Yellow Velvet – Short Film Sound Design

“As sound designers we bring life to worlds that would otherwise be without an audible character, stuck in the silent void of space.” (A Sound Effect, 2017) This quote really spoke to me while I was researching into sound design, and made me want to design the best soundscape I could for this film.

During this production I worked as the Assistant Director and Sound Editor on this film. During the pre production I worked closely with Ellie who was the director and Tom who was the cinematographer to put together the shot list and storyboard, and I worked with Aurora to help her complete the risk assessments for the locations. I also suggested a few filming locations which I thought would work well for the piece.

I started looking for royalty free music that I could use in the piece that would work well. I wanted the sound design to have a comic theme to ensure to people that this is a comedy film and not a weird romance.

For the first scene I found a piece of music that sounded like it could be coming off the radio. I used the site Purple Planet which has a lot of royalty free music, and found a piece I was happy with. However when it came to putting music to the film, I decided to leave the cafe and shop scenes with just folly background noise which I built up using several different cafe noises and supermarket sound effects. The microphone wasn’t on during the filming so I had to find foley sounds for Rupert’s actions. “You know music and sound design can be very powerful with how you use it but also the absence of sound can say a lot as well.” (Wan, 2016)

I decided I wanted a heavenly choir type music for the shot where Rupert discovers the Banana, I couldn’t find a piece that was exactly what I wanted but found the most similar, which fitted the shot perfectly, I thought that this would be the point that pushes through that it was a comedy film, and this piece of music will tell the audience exactly that.

For the montage is where I wanted a comic feel score. I found a piece that had the description of a child running around a playground. I listened to the piece and found it also had some dramatic moments, which worked well for the end of the montage. The piece was also too long, so I imported the song into Adobe audition and remixed it so the dramatic moments were when I needed them to compliment what was on screen, and so it was the correct length needed.

For the sex scene, I knew tom had adjusted the light so that on screen it would look slightly like an 80’s porn film. I had recently watched King Cobra (dir. Justin Kelly, 2016) which tells the story of a gay porn star who came to fame after it was announced he was underage. The film perfectly recreated the feel of an 80’s porn with its music, and this inspired me to do the same.

I found a piece of music which worked very well for what I was trying to achieve. I had to import it into Adobe Audition so I could remix it to be the length needed. I imported the piece into the film and it worked amazingly. We decided to keep the final shot of the film with no music and just the sound of the bin slamming.

I put together the credits in Adobe After Effects, which I hadn’t really used before. I learnt how to make text wobble to re-push the message that it was a comedy film. I wanted to push this with the music too and I found a track called “Mr Jelly Rolls” on Purple Planet. I decided it probably wouldn’t work for the film, but when I showed it to the rest of the group they all agreed that it worked.

Sadly due to difficulty we had in casting I only had a few hours in which I could edit the film. But I feel over all I did a good job. If I were to do it again, I would have tried to ensure I had at least a week to edit the audio so that I could spend a few hours building up each scenes audio, and look at more than just a couple of tracks. I am overall very happy with the end result of film, and I believe that the music adds to the silliness of the film, and if it didn’t have a soundtrack the piece could come across as some kind of weird fetish love story rather than the romantic comedy that it is meant to be.

 

Bibliography

A Sound Effect. (2017). Sound Design Guide: Emotional States & Sound Design | A Sound Effect. [online] Available at: https://www.asoundeffect.com/sound-design-guide-emotional-states-sound-design/ [Accessed 3 May 2017].

Weintraub, S. (2017). James Wan on ‘The Conjuring 2,’ Superheroes, and His Guilty Pleasure Movies. [online] Collider. Available at: http://collider.com/james-wan-the-conjuring-2-inteview/ [Accessed 9 May 2017].

King Cobra (2005) Directed by Justin Kelly [Film]. United States: Rabbit Bandini Productions [Accessed 2 April 2017].

 

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