Editing Dirty Little Tricks

Editing Dirty Little Tricks


Here are two more 'Dirty Little Tricks'

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'Volcanic Eruption'


 I recently edited a piece of video which featured a volcanic vent. How, on earth, do you reproduce the sounds of such a phenomenon? Try a bit of 'lateral thinking', especially of titanic subterranean forces, being unleashed. I recalled the music by Richard Strauss which began '2001 A Space Odyssey'; notes which were so low, that you almost 'felt' them rather than heard them. I took the very 'bottom' which could be played on a double-bass, (If my memory serves me correctly, three octaves below 'middle-C'), recorded it as a 'wave' file, and played it back in 'Reaper' at half speed, meaning that it had been lowered to a frequency, which you almost 'felt' rather than 'heard'. The periodic 'eruptions' were the sounds of a recent thunderstorm, overhead, which I doctored appropriately, by means of 'envelopes' in my DAW of choice, again likely 'Reaper'. I wrote a few bars of music using mainly double-basses and cellos playing low notes, to accompany the audio. Then played it back together. The deep rumble underlays part of the previous shot, and makes you, uneasily, wonder what is coming next. It has a spine-chilling effect.


Just as a side-note; I have used audio recordings of the ocean surf, to sythesise thunder, by recording the surf-sounds at normal speed and playing them back at very low speeds, eg one tenth of the original frequency, in a DAW. I've even used 'brown-noise', (white noise, with more of an emphasis on bass), but surf suits better, because it is a bit more 'random in 'character'.


Nature's Spot-lighting


 The other dirty little trick was one I used just the other day: I was part-way through some shots of a local historic landmark, Lime Kilns from the 1870's, when clouds began to drift over the sun and obscure the detail. I looked down-valley. The clouds only obscured the sun, at times, and I noticed a distinct 'pattern' as the spotlit periods drifted up the valley towards me. I set up each shot, during the dark intervals, and had everything ready-to-go, as the spotlight effect illuminated the subject. So, the outcome is shots, which fade up from a low-light state, to being brilliantly spot-lit, then fade back again. I carried on with this, anticipating the spot-lit periods, for most of an hour, and the effect, was almost magical. The shots were fairly static, and I will have no difficulty, in editing, in making the 'spotlit' periods as long or as short, as needed.


Ian Smith

Dunedin, New Zealand