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Tips for bedroom scene
Old 15th October 2013
  #1
Tips for bedroom scene

I'm working on an indy film and there's a scene is a bedroom with a couple talking and starting to argue (standing, fully clothed, btw).

I've added some outside ambience (birds and such) but the director and I feel the scene sounds dead.

The only other thing I can think would be a radio playing in the background. I guess I will simply record my clock radio and use that.

Can anyone here give me other suggestions on how to make this scene better?

Thanks!
Old 15th October 2013
  #2
Maybe you can change bg's over time, from some calm to more intent sound. Births at beginning and when they start arguing you can put some dog barks far away or something like that
Old 15th October 2013
  #3
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MixMasterM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nu Mixer View Post
The only other thing I can think would be a radio playing in the background. I guess I will simply record my clock radio and use that.
I would advise against that. Anything playing on the radio will be copy written, and can't be used without permission from the copywriter owner.
Old 15th October 2013
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by MixMasterM View Post
I would advise against that. Anything playing on the radio will be copy written, and can't be used without permission from the copywriter owner.
Good point. I was planning to have it so low that it would be impossible to pick out.

What else do the "big guys" do to make this sort of scene more interesting sonically?
Old 16th October 2013
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nu Mixer View Post
Good point. I was planning to have it so low that it would be impossible to pick out.

What else do the "big guys" do to make this sort of scene more interesting sonically?
Occasional carby. If its daytime, kids playing, law mower etc.
Other than that, why the need to fill it up with unnecessary junk?
It's about the dialog.
Old 16th October 2013
  #6
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I agree with Mark.

As for adding music; I'm sure they could find some music that wouldn't be too in the way and even support the scene and also cleared. The trick is just finding it. But again, it honestly sounds a bit like the scene simply isn't working the way it was acted/shot/edited.
Old 16th October 2013
  #7
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How are foley and reverb working so far? I find dead, lifeless scenes benefit from nice detailed and "small" foley and also how the voices react with the room? Do you feel the reverb filling up once they argue? I don't mean kitchen type, but rather the typical soft bedroom (carpeted?) that it is, just making the voices (and foley) sound more full and 3D.

I'm sure Mark can give more advice on how to trat the dialogue.
Old 16th October 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Mottl View Post
I'm sure Mark can give more advice on how to trat the dialogue.
Audiopost Daily reporter: "Erm, Mark, how would you approach a scene like this, dialogue wise? Perhaps emphasis intimacy by choosing darker shades of EQ? Micro-compression to enhance the finer details of movement and give a sense of development? Designing character specific reverbs, that bring out the desperation of the moment?"

Mark: "If I can make it sound as good as I can, within the available time, it usually works for me and the director...."
Old 16th October 2013
  #9
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Yeah. Pethenis pretty much nailed it.i don't use any of that pseudo science intemellectual speak.

I move the faders and twiddle some knobs until it sounds good.
Old 16th October 2013
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
But again, it honestly sounds a bit like the scene simply isn't working the way it was acted/shot/edited.
Yup
Old 16th October 2013
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Yeah. Pethenis pretty much nailed it.i don't use any of that pseudo science intemellectual speak.

I move the faders and twiddle some knobs until it sounds good.
Don't forget the buttons!

-Jim
Old 16th October 2013
  #12
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Actually, there's nothing worse in an intimate close scene, than a pile of annoying backgrounds and grungy noisy production noise.
I clean the crap out of scenes like that, as it makes it way more intimate.

But that's just my own personal useless opinion.
Old 16th October 2013
  #13
If it's motivated, something coming from another room can sometimes actually augment a scene like this. A newscast, muffled thru the wall, can support, almost subconsciously, one character's point of view, etc. Plus, it has the added benefit of letting you EQ it out of the dialog range, making it easier to bury. But like Mark and other have said, if it isn't motivated, then it's just noise for the sake of noise. Intimacy works, if the rest of the story is working.
Old 16th October 2013
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Actually, there's nothing worse in an intimate close scene, than a pile of annoying backgrounds and grungy noisy production noise.
I clean the crap out of scenes like that, as it makes it way more intimate.

But that's just my own personal useless opinion.
Yep I agree! And this intamacy and having gotten rid of noise allows for subtle foley that would have been drowned. As for backgrounds: If ther is nextdoor/outside noise I would nearly lose that once we get "intimate". Maybe a short period to open up and tell where we are, and then focus on dia after that.

