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Post Production Techniques – Soundtrack and Experimentation

Wednesday 16th February 2011
[youtube.com/watch?v=1TSHXtJ4Jds]

Post Production Techniques – Final Titles Version

GarageBand

Up until now I’d been using the original soundtrack for the 1974 Film by David Shire, but for this project the requirement was to either create your own, obtain copyright free music or seek permission to use the music from the artist. As I mentioned in my previous Blog I decided early on to attempt to compose my own soundtrack using GarageBand. I started by familiarising myself with what Loops are included in the standard GarageBand installation and identified a number which I thought would work well and added them to my favourites. But there did not seem to be any good Horn loops and so I had to find these on the Internet. Fortunately I came across some good free loops which I downloaded and installed.

As to the soundtrack itself I already knew that I wanted a fairly contemporary sound for the period in which the film was set and so using the original soundtrack as a guide I started to compose. Sticking to the Films theme, Hijacking of a New York Transit Subway Train I wanted a sound like the sound of the train running on its tracks so a regular and rapid beat seemed essential. With the base sound track in place I then added the horns to tie in with changes on the screen titles. Then lastly I added sounds for the Police car siren, the sounds of the Gun being fired and the sound of the Taxi Cab pulling up to the curb.

Google Maps

I was a bit worried that the scene showing the police car was a little bare and thought it could be improved if I added buildings as a background in which the police car could speed across in front of.  My initial idea was to search for a static image on the internet but to keep the design original I decided instead to use Google Maps Street view and take a snapshot of an actual New York street. The idea to use Google Maps came out of a group discussion during The Short Form Film tutorial. This turned out to be not as easy as I’d thought because in many cases where I looked, the streets were clogged with traffic and pedestrians or the camera perspective was too close to the buildings. I managed to find three in the end which could be suitable and loaded these into Photoshop where I re-worked them and added the stamp filter as the final touch.

After Effects and Premiere Pro CS5

I imported the images in as compositions into AE and tried them as backgrounds for the polices car sequence, finding one that I was happy with I then exported this clip to Premiere and replace the original sequence with the new one.

I then added the new soundtrack and sound effects and exported the final composition as a QuickTime movie and uploaded it to YouTube.

Conclusions/Ideas

  1. It’s hard to know when to stop – it’s very tempting to keep on adding to the titles which would add little to the final video sequence.
  2. Composing a soundtrack is not easy – especially if you are not a musician but GarageBand makes the job easier.
  3. What I have designed is effectively Motion Graphics – an animation
  4. I’m going to look at my Bullitt title sequence and see what adding text adds to the design and also this gives me the opportunity to work with some more of the effects available in After Effects.
  5. I’ve decided this is not going to be the final video as there is plenty of time to experiment and research ideas and so watch this space for the latest updates.
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