I could use some help with short film I'm working on. The thing is that there are no dialogues in it (that's ok with me, I don't like talkies anyway:)) and the mighty director is against the use of diegetic music (oh, non-diegetic music drives him even more crazy). There's decent high society party going on. Scene is about 8 minutes long with actors basically walking from corner of the big room to another. My goal is to fill the space with ambience/background chatting so it doesn't sound tiresome after minute or two. It was quite ok in the first version where there was "invisible" band playing in background. But I struggle with the version based only on background sounds because it sounds artificial and you suddenly have this feeling that there's not much going on. Have you ever faced similar problem? Does anybody have any idea how to creatively work with what I got? How to mix ambiences so it doesn't sound tiresome? Pardon my english. I hope you got the idea. Good evening, Martin, Prague

4 Answers 4


Is this 8 minutes in 1 room/space? That sounds like it would be tiresome.

If there is no dialogue then I would probably concentrate heavily on foley and bringing actions out.

Record a party walla and record some spot effects, glasses, laughing, walking etc Re-record these through worldizing OR use an impulse response and run the audio you record through it.

Bring out the foley and make sure you have nice stereo recordings of the ambiences, pan spot effects and keep any important foley central like you would dialogue.

  • thank you, very helpful, I try not to pan foley this time, put it all to C and use LR just for ambiences. (last time, i tried to make movement more interesting by panning steps)
    – daremes
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 8:50
  • No problem, be interested to hear the final outcome :) Goodluck Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 13:27

Go to a party. Make sure they don't play any music whether diagetic or non. Record it from a similar perspective to the camera. Put it in your track.


Wow this sounds like quite a challenge, in two ways. First of all, your description of the movie and the director is a bit negative or at least ironic. Is that on purpose? It makes me get the feeling that you actually don't like to work on this movie, but perhaps that's your 'english'. Second: The way you describe the scene is lacking valuable information for me to really give good advise.

Here are some questions: -What's the point of view, and through who's ears is the audience listening?
-Are the (main)characters having fun, or are they neutral?
-Why are they walking across the room?
-Is there a tense atmosphere with drunks or is it a party with laughter?

These things matter to the audience visually, and influence the way they hear the soundscape. So maybe you could analyse the scene a bit more in depth and find a key element that you can attach to an emotional and dynamic soundscape.

Good luck

  • Thank you for your comment.Sorry for the ironic comments towards the director. I know it's quite unprofessional but the thing is that I HAVE to work with him (school). I like him in person but the problem is that he doesn't think about sound at all. It doesn't mean that I don't respect his opinion and/or artistic demands. I really want to do it the way he wants, but he's rather lazy, easily distracted person who's not able to pay attention to necessary details (even the shooting was pain when he really wasn't prepared to do the job). I can upload the scene if you're willing to watch it.
    – daremes
    Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 18:55
  • 2
    Hi, thanks for the explanation. Please don't upload the scene, it's your 'job' to answer those questions. It's good that you explained you're a student, this gives some perspective for me. I don't think you should focus that much on others shortcomings or mistakes. It will get you nowhere. When you become a professional, you'll meet people who can be far worse. This is the time to learn how to deal with that, my best advice is, keep at it, challenge yourself and think outside the box. Good luck. Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 19:10

Probably the more appropriate question to answer isn't why they are moving across the set, but how? What is the camera perspective. is the shot a static shot, or are we on a steadicam?

If you are looking at a tracking shot or a steadicam shot, then it will be entirely appropriate to pan the crowd wall and possbily change the atmos perspective as the shot changes.

You could add in some foley of drinks being poured, clinked together, actor footsteps etc.

I'd be more than happy to take a look at the scene if you want to upload it to YT or Vimeo....

  • thank you, if you want to take a look...youtu.be/yZ8OwjsuW2Q the scene starts after minute or so
    – daremes
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 10:13
  • A few things don't make sense to me - particularly that there are a number of shots where there is definitely dialog interactions occurring between cast - and these shots are focussed and framed. This would normally mean that the audience needs to hear the dialogue. What is the intention here? Was the dialogue recorded - is it being done ADR, or do you have no dialogue for these shots? I'm not sure how the edit can work currently with these shots. It would work better if the shots were in the background or were soft, but to focus them and not provide dialog is dangerous.
    – Mark
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 7:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.