Just a thought though.
As for twiddling some knobs - just as the greatest musicians "just play", not everbody gets the same results
Old 16th October 2013
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Mottl View Post
How are foley and reverb working so far? I find dead, lifeless scenes benefit from nice detailed and "small" foley and also how the voices react with the room? Do you feel the reverb filling up once they argue? I don't mean kitchen type, but rather the typical soft bedroom (carpeted?) that it is, just making the voices (and foley) sound more full and 3D.

I'm sure Mark can give more advice on how to treat the dialogue.
Thanks for all the food for thought! I agree that I absolutely do need to work on the dialog more and not just be adding superfluous SFX.

Maybe I'll post the scene and see if you guys could check it out. Thanks again.
Old 17th October 2013
  #16
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On the one hand, it is good to not allow ourselves to be bogged down by over-intellectualization. However, I think the implication that our job is solely to "make it sound good" largely ignores the creative potential of sound and relegates all of us to the role of technicians. When scheduling allows for it, we should focus on the creative storytelling powers of things like EQ, reverb, compression, etc. A lot of people do view audio post as merely a technical thing (including the Academy as of recently), we of all people should be the ones working to combat that notion.
Old 17th October 2013
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainspin View Post
we should focus on the creative storytelling powers of things like EQ, reverb, compression, etc. A lot of people do view audio post as merely a technical thing (including the Academy as of recently), we of all people should be the ones working to combat that notion.
Ok, so tell me what your most dramatic compressor is. Or your most frightening EQ ;-)

For me this job is seperated into three stages.

1 = clean up of what you get, it's technical, but you need ears and sometimes have to be very creative as well

2. Enhance and widen the sonic stage by adding elements

3. The mix. Now this - for me - is the stage where you get to contribute to the story the most, and mostly with just fader moves. But only if 1 and 2 have been done properly.
Old 17th October 2013
  #18
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A prominent example of very dramatic use of EQ is the beach scene in Saving Private Ryan. I remember in Jay Rose's book he gave the example of using lookahead compression to subtly decrease volume before a sudden transient, allowing it to more dramatically punch through.

I agree with what you said about the 3 steps, those are the same for me and I think pretty much every other post person. My point is simply that, in many cases, our job is more than just "making it sound good", just like the DP's job is about more than "making it look good".
Old 17th October 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainspin View Post
I agree with what you said about the 3 steps, those are the same for me and I think pretty much every other post person. My point is simply that, in many cases, our job is more than just "making it sound good", just like the DP's job is about more than "making it look good".
I have to politely disagree. In "In the Blink of An Eye" Walter Murch talks about meeting his wife's family for the first time and when they asked him what he did he replied "I'm a film editor" to which her relative replied "Oh that's taking out that bad bits". Murch became "politely incensed" and proceeded to explain how editing was about story, timing, colour, etc, etc. He then said that after 30 years he'd come to realize the unwilling wisdom behind that statement... it IS "cutting out the bad bits"... the art and craft is figuring out WHAT is a bad bit. In the same way, our job IS "making it sound good" when you boil it down... the art and craft is of course figuring out WHAT sounds good, and doing what it takes to get there. Obviously we have tricks and techniques (and this is, of course, a good place to share them), but at the end of the day the Producer/Director doesn't care what they were as long as it "sounds good".

Getting back OT, if the scene "sounds dead", as you say, then it most likely IS the performance and all the sound in the world may not save it. If it is...performance is hard to fake, but one thing you could try is a VERY slight pitch shift (say 10-15 cents)... while this won't be noticeable as an effect it can make a performance seem more "intense". Also try the shift without time correction and go cut things back into sync. The slightly faster version can make the scene "pop" much more... or it might suck... be prepared to spend some time and make some mistakes if you can. (I've "saved" a few performances this way)
Old 21st October 2013
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I have to politely disagree. In "In the Blink of An Eye" Walter Murch talks about meeting his wife's family for the first time and when they asked him what he did he replied "I'm a film editor" to which her relative replied "Oh that's taking out that bad bits". Murch became "politely incensed" and proceeded to explain how editing was about story, timing, colour, etc, etc. He then said that after 30 years he'd come to realize the unwilling wisdom behind that statement... it IS "cutting out the bad bits"... the art and craft is figuring out WHAT is a bad bit. In the same way, our job IS "making it sound good" when you boil it down... the art and craft is of course figuring out WHAT sounds good, and doing what it takes to get there. Obviously we have tricks and techniques (and this is, of course, a good place to share them), but at the end of the day the Producer/Director doesn't care what they were as long as it "sounds good".

