As mentioned in the previous post, Foley recording was the most relied upon and therefore important method of Post Production utilised in the realisation of the soundtrack for Big Buck Bunny.
All sounds were recorded at home in my home studio (bedroom) due to the convenience of having so many potential sound sources to hand, allowing for experimentation which could not have been possible in the studio at University. Also living nearly 30 miles away from University makes working there quite tricky, therefore recording at home allowed me to gain time which would have otherwise been lost to commuting. Most of the time I repeated myself performing actions to create sounds numerous to times to provide variations of the same sound to allow for great flexibility at the mixing stage.
My home recording set up consists of a Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 Audio Interface, HP dv6-2020sa laptop running Pro Tools 10. Two cardiod capacitor microphones were used: a ADK A-51 and an original Studio Projects B1. The ADK A-51 provided a well balanced warm overall sound whereas the Studio Projects B1 appeared to capture more high frequency detail which was suitable for certain tasks.
Here I hope to provide some insightful details about the raw sounds which were recorded and synced with the actions and objects within the animation:
STAPLE SOUNDS – Sounds which proved adequate for many different applications
Initially I experimented with a number of objects to find sounds which would best enhance the movement of fruits and nuts flying through the air on the way to hitting BBB on the head after being thrown by the gang of deranged ‘critters’. By waiving these objects fast in front of the microphone ‘whoosh’ sounds were created. Objects used included:
- 1m Ruler
- Guitar Cables of varying lengths
Each object produced ‘whooshes’ of differing tone and also pitch. The speed at which the objects were wafted also effected perceived pitch. When arranging these sounds I applied higher pitched whooshes to objects on screen which appeared to move at faster speed.
As mentioned these sounds worked well for when BBB is pelted with pears and acorns amongst other things, but it turned out that they fitted during other sequences. On analysing the final soundtrack ‘whoosh’ noises when characters and other objects move at ultra-speed to eccentuate their quickness, for example:
- As an arrow flies through the air ()
- When Frank, Rinky and Gimera appear from behind a rock ()
- When wooden spikes spring out from the ground
The are many instances of characters receiving quite nasty blows to the head or body and so I experimented with different items to create sounds which would portray the force at which characters were being hit. The cartoon-style of the animation allowed to me to veer away from attempting to achieve realistic impact sounds and instead be more creative and flamboyant in my approach. The following sounds were recorded for the creation of impact noises:
- Doors slamming
- Wooden bed frame being punched
- Apples being punched, slapped and hit with a short didgeridoo
- Wooden wardrobe being punched
- Wicker desk being punched
- Wooden draws being shut
- Hard guitar case being punched
Some of these noises would also help to strengthen the sounds used for ‘Falling noises’.
Flying objects ultimately have to come to ground and some point and so noises had to be created for each instance an object fell and hit the floor. Methods to generate these included:
- Dropping and apple on a leaf (this was for specific moment at 00:00:00:00)
- Dropping apples, clementines and juggling balls on carpeted floor
- Dropping clementines on cardboard placed on carpeted floor to achieve rolling and skidding effect ()
In BBB there were around 3 different terrains to recreate: Grass, Dry-mudded ground and tree trunks/branches. For the grass I placed leaves collected from my garden on the floor of my room which I then pressed with my hands to mimic the action on screen. With BBB being much larger than the other animals I actually formed a fist and hit the leaves with increased force. This was the same for the ground in the forest floor for which I found the carpet already in place in my room worked well. I also used the sound made from tapping a tea towel overlayed on the carpet.
For the sound of Frank and Rinky scuttling up and down trees I tapped a piece of cardboard with my fingers, and also sellotaped pens to my finger for a more ‘scratchy’ effect.
‘Grass’ sounds were also used in instances where objects fell from height on to the grass on screen. Louder, more forceful ‘forest floor’ foot noises also doubled up as extra ‘falling noises’ which were layered to reinforce the huge impact of larger objects such as the massive rock at 00:00:00:00, the tree trunk at 00:00:00:00 and the slow motion falling apple at 00:00:00:00.
SPECIFIC SOUNDS- One-off instances and moments which required more intricate design.
1. Real-time wings = Rapidly folding and unfolding a paper receipt.
2. Slow motion wings = Wafting boxer shorts
Frank murdering the butterfly
- Rock ‘bang’= Garden pebbles knocked together
- Squashed butterfly = Squashing penne pasta on hardback book for crunch effect
- Movement of Frank’s arm/leg = ‘Throw’ noise (see above)
- Extra thud = ‘Footstep on forest floor’ noise (see above)
Bow and Arrow Sounds
- Arrow hitting tree = Twanged ruler + Potato stabbed with pencil
- Arrow scraping against bow = Rubbing drumsticks together
- Bow string creaks = Sitting down slowly on leather sofa
- Letting go of bow = Stretching and plucking elastic designed for clothes making + noise of wafting a drum stick fast in front of microphone
- Arrow flying past camera = Small guitar cable wafted fast
- Arrow breaking vines = Snapping bambo branches and leaves
Extra Gimera Sounds
- Eating nuts = Eating BBQ flavoured coated peanuts loudly
- Picking up nut = Clasping apple with hand
- Folding out wings = Opening Chinese-style fan
- Flapping wings = Wafting boxer shorts
- Pooing on Frank’s head = Squeezing shower gel packaging to capture hole opening noise + Excessive amounts of soap squirted on hands, then squeezing hands together to create squelch noise + Mouth noises to infer bird passing wind.
Extra Frank Sounds
- Opening flying membrane = Opening tea-towel
- Flying/ gliding = wafting tea towel incessantly
- Apple breaking off branch once Frank lands on it = Snapping twig from garden
Extra Bunny Sounds
- Neck creak = breaking a bunch of spaghetti in half
- Picking up apple = Clasping apple with hand
- Eating apple = Eating apple
- Touching tree = Touching and stroking wicker desk
Extra Rinky Sounds
Rinky hit by giant slow moving swing sequence
- Spinning acorn = short guitar cable span around + manipulation in Adobe Audition ( see .. for details)
Emergence of Wooden Spikes Sequence
- Movement of spikes = Layering of different ‘throwing noises’ (see above)
- Leaves flying = Sound of leaves being dropped + Grass footstep noises (see above)
- Apple getting spiked = Potato stabbed with pencil
Bunny ‘Rocky’ Montage
- Bunny breaking branch = Gripping garden brush + Rustling and breaking bamboo shoots + Breaking branch off fallen tree (on location in Macclesfield Forest- see …)
- Bunny putting cream under eyes = Excessive amounts of soap squirted on hands which was stroked with single finger to mimic on screen technique
- Bunny scraping carving arrows = Knife scraped on chopping board
- Pulling rope/ vine = Running fabric braided tweed covered cable through hands + Pulling and clasping bamboo branches
- Touch arrow leaf = Grasping leaf from garden
- Touch point of arrow = Touching the side of Diet Coke can
- Placing arrow against stone = Tap drum stick against wooden bed frame
Apple Falling in slow motion
- Falling motion = EQ’d and pitch-shifted white noise + EQ’d breath noise + Pitch-shifted orchestral cymbals ( see … for details of manipulation)
- Impact = *Pitch-shifted Timpani drum hit (see ….)