Monday, December 28, 2009

"Seals in the Workforce"

Here's an excerpt from a documentary that Schnapps and I were in many years ago!

Behind the Scenes Featurette

I usually take a short nap before going out to a club, because I'm old. Sometimes I'll wake up early because my blood sugar is low, and the combination of pseudo dream-state and nutrient-starved brain is the usual inspiration for a Schnapps video.

On Saturday it was the "seal song" idea (including the complete lyrics, which I woke up with), and as I stumbled around eating raw sugar I came up with a few scenes in a potential Schnapps documentary.*

As usual, these things must be simple and easy to film. I shot everything that night except for the "They don't hire seals" thing, which I realized was necessary when I began editing the footage. You can tell I wasn't drunk when I shot that scene because the Schnapps voice is all wrong.

Anyway, a combination of voiceover and footage filmed in various rooms -- including an unexpected refrigerator hum in the kitchen -- meant that I had to apply all sorts of denoisers, noise gates, and selective EQ to everything. What's the best way to disguise imperfect audio? Other than music -- which seemed inappropriate for such a stark subject -- the best solution is to make the audio sound even MORE imperfect!

So I added a wonderful "crackle" loop courtesy of the Soundtrack Pro library, as well as intermittent "pops" (a click sample pitched downward) and an occasional rustling noise similar to a dirty audio track on a piece of old film, produced by gently rubbing a sock over a microphone.

As usual, I'm amazed at the difference between raw footage and finished material. Each clip viewed in isolation is total crap -- leading to a lot of discouragement yesterday when I began pulling everything together -- but when I trimmed it and assembled it in the right order, it began to be funny...even WITHOUT the voiceover.

The lesson, as though you didn't know: editing is half the final product.

* This is not the first Schnapps documentary ever, but it's the first one that didn't turn out so bad that it was thrown away.


Belinda Buttons said...

it reminds me of the dramatically edited "Ingrid and the Footman."

Perhaps a version of "Schnapps and the Footman" for the anniversary record?

Adam Thornton said...

Jane Siberry would sue!