plan for the soundscape of the film.

I am also the sound recordist for Dust to Dust, which is Cheryl’s production. I will go on a location recce together with them too, to check the amount of noise at Waverley Station (which is the main location) and Princes Street. Getting a clear dialogue sound at the train station might be challenging.

My third production is Beccy’s film that is still Untitled. I will be assisting Miranda with the sound recording on set.

Provisional shooting days:

Gus: 27.-29.3.

Dust to Dust: 12.-13.3.

Untitled: 20.-21.3.

Case Study and Social Media

On Thursday 5.2. we had a morning tutorial together with Alistair Scott considering our work placements and case study. It was a very interactive session where we talked about what we gain from an internship and what the employers get from hiring interns. Later on we had 5min one-on-one sessions with Alistair to discuss the case studies and possible placements.

Alistair gave me contact details to a sound designer based in Glasgow for my case study. I am interested in doing my research about sound post production and possibly ADR, so I will contact him together with some other sound designers and sound effect editors.

Our afternoon tutorial was together with David Griggs. We talked about social media and the importance of an online presence. I myself already have a blog and Vimeo, but will definitely set up a professional internet site and maybe a Facebook page.