Saturday, 21 January 2012

Icelanding folk verse.

For our 'Sulking Winds' film, we decided it would be fitting to try and produce an eerie Viking style chant to loop in the background as our character approaches the location of the throne room. One of our group members managed to find an Icelanding folk song with Lyrics that seem relevant to our project:

The lyrics translated mean:

'The raven slept in a rock-rift
On a cold winters night
There are many things that can hurt him
Many things that can hurt him
Before a beautiful day came
He pulls his frozen nose
From underneath a big rock
Underneath a big rock

Everything is frozen outside
You can't get anything at the beach
I'm so hungry
I'm so hungry
If I go to a house
The dog forbids me
To eat from the garbage
Eat from the garbage

The earth is covered in ice
I can't see the ground at all
Full-fledged birds can fly far.
Full-fledged birds can fly far.
But even though I look everywhere
There's just one color
What can a raven eat
What can a raven eat?

Dead, lying on it's side is
A fat mutton near a fence,
Who once was fast.
Once was fast.
'Caw, caw! Namesakes (Ravens), come here!
Caw, caw! cos' ready for us is,
a feast on cold ice.
a feast on cold ice.'

So began the process of creating two melodic chilling verses. We managed to gather three people for the makeshift Icelandic choir. We had a deep singer to lay down the bass, a mid ranged singer and a higher pitched singer. This created a full sound with the varying ranges. We created a click track in Audacity and started experimenting.

At first, we focused on just the one verse. We each did solo passes with a very droning monotone approach. The idea was, instead of copying the jolly style of the original, to have a darker approach. After this, we began recording ourselves as a group so that we could follow each other and be sure to get the phrasing in sync. We started with low passes. Eventually we began trying to harmonise to create the fuller sound we were after. Rhys (who is not a member of our group but kindly offered to help us) sang with a very deep voice, Luca followed Rhys but with a slightly more mid quality to his voice, and I attempted to sing in a slightly higher voice. At first we tried singing the first half of the verse monotone, and then kicked in with the higher parts. We also did takes were we tried to maintain the harmonies from start to finish. The video below documents the editing process afterwards:

After the recording session, as part of my role within the group I was responsible for arranging the sounds ready to be put in to the video. I really do not have much experience producing sound, but it is something that I find interesting. For this reason, the process was really just experimentation. I began by taking the pass that started mono then became high part way through. The low parts sounded really full when I multi-tracked them, but the higher parts sounded quiet strange . I felt as if It became ungrounded and needed to maintain the low bass feel throughout. I tried copying the first part of the verse and repeating it behind the high section. Although the lyrics clashed I thought it might add an uncomfortable sense of discord to the verse. After receiving feedback from some of the group members, it was decided the first take wasn't quite right, so it was back to editing.

I still felt the verse needed to be grounded, so I combined the low then high pass together with the full low pass of the first verse. This meant the lyrics were constantly the same, yet I was able to maintain the full low end when the higher parts kicked in. Unfortunately, despite being pitch bent to the same key, something still wasn't quite right and the phrasing of the words varied in the two takes.

I produced the next two samples simultaneously. Some members of the group felt that we should maintain the high pass throughout for a full harmony effect. I simply double tracked the higher take, added an echo to one track and boosted the bass on another, adding a subtle pan at the end. I repeated this process for the second verse as I was happy with the results. The second verse however seemed slightly more successful, so the first verse was pitch bent to match. The verses now work quite well together, and the phrasing of the verses seems fairly consistent.

The verses have been exported as singular sections, meaning for the looping effect they will have to be tiled together along the timeline on whichever video editing software Luca decides to use. I rather enjoyed this process, and believe that although none of us are singers as such, the results sound eerie and chilling. Reviewing the video where the final two passes are played simultaneously, I plan on going back and slightly adjusting the volumes to match, saving time during the editing process. 

At the minute, Hollie is planning to produce the rising pillar stop-motion sequence over the weekend. On Monday we are planning to film our second video in Leeds City centre based on Vay's storyboard. After the process of filming, I plan on using soundtrack pro (in College) to create the sound for the falling pillars later in the video. I have learned that Audacity is best used for sound recording, and only short edits. Soundtrack pro will hopefully give me more control as Audacity does not offer much freedom when editing. 

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