Short Film: Francis

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Short Film: Francis

I was approached by Matthew Clark who informed me that he was writing and starring in a short horror film and was looking for some original music and a few sounds effects for the film. The brief required an atmospheric orchestral score which would focus on the mood and drama of the picture. Whilst being emotive, the score would need to accompany in a way that would not detract from the visuals or narrative.

While adding ambient sound design elements to accompany the score, I also took on some extra duties to put sonic emphasis on the integral parts of horror within the narrative, for example; during the poem excerpt read by the main characters mother during the ghastly vision sequence, followed by the imaginary swarm of flies which were to chase the main character during the films final dramatic moment.

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Producing: In The Studio With Demental Recording "Hatriotism”.

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Producing: In The Studio With Demental Recording "Hatriotism”.

Demental-heavymetal

Had a great few sessions in the studio recording with Brighton based Thrash Metallers Demental for their upcoming single ‘Hatriotism’.

We recorded the single in the larger studio at City College East, Brighton which uses an old Audient console (originally used at Olympic Studios by the likes of U2 and Brian Eno to name a few). While I love the console, we did have some initial problems! The console had been overheating which meant that the studio door had to be left open throughout the day and fans permanently facing the desk, fine for us but maybe not so great for others trying to work with Thrash Metal blasting through the complex ;).

We had planned to track all of the drums and rhythm guitars on day 1, but ran into some issues which pushed our schedule back. We lost one of the drum overheads very early in the session, then followed by one of the room mics which starting to hiss and malfunction. One issue with working in University facilities (besides the apparent lack of respect for equipment) is that unfortunately, all suitable replacement microphones are often being used in other recording sessions meaning we had to work with what we had. Despite these issues, I think we managed to get a pretty good sound; in some ways we captured a more aggressive and tighter delivery from the drum performance through the loss of these microphones as it forced us to be a little more meticulous with the placement of the remaining mics on the kit.

We did managed to complete the drums, but only tracked around 80% of the rhythm guitars resulting some takes spilling into day 2. 

On day 2, Guitar cabs were recorded using the ‘fredman technique’ for microphone placement, One SM57 facing the best speaker cone dead on and another 57 facing the same speaker but on a slight angle, this provided great results during the recording. I rolled off the bottom end of the guitars as much as possible to allow room for the bass during mixing, but still captured a great mid to low-end sound for the rhythm and lead respectfully. The best performances were then compiled in Pro Tools utilising the play list function while recording overdubs.

All rhythm guitar performances were captured 4 times, panning two left and two right to achieve a fuller sound. Lead guitar performances were then captured twice and panned slightly left and slightly right but remaining fairly central.

Bass recordings went well, although we had some problems with one of the preamps on the console, a quick troubleshooting of the signal path and moving of channel preamps solved this without too much time lost. We decided to record three signals for the bass, DI, SM57 and a Beyerdynamic M88. Personally I liked the sound of the 57 and the DI combined but due to the problems we had on the first day when tracking the drums, we ran out of time to complete all of the the bass lines on the final day resulting in these recordings being scrapped.

The final recording were carried out at a home studio through DI and Native Instrument’s Guitar Rig 3 Plugin for FX. Overall we got a good sound for the bass, but I would have preferred to capture this in the studio.

Vocal recordings were completed last at the home studio and overdubbed nicely into the track without any problems.

In post-production, I successfully mixed and mastered the release which can be purchased from the band directly (www.demental.co.uk), the track is also available on iTunes.

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