Starship Troopers: Foley Recording

Last night the team and I had our second recording session in the C24, recording sounds for foley as well as a second voice actor doing lines for Zim and some additional recording for sound design purposes.

Zim Recording #2

19401044_10156385372483009_344758694_o.jpgWe started with recording our second iteration of Zim’s lines, which was done by voice actor Jonathon Bonham. After this recording we decided collectively to use Jonathon’s lines for Zim in the replacement, and Cameron’s lines from the previous session for Rico. Jonathon had previously only done tamer voices, mainly narration-type lines, so he was excited for this opportunity to showcase his range.


Foley Recording

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Footsteps

For foley, we brought up our previously-constructed asset list on the computer screen and recorded them in roughly the order in the pre-production plan for the session. We used the Shure SM57 for the high-frequency sounds and the AT2050 for sounds that required a more diverse frequency response. The first step in recording foley is usually always footsteps, and there’s a good reason for that. That reason being that footsteps are the most recurring sound in a lot of film and television projects, and as a result it sets a good baseline amplitude for the foley editor to work around.

For our footstep sounds, we used the rock surface in the C24 as well as the surface of the floor in the live room. The rock surface was used for the start of the scene where a platoon is marching past the obstacle course, and the floor of the live room was used for the soldiers running up and down the ramp after getting their orders from Zim and Rico.

To achieve the sound of a squad or platoon rather than an individual, we decided that Pete and I would take turns acting out the footsteps for some natural variation in pitch (due to the different shoes we were wearing) and timing. We recorded multiple takes which can be layered in the editing phase by Ben.

The next phase of recording was to do our “thud” sound for when the troopers fall over which we recorded with the Audio Technica AT2050. For this we decided to try a few different methods, the first of which was slamming a sleeping bag into the rock pit in the live room, which only really gave us a high-frequency sound. We then decided to try and deaden the high frequencies by putting some tarp and leather from the C24 box over the rocks, which was still not getting exactly what we were after. We also tried throwing leather onto the floor surface and closing a microphone case, the latter of which provided us with more bass frequencies (or the body of the sound), though Ben will again most likely layer these together, with possibly a little bit of pitch-shifting to get the desired result.

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The helmet sound is fairly self-explanatory. We used a bicycle helmet for the sound of Breckenridge and his fellow soldiers playing around with his helmet. I tried wearing the helmet and moving it around on my head and also brushing it against my shirt for the sound of Rico taking Breckenridge’s helmet off. I also tried playing around with the buckles for some miscellaneous sounds for Ben to place where he sees fit.

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For the sound of the targets popping up, I noticed there was a soft wooden/metallic clang/click lower in the mix in the original which I thought was a nice addition. I tried to replicate this by using the sound of a small wooden pole hitting the bell part of a cymbal. The sound you get from doing this varies greatly depending on the part of the bell that you hit, so we did a few different takes to see whether we could get an appropriate pitch, however it was a fairly straightforward process.

The next sound we recorded was for the guns reloading. We originally tried recording a couple of different staplers for the “chk-chk” sound, which we may still use, however it wasn’t enough to convey the more complicated mechanical sound alone. We then recorded me moving my keys, car remote and cigarette lighter around in my pocket, which gave us a surprisingly great sound! It was by far the sound that I was happiest with from our session, as one of our takes sounded like it didn’t even need any editing, it sounded just right as it was. This was largely due to the lighter and car remote providing some mid frequencies that the staplers were lacking, and the timing was quite accurate as well.

Additional Sound Design Recording

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Rattly kick pedals

While we were at the C24, I used some spare time to record some more sound design elements that I didn’t get from the location recordings I did on the weekend. This included my old rattly kick pedals, an electric shaver and some party hooters. I will be using the clicky, shaky sound of my old kick pedals for a mechanical layer of the guns firing, the shaver for the buzzer at the start of the obstacle course, and I will be experimenting heavily with the sound of the party hooters to try and get a laser sound, although I’m not that optimistic about the latter. Regardless, I’m sure I could use the asset for a future project.

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