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Friday, March 4, 2016

Laying composed music cues to film and making a difference

A very useful web series on how Shades Of Bad is filmed and other films are made.

SHADES OF BAD web series comes from a team which have made a few movies and where one member spent 26 years attached to the UK daily soap, Emmerdale as a creative advisor; from plane crash to train crash is my pub line.

When Jean asked to make a web series, Shades Of Bad was born and although we planned to be
continuous I guess the odds were against us, however, the last of season 2, episode 40 has now gone live, and for the first time the three women have left the kitchen to dispose of their first dead body. Below in a film on placing music Doris shows how the music was placed on episode 40.
Season 3 is all but shot and it is far more ambitious with episodes in Barcelona, Norway, on board ship and in the woods. Although we can't wait to show it to you, before Season Three starts we will spend next week launching the HOW TO FILM series.
It will go from page to screen then onto marketing. We will touch on the organisation it takes to put out 6 daily episodes of a broadcast soap a week and how those plans and deadlines were enforced at Shades. Kicking off these films is one of three reasons we have planned a slight delay in airing the already shot Season 3.
Reason two is that is stars Olympian and World Champion Derek Redmond and we aim his episodes to lead up to the bug affected Rio Olympics. Eventually we will share videos on marketing and monitorisation. The How to series is a celebration of 40 live drama episodes and numerous Doris Visits films and what the team has learnt.
More films on how it is filmed will appear in the weeks as Season 3 plays out.

The third reason is that we do intend to start Shades Of Bad over. But they will be different. WE will have at least one, but maybe three re-edits of the start of Shades Of Bad in 10 minute episodes. However the urge to add new material still fights with a busy team (who are in Dubai filming and saw Carlos Santana with his amazing wife and drummer Cindy Blackman).
On our return we have the
week to engage the new ideas that have been around since mid last year.
Mega Episode 1 is kind of done and will follow the start of the How To Film web series, then Season 3 will start to air mid March.

It was important to INDYUK to keep the feature film making side separate from the web series and the web TV channel, so SHADES OF BAD TV was set up with their own kit and I guess Jean and the crew were lucky that they had what they asked for. First up in the How To series, Jean starts with the organisation of the kit.

There are a number of hard lessons the prospective film maker learns apart from 'you have to clean muddy cables and boxes', and 'no, not everyone can be a director'.
A great lesson is, 'if you want better pictures, improve the sound'. I love this ironic juxtaposed position of film, because on set without a doubt you are shooting pictures and the sound person or sound team is often not given what he or they require. Shades does NOT have a sound person at all. The actors have to learn to do there own microphones and check them, or they have to do ADR. Here is a great film from Jean on how to place a Lavalier in which they have conquered clothes noise.

But, sound is what makes a film work, in horror, romance, or drama. You can imagine it as you read this blog. You know the difference. Sound is important and in post it saves pictures and stories. See Episode 16 when Mark invested an unwritten character that chatters through the whole episode, it is marvellous. We start with the sound from set; in the next film Jean explains how to take the sound rushes and sync them back to the picture rushes using Puraleyes. For those of you who have to do this you will know the nightmare.
The reason Shades Of Bad does not record sound in the camera is not because sound professionals may suggest the digital recorders are far better than the camera digital recording which may add possible automatic limiters that make the background sound vary. It is that Shades Of Bad the drama uses more than one microphone and as we have NO sound man on set to mix the multiples into a single source as happens in much broadcast TV.
That is worth noting that TV sound recordists are often pre mixers, film sound recordists can be a different art form, sound recordists with no dream of mixing but looking for many multiple sounds and atmospheres they can record and supply.
In Shades Of Bad the multiple microphones have to be mixed in post production. You cannot plug multiple microphones into a camera and record them separately. (not yet, no doubt that will change).

In Doris Visits, the travel show spin off the radio microphone does go straight into the camera with no problem. We have a single source.
I guess if a drama had a good sound mixer on set then maybe he could use a radio link to send to camera via a radio receiver so avoid cables.

But forget that, Shades does not have a crew. Buster has done it all for 60 episodes now and he is ready for something bigger and may have a movie to direct. So has it been worth it. Ask him in ten years.

Most industries have condensed over the years and as students grow up being one man YouTubers and FilmMakers we could be heading towards THE SINGULARITY EFFECT.  I love that term, which is used by Ray Kurzweil to explain the cross over between robots becoming human, and humans becoming robotised. Each industry likes to think it will not happen to them but we have already seen news crews and documentary crews go as the reporter uses his phone or some other device to do a 'selfie'. Actors now work from home in their own studio doing voice overs. One cannot say it will not happen, the web has proven the inevitable, but we should ponder will crew learn to act or actors learn to be technical, or will just the smart ones survive doing both with ease?

Moving on, we highlight the demise of the musician and the orchestra before you feel I am picking on any particular group. For years, the digital orchestra or bedroom band has been mixed on a lap top whilst in a train or a plane. I am lucky to have as one of my best friends and collaborators Mark Blackledge. I have willing given his very talented son Buster the chance to direct Shades Of Bad and I have sat back and blogged for them occasionally.
Mark has provided us with the sound mix and music composition up until about episode 38. We now have a library of music composed for the first ten episodes and Jean and the team have had to learn a lot more about sound in FCPX. Wow, that has been an experience and now she has to choose and lay in the music from the library. So, the following films Jean working the music into episode 40, making choices on what works and what does not.

It reminds me of a lecture I went to years ago by John Hegarty of Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty, I see they are still around. It was the Levi commercial, the one where the sex symbol male model puts the Levis in the fridge.  It was conceived and created with a piece of music in mind. Hegarty played it with that music and the commercial looked rubbish. The room was amazed at the difference the new music track made, the one the viewer saw and heard. So do you see music and sound - you bet!
This is a great film from Jean.

In closing, there is one thing I mention when lecturing and that is TRUST. How film making is assembling a team of EXPERTS and letting them do their thing. On Devil's Gate Mark Blackledge had been working the score and I had been keenly asking to hear it. I heard sections but he asked if I would mind not asking to hear the end, he had an idea that he felt could only be seen and heard in a full viewing. He had my full trust. He added a French opera and the end destroys you to tears - spoiler alert.......

So thanks Mark for the music library, and thanks Jean for the films showing how you achieve the rightly award winning and recognised Shades Of Bad.

Jean is editing Dubai travel then more How To Film films.


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