THE SOUND OF CAPITAL
BBC new Drama Capital is edited by an ex-colleague of mine Philip Kloss and the Dialogue editor is by co-incidence the man who designed our Sound Effect Software we use here at LSFM.
This recent article is a fascinating insight into some of the sound post challenges.
To create an authentic soundscape for BBC drama Capital, dubbing mixer Howard Bargroff took a trip to the part of south London in which it is set,
writes George Bevir [from an article first published in Broadcast Online]
TX 9pm, Wednesdays, from 24 November, BBC1
Length 3 x 60 minutes
Dubbing mixer/ FX editor Howard Bargroff
Foley editor Stuart Bagshaw
Dialogue editor Peter Gates (two episodes); Michele Woods (one episode)
ADR supervisor Kallis Shamaris
FX editor Mike Wabro (one episode)
Picture post Technicolor
Director Euros Lyn
Writer John Lanchester
Lesley Sharp (Mary)
Stepping out of the studio to capture authentic audio is not always without peril, no matter how inconspicuous the individual or discreet the recording device. A few years ago, dubbing mixer Howard Bargroff needed some crowd noise for a rap album he was working on but a trip to a pub at closing time to record the sound of a pack of people nearly resulted in him being “lynched” by the suspicious boozers.
“You have to be careful you don’t look like a psychopath, but people can still be suspicious,” he says.
Fortunately for Bargroff, his trip to Clapham to capture the sounds of south London for BBC drama Capital passed by with little more than a few sideways glances.
The three-parter, which is based on John Lanchester’s novel, is a portrait of a road in Clapham that is transformed by rising property prices and then rocked by an anonymous hate campaign. Bargroff ’s brief was to give London a presence so that the city becomes a character in its own right and “leaks” in to every scene.
“It’s a contemporary piece about the gentrification of London, so I went to south London and made a bunch of recordings,” says Bargroff. “As I moved around Clapham, I saw microcosms of the plot – people interacting with builders, posh mums coming out of buildings, and so on. It was as though the book was coming alive and I was recording it.”
Bargroff says his recordings, made using a Zoom H5, became the “sonic backbone” of the series, comprising around 50% of the background sound.
“We used lots of bridging sounds, such as sirens, between cuts. At first I thought the recordings were a luxury, but they soon became a necessity; those recordings of Clapham High Street, of a park, of close and distant traffic, planes passing overhead and sirens became themes throughout the episodes. It helped to create the feeling that in London you are never more than a few streets away from a busy high street.”
Bargroff, who worked at De Lane Lea, Future Post, Videosonics and Pepper before going freelance, waved goodbye to the city a couple of years ago when he moved from Battery Studios in Willesden to a studio attached to his home in Woburn Sands. Since then, through his company Sonorous, he has mixed both series of Broadchurch (ITV) and From There To Here (BBC1) from home, and as a freelancer completed the pre-mix for Fortitude (Sky Atlantic) and Luther (BBC1) in his home studio.
Bargroff ’s standard approach for an hour of drama is to spend three days premixing at home, followed by two client-attended days at a dry-hire facility in London. That means he needs to keep his home set-up as up-to-date as possible so that it is compatible with other facilities (see box) and he can quickly pick up where he left off. For Capital, he completed the final mix with director Euros Lyn at the “excellent” Hackenbacker, which also provided the ADR and Foley.
“Dru Masters created a fantastic score and delivered it quite early so I had time to weave it and the music treatments in. That meant when I turned up with Euros at Hackenbacker on the first day, we could play the whole episode, so we had quite a lot of review time. I like the three-day premix because it means you can turn up with something cohesive. I try to protect that 3:2 approach; most jobs fit that template and clients are usually happy to accommodate it.”
CAPITAL KEY KIT
Bargroff’s home studio is equipped with Avid Pro Tools HDX2, an Icon D-Command 16-fader desk and PMC twotwo active monitors. Plug-ins are “industry standard”, including Audio Ease Altiverb, Waves WNS, iZotope RX, ReVibe and Speakerphone.
Projects are transferred between facilities using portable drives, with Cronosynch software to synchronise work completed at home with a transfer drive and a local drive in a dry-hire facility. “I keep the transfer drive synched to both ends so at any point during the job I have a mirror of the media in two locations, which is great for back-up. At the end of the job, everything is backed up to a Raid system for archiving.”
Bargroff also uses the Soundminer librarian program for managing his library of work. “It can scan multiple terabytes in a few hours and give you complete breakdown, or you can do a keyword search. All my libraries are well organised, but without that software I wouldn’t be able to find a thing.”
(The copyright to this content lies with Broadcast Online and is reproduced here under educational licence)
Original article is here http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/techfacils/capital-bbc1/5097498.article
We get all the best visitors to Lincoln School of Film and Media.
This is Adrian Bell, a Film and TV recordist, just back from filming the new DaVinci Code film ‘Inferno’ directed by Ron Howard.
