Short Film

LISTEN - Short Film Recap - Sound with Curtis Judd

Here’s a quick behinds the scenes interview on my work on the short film, “Listen.” This one focuses on the high-level lessons learned rather than the technical details of the production or post mix.

Oh, and about the start of the video, I was told to talk for a bit while they set the audio levels. Turns out our editor thought it would be funny to keep that part. I apologize for that. We were not sponsored by Goldfish crackers or the company which makes them.

If you haven’t seen Listen yet, you can see that here:

The Music Maker

I am about ready to jump out of my skin because I'm so excited to finally show some of my work to all you who have been kind enough to watch my YouTube episodes!

My friend Levi Whitney asked me back in June last year if I would help him by doing the sound for a micro documentary piece on Joel Nowland, a guitar maker here in Utah. Joel makes amazing acoustic guitars which have been played by some big name musicians. But Joel is an incredibly humble guy who loves the craft of creating things for other people. And what's more is that he does it with a significant disability.

So here is what Levi and I made. I recorded all of the production audio for this piece with my trusty Audio Technica AT4053b hypercardioid microphone and my Sound Devices 633 audio recorder/mixer. I recorded a few foley clips with the Aputure Deity shotgun microphone, again with the Sound Devices here at my home.

Levi shot the piece with a Sony A7SII and graded and edited.

I hope you like it.

And I'd like to thank Levi for having the confidence in me to do the sound recording and mixing and Joel for opening his home, his workshop, and his story for the world to see and hear.

Levi will have a piece in the coming weeks over on his YouTube channel covering how we did the lighting. I've covered the sound from the film (both mixing and foley) in these previous Sound for Video Sessions:

Sound for Video Session: What to Bring to a Shoot and Lessons Learned

Over the weekend, I did a small location sound job for a friend for a short film. In this episode we'll cover some lessons learned from that experience as my goal is to do more sound jobs like this. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and successes.

Make a checklist of gear you'll need so that when you're getting ready for each production day, you can reduce the likelihood that you forget anything you'll need. Here's a sample production day field checklist.

Some additional thoughts on things to include in your kit from my friend Scott Vanderbilt:

- If any possibility of doing exteriors, you can't be without a blimp/windjammer or other type of wind protection. Even for interiors, you at least need foam wind screens. Many sensitive mics without any windscreen will register noise when you swing them even just a couple of feet.

- Headphones - two pairs, my main ones (Sennheiser HD 25-II and a backup set (Sony MDR 7506) in case director or someone else wants to listen to playbacks.

- Slate. If client is paying extra, my Ambient time code slate. But I always have a dumb slate, just in case.

- Time code case (including Ambient LockIt boxes and/or Tentacle Sync boxes).

- Gaff tape (useful for all kinds of things, including on slate) and paper tape.

- Apple box. I use it to stand on (probably less useful for you :-) ) and also as a place to rest my mixer bag both during and between shots.

- Ball point pens, sharpies, and dry-erase markers (for slate).

- Harness for mixer bag, when job requires me to go mobile.

- Backup media (cards do fail). Always have spares.

- Media card reader (to hand off media to DIT at end of shoot).

- clipboard and blank sound report sheets. You really ought to do a session on sound reports. Very, very important, especially for narrative work.

- Script sides (for narrative only). Essential to study script in advance of shoot, especially if you're also booming.

- Business cards - I get asked for cards all the time on set!

- Boom pole - you mentioned this, but I would also point out not to forget at least one shock mount (I've done it!) and a coiled XLR cable for connecting boom pole to mixer.

- Water bottle and snacks, when working with a client for first time or one that doesn't provide crafty. Staying hydrated very important, especially when on location.