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I'm editing sound effects and foley for a short film. The main character is on roller skates the entire time, and several other characters are on roller blades...

I'm struggling to find a way to edit sounds in to place to match the action on screen. So far, we have recorded sounds (not in sync to picture) and have tried to edit them in.

(We recorded using a shotgun on a boom pole, a shotgun on a mic stand, and lav mics on each skate)

Does anybody have any similar experiences? Any tips to share? tips about recording... Editing... whatever...

After watching the SoundWorks feature for The Hunger Games, an idea I had was to try and record in sync while watching on an iPad or some way. Any tips on this?..

Thanks All

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5 Answers 5

For recording, I would recommend building a large library yourself. It's a lot of meticulous planning and time, but it pays to have an overstock of sound options later on. Watch the movie and make a list of the types of movement and surfaces that the rollerblades cross. For instance:

[coasting, slow, brick road] ... [pushing, lazy, sandy asphault] ... [braking, light, concrete]

You get the picture. Record everything on your list from the multiple perspectives that you mentioned above and you'll have a very comprehensive cache to pull from for the editing stage. If you add microphones, to use models that give you different tonal options so that you can pick and choose later on.

Good luck! ~Matt

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Editing: I believe I had an experience that we can consider pretty similar; in my case, I had to sync sound to a film, specifically in a car chase scene, where I had to place the sound of the engines throughout all the scene, and the tough thing is that I was really limited, I had to utilize only 2 recordings from a library. The speed had to match the one on the picture, so it was pretty hard to search in this 2 recordings for instances where it sounded perfect with the picture....what I could recommend is using a lot of pitch shifting, I did it by applying "varispeed" in pro tools, so I could manage the original sound of the recorded engine and varispeed-it so that it would match what I needed.

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+1 for Matt Glenn's answer. Build up a construction kit of sounds.

I think perhaps the most useful (or flexible) perspective is on board with the skater. The lavs on the skates might be too close though (unless there are some close-ups). I'd try shotgun just below waist level, held by the skater, angled diagonally down at the skates, perhaps on a short boom. This should be flexible enough to sit in the mix of most scenes. Just be careful!

Really intricate editing is the call for stuff like this. If you X-fade between sounds at points with sharp transients (impacts etc) this helps to cover up the edits. Carefully trimming and naming the recorded material also really helps - being able to grab the right sound quickly and easily really helps to keep the edits flowing smoothly.

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+1 for both what Matt and Mark said

I've worked on quite a few low-budget shorts in the past few years, so situations where I have to run outside with a Zoom and a crappy shotgun mic to record ghetto foley pop up waaaaay more than I'd like them to.

As far as how I work, it is much easier for me to record and chop up my un-synced foley so that it corresponds to specific sonic elements in a given action rather than trying to sync an entire recording by making awkward edits all over the place.

Take this example; if you're recording or cutting foley for someone smoking a cigarette, you'd actually have something like 5 elements to record and place:

  • mouth closing on cigarette
  • cigarette sizzling
  • lips smacking as cigarette is withdrawn from the mouth
  • inhale
  • exhale

These would be placed separately and crossfaded into each other (if it's even necessary).

So, for skating, I'd assume it would go something like this:

  • pushoff from stop
  • coast
  • skate coming back down and contacting the ground
  • pushoff while moving
  • coast
  • skate down
  • repeat...
  • brake and stop

So, record some push-offs from a stop, some skating at different speeds, some steady coasting (down a hill?), some turning, and then some stopping, some skate downs, etc. This will probably take a long while, but by the end of it you should be able to chop it up and cut it back together into something convincing. Also, recording too much material is definitely better than not recording enough, so don't get lazy!

One more thing: MAKE SURE you record plenty of tone at the location where you're recording the skating. Good tone that matches up with whatever is going on behind your recordings is crucial for hiding edits. This is especially true if you're outside.

Good luck, and hit me up if you need any clarification.

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