Check out his CV at www.adrianbell.net He won a BAFTA for best sound in 2014 for Dancing on the Edge
He’s in town to be interviewed by BBC Radio Lincs tomorrow about the feature film ‘Everest’ he worked on earlier in 2014 Directed by Baltasar Kormakur, and yes I tool the oportunity of giving him a tour and collared him to come back and talk to students some time soon. He’s on BBC Lincolnshire sometime after 11.00am tomorrow
Adrian lives in London but is originally from Lincolnshire. He has a wealth of experience and is keen to come and contribute to the Audio Production course content if he can.
here’s a short photo slideshow
X FACTOR 2014
VT Editors, often have to wrestle with a huge amount of sound information. Especially on shows that have discreet microphones all over the place – such as the X Factor.
Editor Janci Kovic recently did this screengrab of his final timeline for a Bootcamp Episode of X Factor. This was bootcamp the episode after auditions.
Having the ability to cut off words, change the order of what judges are saying and soloing the backstage reactions at the same time was very helpful to get the story done.
THE AUDIO TRACKS SHOWN INCLUDE:
Jury 4ch’s, crowd 2ch’s, singers port, mic and his instrument 3ch’s, band 12ch’s, backstage with moderator 3ch’s, stage mix 2ch’s, music 6ch’s, sfx 4ch’s, vo and other ports.
THE VIDEO was recorded on QUADRUS
Richard Hastings-Hall visited Audio Production level 2 students today to talk about ‘dubbing mixing’, in particular mixing for medium budget daytime drama and the technical and creative constraints that working on shows like this can have. They are often handled very differently to other dramas, documentaries and television series etc.
For example the directors of these daytime dramas are not paid to be present at the final mixing session – it’s only the Exec Producer who signs off the mix.
Richard brought his Pyramix set-up (made by Emerging Technologies) with him which sadly did have some technical issues – but this was a good example of how ‘anything that can go wrong – will go wrong’. A thankyou must go to Luke Johnston who showed his skill in drive re-mapping!.
Some students found it reassuring that it wasn’t ‘just them’
Richard mentioned metering and loudness, and the need for good adherence to technical standards.
To find out more about the BBC delivery requirements look here
Richard revealed that often with quick turn around drama shows like Doctors – the sync sound recordings are not always perfect. the crew often doesn’t have time to go again. So very often
The dubbing team are left to ‘fix it in post’. Alternative lines of dialogue are hunted down from the rushes, smoothing techniques are used and generally the pressures are such that all this must be done in one 12 hour session. No foley ar ADR sessions are possible.
“In Doctors we don’t have time for foley sessions, so we have to be very resourceful when it comes to our use of time. Much of what we do is fixing problems”
Louise Wilcox, another dubbing mixer was featured in an article in the Institute of Professional Sound Website which may be of interest
On another occasion during a Jane Austin themed episode he went overboard on a fight scene and had to remix it due to a topical news event which happened close to transmission.
Richard also talked about Brinkburn Street for BBC, which presented some unusual sound dillemas, as it was set in both the present day and the 1930’s so sometimes there were horses and carts outside the houses and sometimes jet engines and traffic. See iPLayer
Richard has been a dubbing mixer for over 20 years and has mixed 717 episodes of Doctors. He is currently freelance, based in Nottingham.
Our visiting lecturer Grant Bridgeman is currently shooting a feature film called The Falling, directed by Carol Morley.
Set for release in 2014 in cinemas, THE FALLING tells the story of Lydia, the troubled girl at the centre of a mysterious fainting epidemic, who is determined to discover the cause of the malady spreading through her British all-girl school in 1969, a year when the whole world seems poised on the brink of change. Following her films BAFTA-nominated The Alcohol Years, Edge, and the critically acclaimed Dreams of a Life, writer/director Carol Morley presents her skewed and dream-like coming of age story THE FALLING, with director of photography Agnès Godard (Sister, Beau Travail).
THE FALLING is a BBC Films, BFI production in association with Lipsync, a Cannon and Morley/Independent production in association with Boudica Red, a Carol Morley film.
The film was developed with the BFI Film Fund. Written and directed by Carol Morley, Produced by Cairo Cannon and Luc Roeg, Line Producer Donall Mccusker, Executive Producers Lizzie Francke, Christine Langan, Philip Herd, Andrew Orr, Norman Merry, Peter Hampden, Rebecca Long and Ian Davies.
You can keep up with the film’s Twitter feed here @TheFalling_Film
Grant Bridgeman’s Blog is here – and he is also on twitter @Grantsound
Grant Bridgeman is a familiar face around the university these days. He comes in to deliver workshops, masterclasses and lectures for our level 1 and 2 students.
