Game of Thrones Sound Replacement: Target Market and Required Aesthetics

As we’ll be ridding our chosen Game of Thrones scene of all audio and replacing it with our own we’re hoping that the caliber of our work is high enough that a first time viewer would not realize that the sounds are our own, but that of the Game of Thrones audio production team.                                                            Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 7.31.03 pm

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 7.26.51 pmAfter doing some research into the types of people who watch game of thrones I found that slightly more men than women watch the show and the most common age bracket is between 18 & 45 years of age. I suppose just by choosing a GOT scene we’re catering to these demographics. Never in my research did I find that the general public referred to or reviewed the audio of the Game of Thrones series. I found a few interviews (mentioned later in this blog post) and soundtrack reviews but never comments on the more technical aspects of film sound like Foley or ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement). Our own personal take on what the audio aspects should sound like is obviously quite similar to the sound present in the scene already (with a few variances). The real challenge for us will be to make it sound convincing. Here are just a few of the methods we’ll be using to create this convincing sound:

Recording at Abbey Medieval Festival

Brett-Croese_What-is-the-AMF

The scene we’re using for the project consists mainly of sword/knife/spear fights and crowd boos/cheers/screams. We’ll be able to capture a lot of this at the festival as a large number of people attend it and there are people who “egg on” the crowd using medieval language, getting them to cheer and boo and whatnot. There are also sword fights and a jousting tournament among other medieval activities involving weapons. We anticipate that the weapon sounds we capture will be easily supplemented to sound appropriate for the clip.

ADR

There is very little ADR needed for the scene as only a few short sentences are spoken by a few of the actors. Before we’d chosen a particular scene for the project, we were anticipating the need for voice actors as we’d done a bit of ADR in the past ourselves which gave a far too obviously amateur impression. We were planning to approach acting schools to see if they might have students willing to give up their time and abilities for free. Fortunately, we feel this isn’t necessary anymore and we’ve been told of a voice actor here at SAE who we’ll track down and hopefully employ for one or two of the roles. Other than that we’re confident that auditioning peers for the other minor roles will be more than sufficient.

Musical Composition

We’re extremely fortunate to know a classically trained pianist, pipe-organist and composer (Brad Jones) who is willing to take up the task of composing the musical aspects of the scene for us. These will include personalized character motifs and mood-specific arrangements e.g. serious sword fight scenes. We’re incredibly thankful for this contact as we won’t have to recreate the different moods of the clip using library music which can very often sound boring, generic and obviously electronic. Brad’s compositions will bring our sound replacement up to a much higher level of quality.

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I decided to do some further research into how the Game of Thrones sound team works to produce the sound for the show. In an interview with asoundeffect.com, Paula Fairfield, sound designer for Game of Thrones, spoke of how the Emmy nominated sound is created. Their workflow is of a “chunk by chunk” nature. So they approach the sound episode by episode then break it down further into scene by scene and always receiving feedback from the supervising sound editor. This seems to be to be an obvious way to approach such a task and as a group, we’ve employed that very method. Each group member has been assigned a segment of the scene at approximately 2:30 in length to analyze and, once the sound recordings are done, edit the sounds into place. We’ll also be reviewing each others work to make sure we’re all on the right track and comparing to our own work mostly for the sake of continuity. Fairfield also speaks of how the dedication and talent of every member of the sound team is what brings the end product up to such a high standard. We are all absolutely dedicated to achieving the best result possible for our project and our combined talents will obviously aid in this. And a final quote from the interview, “the better we do our jobs, the more invisible our work is”.

I came across a blog post by an audio engineer named Matt Hibbard about ADR (automated dialogue replacement) and a few tips on how best to go about the recording of it so as to make the mixing process a lot easier. Though the scene we’ve selected for our project doesn’t feature a lot of dialogue, I thought his tips were handy enough for us to use for the minimal amount of ADR we’d be undertaking. Just a few of his tips were as follows:

– Use a combination of audio and visual looping (of roughly recorded lines needing to be replaced) so the talent can achieve the best timing. Also, create an audio cue – three beeps exactly one second apart with the last beep one second before the line is meant to be spoken.

– If you don’t have a treated ADR recording space you should dampen hard, reflective surfaces using blankets. Also, place voice actor

– A voice actor should replicate the body language and mood of the person whose voice they’re replacing (whether it’s their own or someone else’s).

References

– Andersen, A. (2014). THIS IS HOW THE FANTASTICAL SOUND OF GAME OF THRONES IS MADE. Retrieved from http://www.asoundeffect.com/creating-the-fantastical-sound-of-game-of-thrones/

– Data is Coming: Game of Thrones meets Business Intelligence. (n. d.). Retrieved from http://www.matillion.com/insight/data-is-coming-game-of-thrones-meets-business-intelligence/

– Hall, J. (2015). Game of Thrones’ Sound Editor on Bringing White Walkers to Life. Retrieved from http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/interviews/a35533/game-of-thrones-sound-editor/

– Hibbard, M. (2014). ADR: Automated Dialogue Replacement Tips and Tricks. Retrieved from http://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/adr-automated-dialogue-replacement-tips-and-tricks/

– Lu, R. (n. d.). Who Watches Game of Thrones? A Twitter Data Analysis. Retrieved from http://www.whowatchesgameofthrones.com/

– Reviews & Ratings for “Game of Thrones”. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0944947/reviews

Untitled [Image] (n. d.). Retrieved from http://designingsound.org/2010/07/predators-exclusive-interview-with-paula-fairfield-carla-murray/

Untitled [Image] (n. d.). Retrieved from https://abbeymedievalfestival.com/about/what-is-the-abbey-medieval-festival/

– User ratings for “Game of Thrones”. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0944947/ratings

– Watercutter, A. (2013). YES, WOMEN REALLY DO LIKE GAME OF THRONES (WE HAVE PROOF). Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2013/06/women-game-of-thrones/

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3 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Sound Replacement: Target Market and Required Aesthetics

  1. Great post, Abbey. My one concern is that you are using an episode that is still relatively new, this may affect the audience because of spoilers. I know that loyal GOT fans are up to date, but the ones who enjoy the show and haven’t seen the said episode will react negatively to the demonstration you are planning to give. Maybe try for am earlier ep? Other than that, it sounds very exciting!

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    1. Any scene we choose could be a spoiler, really. It just depends how far along in the series a particular viewer is. I, myself, haven’t seen past episode four of season three and after viewing this scene I’m still looking forward to seeing the rest of the series. Cheers for the comment!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Your right Abbey, anything past episode one is a spoiler! That medieval festival sounds like fun and I hope you take some photos for us to enjoy, in the mean time, keep the pedal to the metal 🙂

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