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Sam Alexander - 220C Spring 2017

Reimagining Music and Sound Design for SHEN - A Short Film

Week 1

Inspired by film music and with the blessing of Jace Casey, I am going to reinterpret the music and sound of his short film, SHEN. I will be working to get a master file if not individual clips for the audio and video to work with in Ableton. There is a small possibility that I will try to develop an ambisonic or 360 degree sound version.

Week 2

Jace is still looking for files to send me, but in the meantime I have been looking at different sources for potential directions in the music. Inspirations to check out: Ligeti - Requiem

Week 3

Unfortunately, the hard drive containing the isolated tracks has been compromised. However, The dialogue is relatively original music free, so I can work my way cutting out Jace's music and fading in and out of his ambient noise with my audio.

I have worked some music into the first 3 minutes to get a preview of what working with the video will be like. There was some disconnect with the ocean sounds fading out when my music comes in, but I will work on separating the ocean sounds (and other sounds later) from the film media file so that I can loop and manipulate it smoothly under the continuous video to keep some sound source at all times during the film.

Work will be done in Ableton, since you can drop video files right into the set.

Week 4

I rewatched the film It Follows, a favorite of Jace and mine. It features a retro, 80's almost 8-bit like score by Disasterpeace. This has become heavily influential on my reworking of the score for Shen.

Week 5

The first sex incorporates a beat that starts softly and builds out of the clock ticks. I wanted it to come off as a pounding reminder of the drawings that keep pulling her out of the moment, just like the clock. Shen counts to 4. To calm herself, or something else?

Week 6

The pool scene comes off as very dramatic, but I love creating tension in an underwater environment. The eery, delayed build up of the high frequency screeches create a great sense of unease and stress over her visions.

Week 7

I wanted the second sex scene to be similarly beat driven to the first, but with some melodic character. The sparse, minimalistic beats leave more room for tension and interpretation.

Week 8

The final scene/sequence was my most favorite to score. I tried to incorporate a little bit of all of the sound elements used in the other parts of the score, and create an overwhelming soundscape, a parallel to the climaxing mental state of Shen.

Week 9

I have a complete, yet unpolished score covering the entirety of the film. Tweaks include filling more of the clock sounds from the first sex scene to continue further into the scene. Currently, they cut out once Jace's music comes in, and I have to fade out of the original sound so you can't hear it. I will also make sure you can hear the many instances of Shen counting to 4, and the important final count at the end of the film to 5, an important progression that can be interpreted many ways.

Week 10

I have taken the final master audio file from Ableton, and exported it as a .wav file. To ensure smooth playback, I used ffmpeg to create a new .mp4 file with the original high resolution Shen video file and my new audio track, running the following command line in my terminal: ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -i input.wav -c:v copy -map 0:v:0 -map 1:a:0 -c:a aac -b:a 320k output.mp4

The final Shen clip is now ready to be screened. My next step would be to make any more minor tweaks, consult with Jace and make some adjustments if he'd like, and then post the video to a streaming site such as Vimeo (adding a link to it here).