In these sessions Grant draws on his experience and expertise to cover many aspects of working with audio for film and TV. This covers location sound recording, sound design, foley and sound effects capture, workflow and expert Pro Tools tuition in all aspects of audio post-production (track laying, dialogue editing, dialogue replacement and mixing etc.).
However, at level 3, Grant’s lecture covers the many aspects of his job other than the sound bit. In his Everything But The Sound lecture, Grant explains the day to day activities of the freelance audio professional. From filling in tax returns, to invoicing clients, to repairing kit, to archiving and accounting, to maintaining contacts and CV information. All the stuff that a student about to leave university needs to know, including some of the more difficult aspects such as no sick pay, no annual leave and sometimes wondering where the next job might come from.
Despite all this, it’s obvious that Grant loves his job and he’s a very enthusiastic lecturer. In fact, once he gets going, he’s very difficult to stop! We could definitely have done with an extra hour for this session. 🙂
Grant’s last job was as the sound recordist on ITV’s Mr Selfridge. For an interview with Grant about his experiences on this job please click here.
The sound of Skyfall
The SoundWorks Collection dives into the latest installment in the long-running saga based on Ian Fleming’s James Bond character.
Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty and Jarhead) brings the audience an entirely new storyline to the Bond character in “Skyfall”.
Exploring the sound and music of the film we talk with Scott Millan (Sound Re-recording Mixer), Greg Russell (Sound Re-recording Mixer),
Karen Baker Landers (Supervising Sound Editor), and Per Hallberg (Supervising Sound Editor).
Curiously, the word silent is an anagram of the word listen! In this edition of Something Understood the poet Seán Street reflects upon what can be heard in silence and the difference in its nature from stillness – the difference, perhaps, between doing and being.
Using poetry, prose and music, as well as some extracts of innovative international radio, Seán explores the positive and negative aspects of the subject, the ‘magic silence of possibility’, the peace and calm it brings in a noisy world, the silence of loneliness, alienation – and when keeping silent is sometimes tantamount to complicity. ‘The words “Silent” and “Listen” are anagrams of one another,’ says Seán. ‘That is perhaps very significant. I want to explore as far as I can the poetry that lies in silence, the point where sound and silence come together, as in the tolling of a bell, the place matter and spirit merge.’
With reference to the words of Rupert Brooke, John Berger and Rachel Muers and music by John Cage, Bob Chilcott, Jonathan Harvey, Erberhard Weber, Pink Floyd and Miles Davis.
Listen to the programme here
Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree Production for BBC Radio 4
Blog Post by Audio Production alumnus Matt North:
Having finished my degree in Audio Production, I am currently working for Ideal Shopping Direct as a Technical Operator. The company broadcasts over four channels and its main channel, Ideal World, is live 17 hours a day. My main responsibilities within my role are varied and alongside operating audio for the shows, I am learning new skills in different roles such as Floor Technician, Video Controller and Camera Operation. The Floor Technician role is especially interesting as I am learning new skills in lighting television sets, testing audio and visual feeds and dealing first-hand with presenters and guests alike.
The audio role within the company is very enjoyable, consisting of running the desk and ensuring all audio is to a suitable level for broadcast, as well as playing out sound effects and VT.
Whilst I am very much enjoying my work, I intend to gain as many skills and as much experience as possible within this role and then potentially move to a full-time Audio Operator role. Although I am doing some audio operation as a Technical Operator, I feel it would be beneficial for my CV and career to possess the official title of Audio Operator for future endeavours.
Ultimately, I intend to pursue my passion for film & TV sound that I developed whilst studying Audio Production. Since finishing my degree, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work as a Sound Recordist, as well as complete audio post-production on a short film with a former graduate from Lincoln, Michael Beddoes. I spoke to him after his guest lecture for R&D and he invited me to assist him on his project entitled ‘Breaking’, which has been entered into the Virgin Media Shorts competition and has received great attention. It was an invaluable experience, teaching me more about the location recording process and I am extremely proud of the finished product.
Through working on ‘Breaking’, I was asked by the film’s producer (Adam Spinks) to be in charge of sound on his upcoming feature film ‘Survivors’, which is being shot over 11 days in September in Surrey. The film has been crowd-funded and is being produced on a budget of around £4000. This was a fantastic opportunity that I could not turn down and since accepting the role, Adam has also asked me to complete post-production work on another short film he has done – and this was my first official paid freelance role. Although it was only a small amount, it is definitely a milestone in my career.
I am currently using my wages from working at Ideal World to buy my first personal location recording kit for the ‘Survivors’ shoot. I have upgraded to Pro Tools 10 and I am also currently enhancing the knowledge I gained from my degree in audio production for film through reading and testing the equipment I have purchased.
After the ‘Survivors’ shoot, I intend to apply for more freelance roles within the industry to enhance my audio portfolio, whilst continuing to gain experience in live TV sound at Ideal World. Afterwards, I hope to move to Manchester or London and apply for work in Audio Post-Production facilities whilst continuing with freelance audio work.