Getting back OT, if the scene "sounds dead", as you say, then it most likely IS the performance and all the sound in the world may not save it. If it is...performance is hard to fake, but one thing you could try is a VERY slight pitch shift (say 10-15 cents)... while this won't be noticeable as an effect it can make a performance seem more "intense". Also try the shift without time correction and go cut things back into sync. The slightly faster version can make the scene "pop" much more... or it might suck... be prepared to spend some time and make some mistakes if you can. (I've "saved" a few performances this way)
That's actually really interesting, never thought of it that way. I guess whenever I hear "sounds good" I tend to just think of it being along the lines of dialogue adequately intelligible, couple of FXs here and there, and that's basically it. I've been meaning to read that book for a while now, thanks for the input
Old 21st October 2013
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazer Toms View Post
I'm working on an indy film and there's a scene is a bedroom with a couple talking and starting to argue (standing, fully clothed, btw).

I've added some outside ambience (birds and such) but the director and I feel the scene sounds dead.

The only other thing I can think would be a radio playing in the background. I guess I will simply record my clock radio and use that.

Can anyone here give me other suggestions on how to make this scene better?

Thanks!
room tone?
air conditioner?
Old 21st October 2013
  #22
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How about this:

If they start arguing, the dog from next door wakes from his nap and starts barking. And doesn't stop. Screeching tram-lines or tires outside. Use some agro-sounds, that make you nervous.
Old 21st October 2013
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainspin View Post
That's actually really interesting, never thought of it that way. I guess whenever I hear "sounds good" I tend to just think of it being along the lines of dialogue adequately intelligible, couple of FXs here and there, and that's basically it. I've been meaning to read that book for a while now, thanks for the input
As Sonsey said, making it sound good, in my book, entails a whole bunch of things. Intelligible dialog first and foremost, but it doesn't stop there.
Old 21st October 2013
  #24
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cebolao's Avatar
 

been there, done that. the director wanted more and more sounds from the outside world in quiet dialog scene. we adde, added, and added. cars, voices, kids, etc (knowing it does not make sence, but the boss wants it).
on the dubstage director came with excellent idea: why don't we just turn off all these oitside world sounds and concentrate on dialog? now it makes sense!
Old 21st October 2013
  #25
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If the scene it's self is not working, even in the rough cut, sound is not going to fix it. We augment, we don't do rewrites. (I'm sticking by that as I try to massage yet another 'frankenbite' in a reality show).
Old 22nd October 2013
  #26
Had a couple of scenes like this on my last feature. Argued a bit on why, where and why on earth..? with the director.

He got his will on the first scene, which had a new years eve party going on in the same apartment and he wanted to hear muffled music and some laughter for 10 minutes straight... While the main character was broken down and trying to share a life-turning secret.

Next "closed-space" scene was a psych-ward bedroom in which he wanted to hear screams and footsteps from the hall. I made that scene dead silent to amplify the story. We came to an agreement with adding aircondition hum in the start, slowly fading out, and fading in again when the mood changed 10minutes in before the music cue.

It really depends on the story in whole and what role the scene plays in it.
Don't just add stuff because you can or the Director has grown sick of it.
Silence is a tool!
Old 25th October 2013
  #27
OK guys, I've uploaded the scene in question to Vimeo:

Private Video on Vimeo
Password: gsaudio

If anyone has time to check it out and offer suggestions I would be most appreciative. I'm a music mixer transitioning to post, and still have a lot to learn.

I added a radio playing in background, but the scene is still not working. I know a lot has to do with the actors' performance, but I still feel there is more to do on my end.
Old 25th October 2013
  #28
Is the audio in sync?

Just had a quick listen and my first reaction is that you are lacking alot of foley.
Clothes, movement, brushing hair, footsteps, bed springs, matress impact, soft punches. Etc.
The radio is fine in the beginning, but gets a bit annoying later on.
Maybe add some more ambience from whatever is going on in The living room when The others enter the bedroom?
Just add a bit when they enter.

But the missing foley will make the scene work better.
Old 26th October 2013
  #29
Thank you for taking the time to watch and offer suggestions.

-I noticed the sync issues. It's in the editor's temp audio as well. Not sure if I should nudge and line the the audio up with the picture better.

-Are you suggesting that I should take some sounds from the Living Room scene and add them to the bedroom? I'll also take a closer look at the production sound and make sure I'm not missing anything.

Would it be ok to simply stop the radio at a certain point?

Any other tips are greatly appreciated!
Old 26th October 2013
  #30
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I would personally lose the radio and TV in the bedroom and dinner scenes, and only have music in the restaurant scene at the end.
All that source music is annoying. You don't have to clutter up and fill every single hole in the soundscape.
And the interior crickets are really loud as well.
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