The last mention I made of this project was to note that we’d done some recording with the haegeum player from the band 잠비나이 for the soundtrack. Since then, I’ve been off and on constructing music tracks from samples — both of the haegeum, and of other sounds I collected over a 48 hour period: water going down a drainpipe, the hum of car engines, growling, and so on.
As of right now, my work on the audio is done except for one step: the audio post-production work, which we’re scheduled to do on Friday at a studio. (I’ll have more to say about this center, which provides (relatively) low cost audio work for independent filmmakers, after we go there, but my impression from interaction with the sound engineer we talked to on the phone is that he is very professional and helpful.) He also forecast that we’d be at the studio something like ten hours… for a film under 30 minutes long! I expect Friday will be a day full of things for me to learn more about.
While I’m supposed to be credited with the soundtrack for this film, the truth is, the process was much more one of creating soundscapes than of composing music. I did “write” the incantatory/evil music Jo Hyeja plays, but in fact what I wrote was too difficult to play on the haegeum, and we ended up with an approximation. (I expected that to some degree anyway, since I don’t know the instrument much at all.) A lot of the other material is a mixture of music and atmospheric samples and sounds from the realities beyond the window… and if you’ve read Lovecraft’s “The Music of Erich Zann,” you’ll know what I’m talking about. Anyway, I enjoyed creating the soundscapes we’ll be using, though of course I’m dependent on the sound engineer to work with distributing the sound among the various speakers in a theater audio setup for maximum effect. I learned a few interesting tricks about how to get eerie effects out of a sound, without the reason for the eeriness necessarily being apparent to the listener. (Subtle, hopefully-subconscious effects and so on.)
I’m proud to say that my foley work was pretty good: I picked up on (and faked) a lot of sounds we needed to make scenes more vivid, and so far we’ve only needed to grab three samples from freesound.org, an excellent Creative Commons resource (Attribution Only, I think, for most examples) for foley and sound effect clips (as well as some music).
One of the clips we grabbed is musical — women singing into a resonator, that simply sounded too perfect not to use — and the other two are strictly foley effects: a train passing by (because it’s near-impossible to sample the train sounds in Yeokgok on a weekend — it’s just too loud everywhere in the neighborhood, and I didn’t have a boom microphone setup to hoist my mic over the barrier wall along the train line), and a telephone ring sample (because we didn’t risk infringing anyone’s IP with our own ringtones, but also because we needed a ringtone that stands out against other sounds). I’m impressed enough by freesound.org that I plan on contributing some sound effects there from my own foley experiments, when I get time to tidy them up and upload them.
But I don’t have time now: I have classes and Miss Jiwaku has a last burst of sound editing to do before we send the content over to the sound engineer. He is professional and serious enough to want the content before we arrive on Friday, which is heartening. Besides, the audio files need some finessing: they’re a little rough since I was just setting up tracks to be exported individually, and handled within the video app. Sometime next week, I’ll fiddle a little more and get them presentable, and upload some MP3s here for the curious to check out.