Capturing good sound on your set has never been more important (and thankfully, not that hard to do). With the huge amount of indie content out there, you need to put your best foot forward to get noticed these days. This is especially true if you're planning on entering your movie into any festival circuits or using it to promote yourself or your indie company.
And what's the easiest way to get noticed? By having clear and crisp dialog, thoughtful and provoking music, and well-crafted sound effects -- all seamlessly mixed together. If you can harness these three, you will stand out.
It all starts on set. If you've ever been in post-production for a movie, and they recorded clean, separate dialog tracks on set, then trust me: it's a revelation once you do. If you're used to bad sound and poor audio quality on indie sets, then the difference is going to be night and day.
Here are 5 reasons why indie filmmakers must ensure they capture good sound quality:
1. Good sound is invisible and bad sound is distracting.
Even if your indie film looks great, it will still feel cheap if the audio doesn't match what you see on screen. On the other hand, a film with great sound will look terrific even if the picture doesn't look as good (think Blair Witch Project). Great indie films have both!
2. A bad production track = LOTS of post-production work.
Even if your indie film only has a few scenes, you may need to re-record dialogue or re-shoot scenes if you can’t clearly hear the actors. An experienced Editor or Sound Mixer can only do so much. Garbage in equals garbage out. Especially in quiet, intimate scenes, distant and faint sounding dialog can ruin the moment.
3. Good sound speeds up post-production schedule.
Sound editors can make the most out of your tracks quickly and easily, and you can turn around an indie film much faster when there isn't a lot of work to do to 'fix' the source tracks. It allows for a more fluid, creative flow and enables them to do so much more with what you give them.
4. Poor sound recording can distract from the movie and take away from the story.
Any indie filmmaker wants to focus on telling their story, not making sure that the audience can hear what they have to say. It completely ruins the suspension of disbelief you have worked so hard to create. Do you want your audience to relax into your story or lean forward, straining to hear dialog?
5. High quality sound recording can help to create a more immersive experience for the viewer.
When done right, sound can add a whole new dimension to indie films. With clean dialog, well-designed sound effects, well-placed foley, and an engaging music track, you can take audiences wherever you want, whether it is a faraway galaxy or deep inside your character’s head.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. In my next post I will address 5 simple things you can do to ensure good quality sound on set.