The Editing of Foley/ADR for Monty Python and The Holy Grail: Black Knight Scene

As mentioned in my last blog post, all we had left to do for the Foley and ADR of the Black Knight scene was to edit everything into place. This was conducted between 18/03/2015 – 25/03/2015. Editing Foley and ADR into place is a much longer process as there is so much of it needed to make a scene look and sound authentic. Below is the product of our efforts.

I think the method we used to edit everything together was a gradually more organized one. We sort of ‘took turns’ with the editing (Ananda doing the bulk of it in the end) and learned from each others’ experience with it. ADR was a first priority as it required some of the least work. When recording for ADR we, the voice actors, had watched the clip and listened to the original audio as we spoke our lines in the hope that we’d quite accurately be able to line the words up with the actors’ mouths/movements. We succeeded at this in most cases.

The ambient noise needed for the clip had been recorded in Davies Park near the studio/university. We’d originally recorded between five and seven minutes of ambience including birds chirping (to give a more ‘forest’ feel). When listening back to the recording we found that the microphone had captured A LOT of unwanted traffic/wind noise. Lisa and I used a plugin called iZotope Denoiser (pictured below). Using high ‘Thresholds’ and ‘Reduction’ settings along with the ‘Quality’ setting of ‘Best’ we were able to rid the recording of most of that unwanted noise. Satisfied with the result we simply created an ‘ambience’ track with this edited recording which ran for the length of the clip, not needing to loop as we’d recorded well in excess of the length of the scene.Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 2.51.44 pm

Editing the Foley into place was the bulk of the work. One does not realize that there are so many sounds that contribute to the moving image looking authentic. It stands out like a sore thumb if there’s a sound missing from an action/movement where there should be one. We had to make sure every action/movement was accounted for which proved to be a very time consuming process. Though it is clearly far from a professional job, I feel the Foley we’ve added is still very effective and appropriate to the actions, movements and objects they’re matched to. For example, sword hits had to be matched up appropriately. The sound of swords hitting together and holding is very different to the sound the swords would make if they hit each other and instantly pulled away again. During the recording process of the sword sounds we didn’t match them up as we watched the clip. We simply recorded an array of different ‘sword hits’ (as we called them) to be matched up to the film later. This was the case with a few of the other sounds as well. It was, at times, a very frustrating process to go through. Having to find the ‘sword hits’ track amongst the many other tracks and audition each one to see if we thought it was appropriate to the action and object we were trying to match it to. Then we had to edit it into place so the sound occurred exactly when it should. I feel this could have been a much easier process. I’d be interested to do some more research on how the professionals do it. Though I’m sure they’d have better/more facilities than we have access to here at university (though we do have good facilities!), I’d like to see how they organize their recordings and sessions to maximize workflow.

All in all I’m very satisfied with our first attempt at recording and editing audio for narrative. It was a fun and interesting process and I’d definitely be willing to do it again though, like I mentioned, I’d have to research professional methods/strategies to make the whole process a bit more fluid.

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