Henning and I spent Thursday and Friday working on a stereo mix for the pilot. Although I probably don’t need a stereo mix, time will be limited when we do the 5.1 surround mix at SAE in a couple of weeks, so this was somewhere between a dry run and a pre-mix. We were able to see if any sounds were missing or not in the right places, establish effects filters for things like the Swordsman’s voice, position things in stereo (which is at least a start for when we come to position them in surround) and decide what would be the dominant sound at any given point. Although short, the pilot has plenty going on with all the mechanisms, sword-fighting and of course dialogue.
By the end of the two days we had achieved a lot, but we still need to work on certain sections. The last little break-through we made before I left involved the Swordsman first coming to life. Henning had created a dramatic effect on the robot’s opening line which worked well to increase the danger, but impeded the clarity of that line and distracted from Isabelle’s line which was being delivered at the same time. For those reasons we had binned the effect, but this had left us with a hole just before the Swordsman came to life which completely killed the drama. Unsure what the solution was, we had gone on to other things.
One of these things was to experiment with an early shot looking into the training room through a porthole in the airship’s hull. Having previously mixed this with an interior perspective, for the sake of consistency, we now tried switching to an exterior perspective for this shot – adding wind noise, making the propellor sound much more immediate, and muting Isabelle’s “hello”. This alteration really helped set the scene for me, since I couldn’t afford a model shot of the airship in flight. So we kept it, and returned to the issue of the sonic hole before the Swordsman re-animates.
Now we realised that we could take the “hello” we had cut from the porthole shot and drop it into the hole, increasing both the drama and the comedy of the moment in one hit.
And that’s why post-production is the best bit of filmmaking.