Side project: Sound for an animated shortfilm. Factory soundscapes

Dimitar Petrov, a good friend of mine studying Animation, asked me to help him with the sound of his new short film. So I thought I could use the blog to organize my thoughts and notes about this project.

After a couple of Skype calls discussing storyboard, characters and the visual part of the film, here is the latest version of the animatic we are working with:

Since most of the film is based in a factory, the soundscape will need to be very ‘machinery’, with repetitive, rhythmic sounds, cold and unhuman. I did a quick search in YouTube for videos of production lines, so I can hear what they sound like and try to think how I could produce a similar result without recording in an actual factory (at least for now, this is not an option).

This video is quite a useful example: it is long, shows different stages in an assembly process, and the sound is of good quality.

Another, similar video – again a car production line:

After a bit more specific search, I found a video from an assembly line in China which gives another perspective to what happens and what you can hear in a factory:

Then at some point, more and more videos of disturbing work conditions started to appear in my search results. It is qute scary to think about it: these are the videos that do get shown and are not censored or deleted; imagine what could it be that we’ll never see, but is happening at this moment… Thousands of people work in dreadful conditions so that the production companies keep the expenses and therefore the product prices low…

…but I will have to keep my thoughts about outsourcing and assembly lines for now, so I can focus back to the film.

I am planning to record whatever sounds I can find in my faculty building and back at home that sound ‘machinery’, repetitive, etc. These include computer hardware, ventilation, kitchen and household appliances, water taps, windows and doors… After our Soundscape project last term, I am a bit more confident about how to collect these sounds and mix them in a way that works.

Another type of sounds we will need in this project (but I haven’t done the research about yet) are steps, at least two types: the main hero’s steps and the guards running. Plus, we will have to recreate in sound a person climbing up a pile of boxes and stumbling. (Or maybe record a person doing that?)

The next important group of sounds are wings, textile rumbling, etc.

For the ‘outside’, colourful scenes, we will need to prepare a totally different soundscape – probably birds tweeting or something else that sounds more ‘natural’. Wind sounds would also be useful, for the scenes where there is flying.

So for now, it is time to stop writing and get on with recording. Wish me luck 🙂

By the way, any ideas about the soundscape would be more than appreciated! Please add a comment with your thoughts 🙂


One thought on “Side project: Sound for an animated shortfilm. Factory soundscapes

  1. Pingback: ‘Cubiculum’–helping an animation film come to life | Rumena Zlatkova. I live to create.

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