Trimester 5 Project: Game of Thrones Sound Replacement

The project I’ve agreed to work on this trimester is the sound replacement of (part of) a scene from one of the most recent Game of Thrones episodes (season five). Sound replacement involves replacing all the sonic elements throughout a film or, in this case, scene. Working with Ananda Duffy, Lisa Meier and Bran Rihan, we will record and edit into place our interpretation of all Foley, ADR, Ambient and musical elements of the scene to a standard that, we hope, is convincing.

post-64171-Daenerys-dragon-s5e9-meme-Game-Px36
Image 1.

A super exciting part of the project is location recording at the Abbey Medieval Festival in a couple weeks. Ananda had the fantastic idea a few weeks ago. Game of Thrones is ‘medieval’ if anything so we’re hoping to capture sword and crowd sounds (among other sounds) as they’re two of the main themes throughout the clip we’ve chosen – swords fights in a packed Colosseum-type arena. Though I’ll mentioned we’ve been told that the sound of sword fights in person is very different to the sounds you hear on TV or in movies, we’ll just see what happens.

Sir-Justin-and-Sir-Dale
Image 2.

Another interesting aspect of the project is that we’re getting the help of Brad Jones and his musical composition skills. He’s excited to compose the musical aspects of the scene for us, putting his own interpretations on what the music should sound like (with our direction).

Yet another interesting aspect of the project is that we’re going to mix the product in 5.1. Guy Gray has been teaching us about surround sound during these first few weeks back at uni and we’re super excited about our first time mixing in this manner.

We’ve had discussions on how best to approach the task keeping in mind the necessity for effective delegation so as to maximize time efficiency. The first task after selecting the scene we want to work on is to analyze what sounds we need to replace. It was agreed that the best way to do this is to divide the clip into four so the job obviously isn’t so large as we can each be working on a different section at the same time. So that’s where we’re up to at this stage. We’ve designated each group member a section of the scene to analyze and we’re all to have finished doing so before our next group meeting this Sunday 28/6/15. I think the next step after that will be to set up a master Pro Tools session with a video track in it. Once we’ve recorded Foley and ADR we can add the appropriate sounds to our designated segment of film. Once we’ve setup this master session we’re each planning to put markers in where specific sounds go. This will make the job run a lot more smoothly.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 2.00.43 pm
Image 3.

To further the smooth workflow of this project I’ve been researching how industry professionals maximize their workflow. I started with searching for some kind of tutorial on lynda.com that would give me a better idea of how to properly organize a Foley/ADR session. I found the video Preparing the session for foley and ADR recording which was quite helpful. A few good pointers were:

  • Put markers of required Foley/ADR in when setting up session.
  • Create ‘slugs’ (another type of place marker). Learn about slugs at 1:05 here.
  • Create beep tracks to count in Foley/ADR actors.
  • Make sure to name everything appropriately (an obvious one but if you don’t keep on top of it a session can get out of hand very quickly).
  • Always record in Punch mode as it’s always recording and it also allows you to do something called ‘matching takes’. Learn about it at 7:25 here.

I have a bit more investigation to do into the effective management of this type of Pro Tools session. Ananda, Lisa and I have done a small sound replacement project before and one of the biggest issues we found was session management so we’re keen to work out how to do it properly.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 2.01.57 pm

I’ve had a look at the Producers & Engineers Wing Recommendations For Surround Sound Production (as we are mixing in 5.1 surround sound). A few helpful tips I noted include:

  • Avoid mixing for one ‘sweet spot’ (as not every viewer/listener can sit in the one sweet spot at the same time).
  • Listen back to mix on two or more different systems (an oldy but a goody).
  • The background noise of your equipment e.g. console, outboard gear etc. should not exceed 25dBSPL A-weighted.
  • The five main speakers of a 5.1 mixing setup should sit along the border of an invisible circle. The mix position will be in the centre of this circle.

The list of recommendations goes on but these are just a few. As we’re not even at the recording stage yet I’ve decided to prioritize other research over further investigation into surround sound mixing.

As there are four group members in our team we’ve set up a Google drive for us to share our work on in order to keep everyone up to date. We’ve all used this method of communication before and have found it to be thoroughly effective at ensuring everyone’s in the loop. Another way in which we keep in touch and occasionally share files/photos related to the project is via Facebook chat. Though I’m sure industry professionals do not use this method of communication, it’s proved to be a helpful one throughout my university career.

References

Tools, Tips, Guidelines and Recommendations. (n. d.). Retrieved from https://www.grammy.org/recording-academy/producers-and-engineers/guidelines

Massey, H. (2004). Producers & Engineers Wing: Recommendations for Surround Sound Production. Retrieved from https://www.grammy.org/files/pages/SurroundRecommendations.pdf

Preparing the session for foley and ADR recording. (n. d.). Retrieved from http://www.lynda.com/Pro-Tools-tutorials/Preparing-session-foley-ADR-recording/77862/85442-4.html

Nazarian, B. C. (n. d.). “POST AUDIO FAQ’s”. Retrieved from http://filmsound.org/AudiopostFAQ/audiopostfaq.htm

Image 1. Retrieved from http://pandawhale.com/post/64171/game-of-thrones-s5e10-precap-the-season-5-finale-is-upon-us

Image 2. Retrieved from http://abbeymedievalfestival.com/

Image 3. Retrieved from http://www.lynda.com/Pro-Tools-tutorials/Preparing-session-foley-ADR-recording/77862/85442-4.html

Image 4. Retrieved from https://www.grammy.org/files/pages/SurroundRecommendations.pdf

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