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Looping Along

Friday 29th January 2010

Well, we tried our hand at "looping" last night. A simple scene with some lines said between David's character and Ashley's...

CHALDAR:
Auriga - he's conscious! He must not know what we are doing! We must render him unconscious now!

AURIGA:
I have gone to a great deal of trouble to create an artificial reality that the Doctor can live in - how can he do that if he's unconscious?

CHALDAR:
If he's conscious he'll see all this

AURIGA:
I'll put a selective block on his memory. He'll only remember certain events

CHALDAR:
certain events? like what?

 

A lot of terse words and some shouting - with most of the first lines containing the word "conscious" it seems! (still when you hear it the repetition works)  So an evening spent shouting the same words over and over again seemed in prospect. Actually what actually turned out was more useful for Devious the project.

At this, one of our regular-as-a-blue-moon meetings David and Ashley decided to concentrate efforts on testing the various software methods of doing ADR. After many experiments we decided on using VEGAS as this seemed to have an excellent looping facility - ie once the section to be re-voiced had been set up then the system allowed you to record the same section over and over again without having to click a mouse for each start of each recording. This way you could attempt the lines as many times in rapid succession until it seemed right. The software obviously also allows you to see the footage in the timeline, so if you have good noise-cancelling headphones and a reasonable microphone you have a good chance of getting it right.

For a clean sound on the new dialogue we have to ensure where we record the voices is a good spaced room. We ought also to be standing when delivering the lines as it helps with the diaphragm apparently. In the end we only concentrated on the first few lines of the script above, with Ashley repeating "we must render him unconscious NOW" line over and over. Once you start to match up the new takes with the footage, the software allows you to tweak the lengths and do various transitions between takes if you want to be totally accurate. We found we could get a good match after only a few takes - even though Ashley realised through constant repe-repe-repe-tition of lines that he couldn't say some words properly in the first place! It really makes you analyse how you speak!

Of course we can now concentrate on getting the right filters for the voices to match the rooms or outdoor locations for the lines. The freedom at last to see old footage with new, clean audio tracks is something to behold. Unfortunately there's a great deal of it to be done and we will meet once more for more tests with Stephen before we get each member of the cast in. It's primarily outdoor footage that benefits the most from this work.

And of course, this is what happens in REAL DOCTOR WHO. In the real world! And in real films too!

 

And just for a bit of fun, here's a screenshot of the editing program David is currently using. If you click on the image you can open a larger version (192K) in a new window. You have to really want to though, as we imagine it's quite boring but it does give you an idea of how we do things!

And in other news, we've started liasing with someone who answered our news item from 14th December last year regarding some of the effects.  More news on that in due course!

And, oh yes, the daleks are out and about again soon near us in Sussex! Valentine's weekend in fact!

More soon...