Nicola Dale documentary audio post-production

Category : Soundtrack May 11, 2014

An audio post-production job I did recently for a film by Antony Barkworth-Knight about artist Nicola Dale‘s work.

The main task was to clean up 15 minutes of voiceover, a recording of Nicola that Antony had made on a Zoom H1, which was quite noisy.

In Audition I manually reduced some big plosives and pronounced clicks in ‘k’ sounds, removed mic handling noises, shortened pauses, and made some louder breathing sounds more subtle, before starting to experiment with noise prints and noise reduction settings. I noticed that the stereo image highlighted NR artefacts so I narrowed it to reduce this effect. To compress the track to mono would have made the job simpler, but as the final product would be mostly the vocal unaccompanied I wanted to preserve as much atmosphere in the image as possible, so I spent time working to find a balance between this and acceptable NR settings. I rolled off low bass and fine-tuned the EQ to suit Nicola’s vocal characteristics, before de-essing, and adding upwards compression and expansion to create a soft-knee noise gate that helped hide any stray artefacts. I finally added back in some subtle brown noise as the sound was beginning to feel too clinical, with the added advantage that it helped to mask any remaining artefacts.

The Destiny Of Amalah book cover

Category : Illustration April 10, 2012

An illustration I made for the cover of Thandi Ryan’s novel The Destiny of Amalah, now available for Amazon Kindle. There’s also a full print jacket for the hardback, which will be released later in the year.

Destiny Of Amalah

Maze artifacts

Category : Photography March 13, 2012

maze patterns d40Not as cool as it sounds. I found this problem with a set of RAW images I took with a Nikon D40 during a recent studio portrait shoot. There was a nasty herringbone/moire pattern effect displaying on the screen of the camera as I was shooting, also present in the RAW images when I brought them into Aperture 3.2.2, and on closer inspection there was a maze-like pattern in the pixels. The problem was being caused by an error in the way the RAW data was being demosaiced – can’t currently be fixed in Aperture, Lightroom, or Adobe Camera RAW. However I used the excellent open source app Cornerfix and followed these instructions to adjust the BayerGreenSplit value and batch save the images as DNG files. The results look fine in ACR, but the images are still broken in Aperture – I’m presuming it overrides or ignores the BayerGreenSplit value in the EXIF data. The only Aperture-friendly option I’ve found at this point is to fully process the DNGs using ACR, export as TIFs, then import into Aperture. Sadly this means no RAW control over the images in Aperture but at least I can re-process them in ACR if I need to. Massive thanks to Sandy McGuffog at Chromasoft.

David Mitchell’s Soapbox sound design

Category : Soundtrack December 17, 2011

I designed and mixed the soundtrack for the Stag Nights episode of David Mitchell’s Soapbox using a combination of Adobe Audition and Apple’s Soundtrack Pro.  Sound effects and music were sourced from the excellent Audio Network PLC .

HDRI photography – stained glass window

Category : Photography November 15, 2011

Bacon's College stained glass window (photo composite)I needed to photograph an image of this stained glass installation which was to be used for a Christmas card. The three panels are backlit by three vertical fluorescent tubes and covered by a protective plastic screen. I found I couldn’t get a decent shot of it despite trying a range of lenses and settings. The fluorescent tubes were prominently visible in the shots, and the more richly coloured segments let through far less light than the brighter ones, and looked dull.

To compensate, I mounted a Nikon D5000 with a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 on a tripod, and took three RAW shots bracketed 1EV apart. I combined the images in Photoshop CS5 using Automate > Merge to HDR Pro and spent some time tweaking the plugin’s settings to create an image which gave a more equal prominence to the colours, while reducing the highlighting caused by the flouro tubes. I used Photoshop’s Lens Correction filter to remove some slight barreling at the edges, and Curves to tweak the overall contrast.

Bacon's College stained glass window (original photos)

Time Lapse

Category : Films November 15, 2011

Timelapse long-exposure experiments with a Canon 550D and After Effects.

Rhesus – The Chase

Category : Films November 14, 2011

Music Video for The Chase by Rhesus produced by Jamie Scholes and Remy Lamont for ChannelFlip. I storyboarded, directed, shot (Sony EX3), edited (FCP7), and mo-graphed (After Effects), with Lee Skelly on lighting and grip.

Lead singer Baz put in a heroic performance after badly spraining his ankle two hours into the shoot, just before we were due to shoot most of his ‘running’ scenes. Three copies of the box-monster costume were made, which we had to carefully plan how to trash across an intense two-day shoot.

Harry Hill’s Little Internet Show sound mix

Category : Soundtrack December 19, 2010

ChannelFlip asked me to work on the sound mix for Harry Hill’s Little Internet Show. This was largely a repair job as the sound had been recorded badly. I removed, or at least minimised wind noise, peaking distortion, hiss, rumble and unwanted microphonics – Harry was wearing a clip-on mic while rolling on the floor fighting his ‘nephew’ in one episode. Embedding is disabled on the episodes on Youtube, so here’s a link to the channel.

Channel Flip ident

Category : Films, Soundtrack August 19, 2010

Following a rebrand, the guys at Channel Flip asked me to create a new animated ident. Here it is in action at the end of an episode of the excitingly popular David Mitchell’s Soapbox, which this week is in 3D! You’ll need to find some red/blue glasses, or make some out of some Quality Street wrappers.

New Light Stir trailer

Category : Films May 8, 2010

Here’s the final trailer for New Light Stir. We’re not planning to upload the full film for a while as we’re submitting it to festivals, who are much less likely to screen your film if it’s already in the public domain. Meanwhile, we hope this gets you feeling curious.