Now that Kat has wrapped up cleaning and mastering our vocal audio, I’ve been able to start working on foley and sound effects, including scene transitions and other music. It’s exciting stuff. To me, anyway.
Sound Effects in Audio Drama
Foley is often produced on mic, by the actors as they read their lines, including much of the physical conflict. We had actors slapping themselves around, grunting, etc during fight scenes. I’m also using the term to describe any sounds we’re using that weren’t produced live, but simulated live during the editing process, recorded, and used.
Sound Effects are, fortunately, easy to come by thanks to sites like freesound.org. You can filter by attribution requirements; I stick to the creative commons no-attribution effects because we use a lot and we don’t want the end-credits getting too long.
Music was interesting. Underscoring is the mood music played under a scene. We don’t use much of this, because I believe that the actors have done an excellent job of conveying emotion through their lines.
Source Music is the music that’s playing in-scene, stuff the characters can hear. I actually stumbled across a really cool resource for this… the UCSB Cylinder Archive presents recordings of wax cylinders from the dawn of the 20th century. I was even able to search by date of release to find era-appropriate music.
Bridges are transitions from scene to scene. They’re short, usually only a few seconds long, and guide the listener into the mood we want them in coming into the next scene. Really helpful to keep the pacing and tension on track.
Atmospherics are how we set the scene. Just a few seconds of background noise to give the listener a sense of context.
The key, as I’ve found, is not to strive for realism but to use sounds which resonate as ‘true’ within the mind of the audience.
Here’s a sample of what we’ve got so far, from Episode one:
I estimate that it’ll take between two and three weeks to wrap up the sound for all 11 episodes, and then we move on to phase three, the final polish.