For working with the Northern Film School this sound crew consisted of myself and four course colleagues. After our initial induction with Laura Taylor, we were encouraged to use shotgun and radio microphones. However we decided to stick with the Sennheiser 416 and MKH50 (shotgun mics) having heard from other groups that their radio mics didn’t work or the recordings were very distorted. I feel this was a disadvantage when it came to post-production as we could have mixed the two levels. Our day predominately consisted of waiting for other crew members to complete their tasks before a scene. Lighting and camera took up the most time which was frustrating and quite boring at times as we just stood around awaiting the next take. We took it in turns to be boom operator and mixer which worked well as I found it tiring work holding the boom, especially when I didn’t plant my weight across a good position for longer takes. There was good communication between boom operator and mixer but less so from the camera operator and director. However we were given opportunities to raise our concerns if a take didn’t sound usable i.e. there was interference from an overhead plane or having to insist that an assistant operator take of his shoes for a dolly take.
In post-production we divided responsibilities between us in order to make sure we all got a chance to work on it. This worked especially well to collect diegetic and non-diegetic sounds. I took on the role of the father’s sounds: exaggerated sofa creaking, leaning back on cushions and placing objects on a glass coffee table. To do this I created a make-shift set up at home with improvised objects and the rest of the group captured off-screen sounds like cooking in the kitchen, sport on TV, footsteps and slamming of doors. However the director wasn’t happy with the mother’s off-screen dialogue or the father and son’s dialogue which consisted of different volume levels. This may have occurred whilst on set due to the boom microphone not being at equal distance from the actors on each take to the image. I took on responsibility to re-edit the sound putting me under pressure and caused me to miss place a couple of Foley syncs, but the director was much happier with that cut. After that I created a new online folder giving everyone access to the correct files and project DAWs enabling another team member to take over for the next edit if needed.
When exploring microphones for field recording I wanted “to make that leap and draw the listener – who may be far away from the original context of the recordings – into a passionate experience of listening”( Lane, C. In the Field: The Art of Field Recording. Interview with Hilegard Westerkamp. pg 116). To do so would require collecting a variety of different recordings within Leeds City Centre. So I scouted possible sites on various walks without my recorder and looked on Google Maps for built up areas, green spaces and locations that appeared less busy. I then set aside several days to just sit and record. Out of curiosity I would like to compare recordings that were made whilst standing or sitting with the binaural set up. This consisted on placing a DPA microphone either side of my ear trapped between my glasses and head. The advantage of these mics were there size as a shotgun mic would not have been discrete and I didn’t want to draw attention.
Whilst recording I also considered how this piece would be presented. Following in Cardiff’s footsteps I like the idea of the listener being immersed in a personal 360-degree soundscape that can be listened to in situ. Therefore when an opportunity arose to learn about ambisonics and binaural I took it however it was frustrating to begin with having never used Reaper before. I also realised that I may need to only use it for producing the final format and not the creative editing. I also chose to set a page on my website dedicated to The City and Its Sounds. By choosing a public space I hope the work have “more opportunity to communicate in [its] own way” (Williams, E. 2010. Sound Art & The Gallery). A traditional gallery space is understood through visual narrative which is now inherently embedded in modern day culture. To place this work in a gallery space would diminish the immersivity of being within the city: you’d be a spectator watching from a distance.
To conclude I am more self-assured in choosing microphones and not being afraid to try out something different. My investigations have pushed personal boundaries to record in public spaces more and be confident in carrying out such tasks. From working on a film set I’ve learnt more people skills and dealing with possible argumentative situations. In the post-production things would have been less stressful if both parties had been more efficient in their communication. In both practices I think my creativity was brought out the most in post-production with Foley and editing of field recordings. I would like to push creativity in choosing of the field recording locations more and allow my ears draw me to sound rather than deciphering on a map.