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Sunday
Apr132014

Recordings I did for Noah

I just saw the film Noah at my local multiplex.  It was in one of the giant theatres with a large screen, and it was really really LOUD!  I actually found myself covering my ears during a few of the busier action sequences.  Although it was loud, it sounded great.  Some really amazing sound work was done on this film.  

One of the reasons I was so eager to see/hear Noah was that I contributed some recordings to the sound track.  Some recordings that are very close to my heart.  The screams and squawks of my infant son when he was a brand new baby.  Here is how it all came to be.
Last spring the Tonebenders podcast I co-produce and co-host about sound design, did an episode with Coll Anderson as our guest.  Coll was gracious enough to talk to us about the soundtrack he sound supervised for the great film Martha Marcy May Marlene.  After we finished recording the episode he phoned my house, to go over getting some recordings of the specific sounds we spoke about in the interview.  I was holding my newborn son who was making the odd peep while we talked. Coll inquired as to the age of my boy and when I told him the baby was brand spankin’ new he quickly asked me for a favour.  He was working on the sound edit for a film that featured babies immediately after they were born and asked if I could record my son crying and send him the audio files.  They had tried to cut in the sounds of an older baby but it just did not sound right.  The cry of a new born is dryer and has more crackle then even a 2 month old, so they were on the hunt for some new recordings of really new babies.  
Luckily for Coll, and his project, I had a son who was no stranger to crying in his early days.  I had already recorded a lot of him just losing his mind with screams and yells.  In order to let my wife get some sleep after a long, complicated labour, I was spending a lot of time hidden away in my basement studio with my son.  Since I was recording in an ideal environment, my recordings were super clean as well.  After all if you are a sound effects editor and you have a crying baby in your studio, you sure as hell better be rolling right?
So I quickly culled down my recordings to about 20 minutes of some of my son’s greatest yelps, cries and wails and sent them off to Coll.  At this point I had no idea what film Coll was working on, other then it was directed by Darren Aronofsky.  Coll Anderson had done me a solid by being on our podcast, so I was happy to do him a favour in return.  Then life rolled on and I mostly forgot about all this.
A couple months ago the PR machine started winding up for Noah, Darren Aronofsky’s new film.  This triggered my memory and I asked Coll, via email, if he had ended up using the sounds that my son and I had provided.  It turns out he did and the project was, in fact, Noah.
Not only are my son’s screams and cries in the film - but they are in the most pivotal scene of the entire film.  There are about 40 seconds in the film where there is no other dialog, only the the sound of my kid, just wailing away full tilt.  
It was pretty cool to hear my son, and by extension my recordings, blasting out of the massive sound system at the multiplex with a packed house in attendance.  Kudos to Coll and the rest of the sound team on the film because my clean studio recordings fit in perfect with the rest of the mix.  Almost as if they were recorded on a giant arc, thousands of years ago.  
Here is a quick snippet of the cries from my son, if you go see the film keep an ear out for them.

 

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