All in the Family
Episode 6 wasn't so much about big chases or explosions, but more everyday activities while the story and characters are flushed out further. Things like a walk through town on a beautiful day, trying to negotiate one's way past a "bouncer" of sorts, a little love-making, and a family dinner.
Unfortunately, for Jered, the main course for the meal was intended to be himself. And unfortunately for us, we found at the last minute that we were lacking some gutteral noises and whines for the ghouls when they are interrupted by Arianne. Since their family unit structure resembled mine at this time (although my family would never munch on Jered unless he was cooked at least medium-well), I decided to enlist their help and give my wife and 10-month old son their machinima debut.
Getting angry hissing sounds from my wife was surprisingly easy; I just told her to think about how she feels when I've spent several long nights in a row on machinima work. And the boy was most cooperative as well; he's quite the talker right now, and the unintelligible nature of his babbling served our purpose well. Catch him when he's due for a nap, and the noises take on a decidedly grumpy tone, which was just what the doctor ordered.
Then I simply cut up the raw sounds, inserted where needed into the film, and ran them through the same effects used on the ghoul voices in Episode 5.
I had told my wife that it would be an unheralded role, something that Hugh and I would know about but no one else would probably ever catch in the credits. I was wrong.
Nothing Like the Real Thing
Jered awakens to find he's in the buff in front of a bit of an audience, and he goes scrambling off the bed for cover. The sound here needed to be very communicative, since this was one of those things which happened off camera. After trying several sound composites, none of which were working, it occurred to me that I had a few advantages: 1) My home is almost 100% stone tile floors, much like most of Arianne's room. 2) My bedroom is within 15 feet of this little home studio.
Thank goodness I had enough sense to buy some longer mic cables; I had no difficulty getting the mic set up around the corner in the room, and the RODE NT1-A is delightfully good at picking up even the subtlest of room noise. So I turned down the bed, stripped down to my skivvies, pressed record, ran around the corner and hopped onto the bed, in much the same kind of position Jered sat up into. Three or four takes of quickly shuffling off the bed onto the floor, and I had it. Trim. Paste. Done.
The skivvies thing wasn't just method acting, by the way. I wanted that "fleshy" sound when Jered hit the floor, whether it was coming from my feet or knees. And I couldn't risk polluting the sound with that of clothing movement, which would have made it sound less authentic.
Too Much of a Good Thing
I really enjoy creating ambient soundscapes with signs of life in them. When Jered is getting ready to head down the alley to face the doorman, he sees a mangy dog creeping around. We never see this mutt again, but I found myself wondering, where could that dog have gone? So, you'll notice on the approach to the doorman, our canine friend is still there, down a passageway somewhere, barking as dogs so love to do.
I ended up getting really elaborate with it, imagining that the dog was barking because he saw Jered pass by, then was barking when he heard the knock, barking when the doorman appeared, really going wild with it. And much as we feel about it when we encounter a dog of this sort in real life, Hugh commented that there was too much of it, and basically wished it could shut up a bit. Thankfully, it's considerably easier to hush a virtual alley dog than I've found it to be in reality.
Not that I spend a lot of time in dark alleys, but you know what I mean.