Over the past few weeks I have been ‘splitting hairs’ somewhat trying to choose a film to produce sound for. After meeting with my project supervisor Ben Shirley, it was decided that the film should be between 10 and 20 minutes in length, with ‘close to 10’ being preferred due to the large workload that will be involved when including work for subjective testing.
What I believe would be the ideal scenario, when considering this as an opportunity to build my portfolio, is if I could find a film maker with a film nearing completion that requires a hefty amount of audio post production. That way, when complete, the film could be released and showcased as a completely new work. Collaborating with other people within the industry would also allow me to form connections from which additional work opportunities may arise. Unfortunately finding a suitable film with a duration of 10 minutes which is at the specific development stage described above has proven very tough.
In order to showcase my production skills to the maximum the film needs to provide plenty of opportunity for me to create sounds via different methods including foley, mono/stereo/surround microphone techniques, and electronic sound synthesis. Many of the films I have considered unfortunately do not supply enough action or variation on-screen, and this no doubt is due to the fact that due to copyright laws I am only able to work with films which have had their copyright terms relaxed from “All Rights Reserved” through the allocation of a Creative Commons Licence.
After trying a variety sources such as local independent film companies, amateur production groups and film student work, I have decided to opt for a film which has already been released: sacrificing the chance to work on something new for the opportunity to get started straight away on a quality film. Big Buck Bunny is a 10 minute animation produced by the Blender Foundation to validate and improve the 3D open source content creation pipeline with Blender. It is a cartoon-style movie which tells the story of a giant rabbit who finds his happy sunny morning walk being ruined by three small rapscallion rodents. Doing sound design for an animation arguably has some advantages over sound design for film when it comes to scope for creativity as these films have been made in the knowledge that all sound has to be created post-production (apart from when the film is made to the soundtrack). This is particularly true for sci-fi/abstract animations which features scenery, objects and characters far removed from reality. Big Buck Bunny is not abstract, but does feature some hyper-real scenery and cartoon-like action which will prove fun and challenging to design audio for. The wide open field, and leafy forest environments provide lots of scope for surround atmos. My one reservation is that there is not very much variation in terms of environment. Having scenes which contrast, for example tranquil scenes and busy, action packed scenes, might prove helpful for subjective testing. Comparing the immersive capabilities of stereo and binaural audio for very busy scenes and more tranquil scenes could provide interesting results to see if there is any difference.
Overall I am happy with the film I have chosen, although it remains to be seen if I will stay this way… I am awful when it comes to decisions such as this! For now I will try not to worry too much and begin the ‘Spotting’ process. You can see Big Buck Bunny for yourself below, it’s well worth a watch!