P + P -DESCENT: The Radio Scene

(Outcomes – GR5, IN1, PER3)

This post demonstrates the process of liasing with Descent’s director, and an example of how research into the film Hannibal informed Descent’s audio practically.

The director requested a radio be playing from the first kitchen scene very early on, and provided a list of popular songs that might be played for this cue which they felt signified the story of the film prior to the arrival of the script. We immediately advised them against trying to get clearance for popular songs based on our experiences last term, a discussion which didn’t really lead anywhere conclusive.

It was resurrected upon our receipt of the script, however. A number of music cues had already been agreed by this time but the director decided that we should run the diagetic radio cue from the beginning of the first kitchen scene to the end of the final one, which comprises about 80% of the run time of the film and compromised a number of the music cues we’d agreed and which had already been roughly composed.

We’d also pointed out that the picture should refer at some point to the source of the diagetic music – with a music device in the background for example – and that one of the characters would presumably at some point have to the have the opportunity to turn it on and off, and that the requested length of the cue wasn’t conducive to the latter, since the music was expected to drop out somewhere around an active scene for the characters. The length issue was finally solved when we were given the choice of deciding where the cue should drop out after pointing out how badly having this cue in could impact the rest of the score for the piece and, whilst seeking further guidance for the device, the director requested we make the music function like the following scene from Hannibal – [IN1 + GR5]

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The score here shifts from diagetic piano music to the sinister synth based stuff fairly seamlessly. I passed this scene to the composer, and our final attempt at it can be seen below (please skip to 4:00 if the youtube embed below starts at 0:00 on your browser) –

The editor also chose not to refer to any kind of visual source for the music and, whilst I had initially felt this would be problematic, watching the outcome I believe it works fine. I’m aware that I can be slavishly insistent on realism at times with devices like this, but have learned that this is not always necessary as long as the visual scene (in this case, an obviously romantic dinner) is set strongly enough. Audiences can be relied upon to ignore minor incongruities in this situation. [PER3]

———————– 450 words

 KEY POINTS – 

How I liased with the director and the group to arrive at the outcome for this scene – Process Management

  • [IN1] To successfully manage the provision of service by the business for the film Descent with regard the assignment of resources, specialisms and working time, liason with the director, editor and producer on a practical and creative level, and communication of information on their needs and requirements for the piece, in order to appraise the efficacy of the collaborative approach to working on the piece – (Supervisor and Company Officer)
  • [GR5] To produce soundtracks comprising of foley, SFX, dialogue, music and atmospheres to client specifications that synergistically support the other components of their films.

Personal reflection on minor incongruities between audio and picture  – Process Management

  •  [PER3] To expand my knowledge of the theory of and audio techniques deployed in films similar to or influential upon those we will deliver.

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