A calming and rather tranquil street race – The Fast and Furios

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This particular piece of audio took a bit of time to create. The original clip used from the film had no backing music during this opening race of the film, it was left as an all car based soundscape with occasional corny dialogue. This had its merits as well as its downfalls

Merits:

  • Seeing as there is no back ground music, adding audio will be significantly easier
  • Gives option to place anything in the mix, doesn’t have to be following any tonal structures etc

Downfalls:

  • Very dynamic scene from the movie, leaving the audio levels to also be incredibly dynamic
  • A lot of compression and fiddling was necessary to balance out the two channels (my audio and the film audio)
  • EQ’ing took a little bit away from both film and music, there were scenes where there was a few unnecessary sounds combined with dialogue that I wished to keep.

Overall I believe it was a solid effort as I believe that the audio really helped change the entire feeling of the scene. The pumping and fast back ground music before the race (the original audio from the film) sets up the race to be something incredibly exciting and action packed, however ultimately leading to a much slower and relaxed audible atmosphere through the use of the audio made for this clip.

Budget wise it didn’t kill me, as I was able to use my laptop, 1 Audio Technica Microphone, 1 XLR cable, 1 Native Instruments sound card, 1 Fender guitar and 1 Zoom Guitar Pedal.

The equipment is really cheap in comparison to a full studio set up, and it worked just as well as I needed for this project. Ideally if I had enough time and money to do this project I would have rather of completed all of the recording and mixing in a better studio environment to really fine tune all of the sounds, however considering the budget I had I believe it turned out to be a great result.

As the title suggests, the main theme of this project was to turn the intense and testosterone atmosphere into a more calming one. I’d like to think that the final result did give this effect and fits as well as it can in place. All the recordings occured in my room, this time eliminating as much noise as I could possibly do to not interfere with the recordings.


 

Guitars

  • Unlike the Batman Begins porno project, I used my proper Zoom G9.2tt board along with my Native Instruments portable sound card to record the sound properly. Seeing as the Zoom board has a dynamic tube and pre-amp built in, I didn’t have to play with gain settings much on the sound card or computer which kept the sound quality nice and clean.
  • Only used 1 bank setting – clean cabinet, clean pre-amp, some reverb, some compression. I just switched between the front and rear pick-ups to change the tone
  • FYI this is the Guitar I used for recording

fender_tele_thinline

Although that’s just a picture off the internet, it’s the same model. It’s a Japan made Fender Telecaster Thinline. Great sound for a great price!

  • The part where the guitar starts playing big wide chords only sounds a bit different to the others because I layered the parts and put a slight delay between the two. Giving it the effect of strange phasing.

 

Vocals

The vocals where just long held notes recorded one at a time, eventually leading to a 4 then 6 part harmony. I tried to make them as simple as possible with the only complex things being done were the Glue Compressor settings and the Panning of the vox tracks.

They didn’t take long to record which was good, but perhaps I needed more of a warm up in the future. First couple of attempts didn’t go as well as I’d wanted them to go because I didn’t realise a -10db pad had been turned on through the mic. It probably happened when I put the mic on the stand.


Drums

The drum samples took a long time to compile for this project. Chopping up different sounds, trying to blend them together, trying to layer different sounds turned out to be a big headache. I’d never messed around with ‘big sounding’ drums before this project, so it was a first time in terms of mixing. I didn’t realise what was meant to sound ‘how’ loud.

There’s two drum tracks altogether in this piece, and the second one I made more electronic sounding but in the background so it isn’t over powering the main drums. I just wanted that simple rhythm you can hear from start to end to be constantly looping. It’s essentially a 2 bar loop that gets looped for long periods, reversed, then looped again.


Bass Guitar

I used a Fender Squier Bass for this project, and to be a bit more in unison with the guitars I decided to play with a pick. This way the tone is more ‘tinny’ and ‘metallic’ like a post rock sounding ensemble. It took a few takes more or less because I hadn’t played Bass Guitar in so many years that my brain and fingers didn’t coordinate for a while. Once warmed up it went down smoothly with the aid of a click track.

Fortunately I was only recording a clean sound from the bass, so I plugged it into my Zoom effect pedal and left all the settings on a clean sound so the board only acted as a pre-amp rather than giving effects. My old Bass practice amp sounds horrible and I didn’t have anything else to record the bass out of, in it went to the soundcard!


fast-and-furious

Video Editing

Seeing as I had already had the horrible experience of trying to balance audio with iMovie alone, for this project I used my initiative and delegated the processes to get a better result. Fortunately I did, and I used this same method for the rest of my projects.

Step 1: Import Movie file into iMovie, and crop out the exact scene I want to put the music to.

Step 2: Put the music into iMovie, and crop the exact starting and finishing points of the video. This will ultimately lead to the last stage of any form of video editing.

Step 3: Render the video from iMovie, however don’t export the audio that I made for the movie. Export it with the original audio within the scene.

Step 4: Import the movie scene into Logic, and match up the video to the completed audio made for the scene!

This 4 step process really eliminated a heap of hassles. In iMovie there seemed to be a lack of simple audio effects such as fade in and outs, or crossfades between audio channels. Therefore turning to Logic (a proper DAW interferface) to balance out the nitty gritty side of the film.


Techniculties/difficulties:

As mentioned previously, the film had very dynamic audio from the beginning. This lead to the painful task of natural-ish sounding compression settings from Logic. I wouldn’t have been able to do this on iMovie, and I couldn’t afford Final Cut Pro, so stick to Logic and iMovie!

Final EQ adjustments and volume automation could also be made when working in conjunction with Logic (instead of only iMovie), therefore making last minute changes possible and much easier to do.

The original audio had such a concentrated sound of engines and exhausts etc, but what made it very inconvenient was just how wide the original stereo mixdown was. Obviously this works the best for film, but having sounds like exhaust back-fire or the sound of ‘NOS’ being used shooting from Left to Right (speakers) makes the audio sound a bit weak.

I originally tried editing segments bit by bit of the film, but this took too long and didn’t give sufficient results. I had to chop too many sections, and crossfade them together to make them sound only half good. In the end I just used a carefully planned compressor on the video channel, and tweaked the settings so the sound is just averaged out instead of being so dynamic. This way the additional music can be heard without being overpowered, or overpowering the original sounds that where there.

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