This week we have achieved some major milestones, on Monday in the Post Production studio we successfully recorded the first 3 minutes of Foley audio for our project, as well as recording the vocal tracks for A Whole New World, which brings all of our ADR recording to completion. I’m absolutely stoked how well we are managing our time and effort, but above all, and I think that the group will agree with me, the quality of the sound and performance is far greater than we could have anticipated, especially considering the small amount of time we are spending in the studio.
The Foley recording consisted of bunch of different sounds, mainly things like walking, clothes noise, splats, whooshes and so on. We all tried to bring a variety of items that we thought could create something ideal for the scene, there was definitely enough to give a foundation from which we could get creative with. We decided to keep it strictly cheesy, as that is the main piece of criteria for family Disney movie to meet.
For the recording we acquired an AKG C414 and a Rode NTG-2 shotgun microphone (typical boom mic for location recording), due to typical tech issues, the 414 became very noisy for some reason. For the sake of time we continued with the shotgun mic and it was luckily quite effective and sounded fairly good. Being a cardioid condenser, it captured the brightness of each sound and had a directional focus on where we needed it.
Prior to going into the studio, a list of roughly 127 individual foley sounds was composed, some of these included…
- Footsteps from different characters
We experiment with some old scrunched up film tape and a rubbery matt, which worked well to dampen the sounds, and also avoid the hollow timbre floor board sound. The tape helped to create the brushy and crunchy sound of the grass in the scene.
- Banana squishes and splats
The scene had a couple of these quirky sounds for us to recreate, one shows a banana peel hitting another pile of banana peels, to create the splat sound we soaked some paper towel in an aloe vera gel and dropped it from half a metre in the air. The sound of it hitting the ground was this spectacular splat.
- Clothing noise
There was a fair bit of brushing sounds, particularly from Aladdin’s head piece and his clothes. We used our own clothes in the studio, things like coats or jackets, or even just recorded us making movements and creating our own cloth noise.
- Lamp switch
During the first scene, Genie appears on Aladdin’s head in the form of a lamp and Aladdin pulls on the string to switch it off, which makes a cool snappy click sound. To create this one Megan used her umbrella and recorded the click from it extending, the sound fit perfectly as it had the movement from the pulling and then the click from it locking in. Forgive my vague explanation, it worked perfectly though.
A Whole New World Vocals
The Tuesday following the Foley session we went into the Audient studio, with both live rooms booked. This was a great advantage as we had the ease of communication between the live rooms for everyone, and a lack of bleed between the vocalists. The role of Aladdin was again performed by classmate, Tye, and Princess Jasmine was performed by Kati, my sister. Needless to say that we were mind blown by the quality of performance and the quality of the recording.
In each live room we had a Rode K2, externally powered microphone, set to cardioid. Tye’s signal was also running through a Urei 1176 compressor, set to a fairly low input gain and slower to medium attack and release to let the transients through. Kati’s signal was going into an Avalon VT-737sp Tube Preamp/Compressor/EQ, similarly had the compressor set to a fairly low input gain and slower to medium attack and release, I also boosted the mid range by about 3 to 4 dB. The both of these peaked at around 7 dB of gain reduction but stayed around 3 dB for most of the louder parts. I felt that I might utilise the gear as the Audient’s mic pre’s are very clean and dry, and a little colour could only help.
We started of with running through some full takes of the song to see where Tye and Kati were at with the songs and figure out what would need to be tracked separately. After a few takes, we found that the shifting harmonies toward the end were just a little too complex for Tye. We narrowed down on the ending and worked out exactly where Aladdin’s vocal went, went found that he goes from something like the third above and then to the third below or something. I admit it was no easy jump to make, considering he was going back and forth to the tonic as well. We took a bit of a break, then worked our way back to some full takes, John also made a critical point of making an emphasis on the emotion of the characters and getting Tye and Kati to over-enunciate the lyrics, which definitely added to the cheesy Disney feel.
A couple of takes later, we had a near perfect run through, having been totally satisfied with the performances captured we called it day, and left to get some celebratory pizza.
Overall I’m quite proud of the how well produced the session was, there was a lot of effective communication and patience with everyone, our performers in particular. Can’t wait to get onto composing the song, I feel like it will be a mammoth of a task, but I’m totally up for it!