We have been featuring tips in audio post production in Pro Tools from Marcelo Cyro from the Oscar nominated animation - The Boy And The World. In this article Marcelo is demonstrating how to create the sense of distance using EQ, Pan, Reverb & Automation in film sound in a live action film 'B-Flat' from Mariana Youssef. Over to you Marcelo...
Today we are looking at techniques to help change the perspective as the shots change around a scene. In days gone by we would have had to play sounds through speakers in a different acoustic to get that change of distance. Nowadays we can create this kind of ambience using digital reverb, EQ and more.
In this scene from the movie B-Flat, all the sound was produced at WeCanDo audio post by myself, and my partners Sergio Fouad, Pedro Lima & Vitor Moter.
In this free video tutorial I show you how to create dimension and depth to the sound with four things: High end frequencies, Reverb, volume and pan position.
High frequencies are very directional because of the short and long wavelength. Cut high frequencies always help to get the sound more distant. Think about when you are outside a stadium, all you hear is a low rumble, because that the high end is damping by the air and some other materials.
Reverb is created when a sound or signal is reflected causing a large number of reflections and delays to build up and then decay as the sound is absorbed by the surfaces of objects in the space – which could include furniture, people, and air. This is most noticeable when the sound source stops and the reflections continue, decreasing in amplitude until they are inaudible. Also the closer you are to the object, the less reverb you hear, because you hear more of the original highs. So to create distance in a track, you should add reverb especially early reflections. These are often recreated by using a bunch of taps off a delay line, with the aim of representing the sound reflected for the first time from all the walls and ceiling, and that is what determines the size of the room or space.
Gain Reduction - The further away you are from a sound the quieter it is
Panning - This will help to locate the character. You need to careful how much panning to use in a cinema because the left, centre and right channels all come from the screen. So if the character or sound source is on screen the panning needs to match what we see. You need consider following with the sound with what you see. But you can always emphasis something beyond what is 'natural' to make the story believable.
In this example from the movie B-Flat - from Mariana Youssef, we need to emphasise the loneliness and isolation of the scene and listen to see how the sound really help to you understand the whole scene.