I went to Hawai’i, and in particular to the very photogenic Garden Island of Kaua’i, at the end of March and came back with a boatload of photos and video. I processed a lot of the data on my laptop while I was there, publishing the odd item on my Facebook page. So if you follow me there, the next few posts may be familiar. Still, I wanted to get it up here for the record, along with some additional information you might find interesting.
To begin with, here is a short video I put together from footage I took of myself snorkeling in Po’ipu using my GoPro camera in its water-proof housing.
I had finished my Post Production class at UCLA Extension just before we left for the trip, and one thing I learned is that most production sound is junk. Except for dialog, virtually none of the audio you hear in a typical show or movie was recorded on the set. Even some of the dialog will have been re-recorded after the fact using Automated Dialog Replacement (ADR, or looping), with the actor on a sound stage lip syncing to his or her own image on the screen. Certainly a car door, screeching tires, birds chirping, city sounds, whatever, would be added in post. Along, obviously, with music.
Anyway, when I recorded the snorkeling in the video above, the audio was a total loss. You would not expect much from the tiny little microphone on the GoPro, and then in a water tight housing, getting bumped around, and so on: all junk.
Not to fear. After locking the video, which is largely just a montage of shots I took while having fun in the water, nothing really planned, I located the stock sound effects that come standard on a Mac, looking for things like ocean sounds, beach sounds, scuba breathing, bubbles, and so on. I had fun mixing it all together in Final Cut (not exactly Pro Tools, but good enough for this little project), and the end result is not too bad I think, considering I did it in a couple of hours the same day I shot the footage while sitting in our rustic little cottage by the sea.
I was particularly proud of the last part, where the music stops abruptly as the camera exits the water, and then you hear a brief drop in the sound when the camera dips under for a moment. You might almost be fooled into believing that the sounds you are hearing are from the nearby beach, when in fact, there is zero production audio involved here. But there are also numerous other subtle sounds here and there that add to the texture of the video without rising to the level of consciousness, yet which add an important layer to the overall video, without which it is very flat.
The moral for today: audio, usually added in post, is extremely important. But you probably knew that.