Post-mortem of The Hospital | A Positive Learning Experience

As it's now been two weeks since I finished working through my first interdisciplinary project 'The Hospital', I can now divulge my thoughts on the project and what I think I learnt from the whole experience. Learning by doing has always been the best way for me to retain information when learning a new skill, and that's exactly what I did this time around. I began the project with 3 hours of House MD, and a Fender Telecaster. That gave me a place to start at least, as I was not given any material to reference. In retrospect, the positive for that experience is I was forced to use the emotion in the film to make the score, and was given full creative license. 

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After the main hook and piano motif were written, Liam Lyttle came into the project to lend a hand in the arrangement and automation of the session. I was really pleased to have Liam come into the project and was excited to see what he could do and how his techniques would influence the project. It was also good to have another audio friend on the project, so I could get instant feedback from a subjective ear. 

Importing the Dialogue

The composition was over in a matter of days, and we spent a week mixing and adding automation and effects to the track. One thing that made this process more challenging was the quality of the audio. It had been poorly recorded and in my opinion needed to be fixed. This made composing hard, because I was fixated on the errors in the dialogue. To get this done, I asked the producer of the film, Simon James if he could send me the individual microphone recordings. He agreed and sent me them in a format I hadn't heard of before, and I was unsure if OMF files (Open Media Framework) would work in Pro Tools. Fortunatley, I found out this was possible with some research. I found this video on YouTube which made the process really easy. I was also given the information I needed to make sure the audio would appear in the right spot when importing. I think this was a really valuable skill to pick up and made the process of cleaning audio much more satisfying. 

What Tools did I Use?

Without a doubt the workhorse plugin for this project was the Izotope D-Noise with some help from the standard EQ and compression plugins in Pro Tools 12. It was great using this, because it could take out sounds that were unnatural and got in the way without affecting the tone the actors were delivering. I found myself using this plugin for almost every scene, partly because of the air conditioning in the background or an actor would drop something on a microphone. Towards the end of the project I was obsessed with eliminating all noise, but would have overused the plugin and made the dialogue even worse. Now I've used this plugin, I find it essential in the editing process, so I'll be purchasing the whole Ozone bundle by the end of the year.  

I'm so happy I got to have this experience, even if sometimes it might seem like a waste of time (but i'm not). If I get challenged, my first thoughts are often frustration, but I always learn something I need to know. This is my biggest hurdle in audio production, is I can't see the positive straight away, but each time I am challenged I get slightly better at seeing it in real time. I hope and I know I will be challenged again on many and all of my future projects. 

 

References

Price, M. (2018). OMF File - What is an OMF File? How To Use An OMF File.. - Matt Price | The London Sound MixerMatt Price | The London Sound Mixer. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from http://soundrolling.com/define/omf-file-omf-file-use-omf-file/

Pro Tools 10 AAF/OMF Export/Import Tutorial. (2018). YouTube. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M769Nk3_fuo

Shop Fender | Electric Guitars, Acoustics, Bass, Amps & More. (2018). Shop.fender.com. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from http://shop.fender.com/en-AU/start

Shore, D., Laurie, H., Epps, O., & Leonard, R. (2018). House (TV Series 2004–2012)IMDb. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0412142/

Voice De-Noise Plug-in | iZotope RX Vocal Denoiser. (2018). Izotope.com. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from https://www.izotope.com/en/products/repair-and-edit/rx/features/voice-de-noise.html