When creating my soundscape I knew I wanted to aim for a topic that was a bit creepy, mysterious or suspenseful. At first I wasn’t sure what film to use. I started looking at Thomas Edison’s 1910 production of Frankenstein, but I soon decided that the pacing was too slow, and the shot variety wasn’t quite as good as I’d like it to be.
Being a fan of the 2004 musical adaptation of “The Phantom of the Opera,” primarily for its beautiful cinematography and score, I was interested to find a public domain version of the film that was a silent film rather than a musical. It didn’t take long for me to decide that this 1925 version was the film I wanted to craft a soundscape for.
I’m a believer in the ability for music to set the tone of a film and give it a distinct feel, so I began my process by looking for a suitable musical track from a Creative Commons licensed source. I was fortunate to find one called “Ghost of Don Juan” by Nathan Pinard, which was actually written, as the composer says, “for a book ‘Chanson de l’Ange’ which is a retelling of the Phantom of the Opera story.” I was very lucky to find a track that was written specifically with the Phantom of the Opera in mind. It does seem to really capture the feel of the story in my opinion.
I began my editing process in Lightworks, but I found the process of editing audio to be very cumbersome and confusing in Lightworks. It’s quite possible that I just don’t know enough about Lightworks yet to be able to effectively edit in it, but I didn’t want to risk compromising the quality of my film by using an unfamiliar platform. Instead I elected to edit in Sony Vegas, because its volume and pan envelopes allow for some more advanced adjustments of audio, and I’m familiar with working with them.
I created many of the Foley sounds myself, such as writing, paper moving, footsteps, and the breathing sounds of the two men. I also recorded the dialogue myself. I wanted to create as many of the sounds as possible, because it’s not always easy (or cheap) to acquire Foley sounds from other sources, and it was good experience. Also, custom created Foley sounds can better fit the exact onscreen action. I did still use some audio from www.soundsnap.com when it wasn’t feasible to create a high quality version myself. Doors opening and closing, cloth moving, and the deep breaths of the Phantom were a few from Soundsnap’s library. In total there were four layers of audio in my film. You can see my final timeline here.
I like the additions I made, and I think they fit pretty well with the flim! Overall I’m quite proud of the results.