260mc: Soundscape task

I really enjoyed this task. I was originally going to choose quite a dark poem about death and have a clock ticking and chimes chiming to imply the impending doom. But then I started creating my own sounds and realized how much fun that could be so decided to make my soundscape something silly and fun too.  Wile. E. Coyote and The Roadrunner cartoons were my inspiration, as their sound effects were always greatly exaggerated and added a lot of humour to the poor coyote’s never ending failure.

cathat

I picked an excerpt from Dr.Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat as it used to be one of my daughter’s favorite stories when she was little and I knew most of it by heart. I think this really helps with reciting a poem or piece of prose. Otherwise you often just sound like you are reading from a page.

poem.jpg

Before I started creating any foley myself I researched Treg Brown who created many of the Looney Tunes sound effects you may remember from cartoons.

Greatly inspired but, sadly, minus a Hawaiian guitar I set to work. As the story is about being stuck in the house on a rainy day the first thing I needed to recreate was rain. I didn’t have a watering can and the famous British weather, for once, wasn’t giving us any actual rain. So I experimented with aiming the shower at different things until I got the right sound. An empty plastic bottle seemed to work best.

rain

For the play ball I found a pom pom covered Christmas bauble which I bounced on a wooden floor and repeatedly caught. It sounded surprisingly like a bouncing ball hitting off a wall, like you would do if you were bored and couldn’t go out to play.

For the Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! part I moved a chair about in time with the words, well not quite in time. I actually had to slow the thuds down slightly, but eventually I got them just right.

For the BUMP I shouldered a wooden door and then added some reverb and bass. This is my favorite sound that I created as I can imagine Wile.E.Coyote slamming into something and making just this noise.

coyote

For the Ta Da noise I folded up some paper like a fan and blew into it and then added a few audio effects.

And to finish I added the theme tune to Bod.

If I could change anything about my soundscape it would be the rain track I made. The shower made a great rain sound but it also produced an annoying background hiss from the water pressure. Not having much experience with sound editing and using Audition I had no idea how to isolate the hiss and remove it. This, in turn, meant I couldn’t bring the sound of the rain up very loud without the hiss making my whole soundscape sound like a poor quality recording. This was confirmed when I played it to my task group who all thought the rain effect was actually just static in the background that needed removing.

Next time I think a child’s watering can pouring water from a height onto some plastic sheeting would create a far more natural sound or I could even try the bacon frying trick we learnt in lectures last week.

bacon

I would also be braver with my sounds and include more of them. Both the bouncing ball and the BUMP almost got missed by the audience as they were so quiet. You add a sound for a reason so it is important that your audience hears it, otherwise they miss the mood or message you are trying to convey. I think I need to think a little more theatrically with my soundscape and not tone everything down quite so much.

Next term I plan to dedicate some time each week to using Audition and watching the tutorials on Lynda.com and continue collecting sounds around me to make my own Sound Bank. Hopefully this will help me improve my sound editing skills while also allowing me to have fun with sounds until I can produce something Treg Brown himself would be proud of!

Bibliography

fartfx3 (2009a) CRASH! BANG! BOOM! The wild sounds of Treg brown part1. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqaeds-wO4A (Accessed: 8 November 2016).

fartfx3 (2009b) CRASH! BANG! BOOM! The wild sounds of Treg brown part2. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6IeTsHfcvU (Accessed: 12 November 2016).

Loren (1998) Homemade sound effects with big-budget impact. Available at: https://www.videomaker.com/article/c9/3186-homemade-sound-effects-with-big-budget-impact (Accessed: 8 December 2016).

Seuss (1999) The cat in the hat. 5th edn. New York: Random House USA Children’s Books.

Sound FX challenge: Bacon vs. Rain- VideoBlocks (2015) Available at: http://content.videoblocks.com/stock-videos/video-gallery/bacon-vs-rain/ (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

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