Film & Web Sound

Film & Web Sound
Gold-plated polish for your production.

Whether you're looking for low-budget post production sound for your short film or Internet video, sound effects & foley, or an original score, I can help give your production's audio a professional layer of fit and finish through my indie sound for picture services.

Mixing & Mastering

Audio is often an afterthought for low-budget video productions. Indie filmmakers and videographers naturally tend to focus on the visuals and the story, so it's not uncommon to spot sound problems on even some beautifully-shot and staged low-budget productions. From obvious dropoffs to zero in audio where lines were spliced, to noisy on-set audio, to a lack of realistic effects and foley, all the way to a lack of motivated music, independent & low-budget productions often reveal their humble budgets when you listen.

I pride myself on my detail-oriented and pragmatic approach to mixing audio for picture. It starts with a careful listen through your close-to-final edit, as well as other takes, word by word, line by line, cataloging and taking notes as I go. Then, I approach a sound mix with the goal of adding clarity in service of the story — because bad audio can be as subconsciously distracting to the audience as an unusual cadence by an actor, or can pull the audience out of the story as readily as breaking the camera's point of view.

I use a variety of different professional audio plugins, including EQ, compression & limiting (controlled normalization of the volume differences between loud and soft parts), and environmental placement via natural-sounding reverbs. And, while it's always best to capture the cleanest audio you can on-set, sometimes that's impossible on a low-budget production. So, I also have a suite of audio forensic tools at my fingertips, allowing me to remove and/or control noise, captured reverberation, and other distractions from the spoken words.

Once we establish a clean baseline and the dialog has been processed, we add in any foley & effects (which you may already have or that I create), and any music or underscore, balancing levels and using automation as needed to achieve a final mix.

Finally, the ultimate delivery of your picture may dictate the audio mastering. Something that's going to be shown in a film festival may require a different approach to its audio mastering versus a short going up on YouTube; one allows for the full range of sound, whereas online video services' compression may call for a tweaked master. I can help you navigate these challenges with multiple delivery targets.

I love to do all of this in a collaborative environment, rather than a black box you send your edit off to and receive a final mix back. If you're local to NYC, it's possible to have an interactive mix session in my Astoria-based project studio, if you wish. Or, more commonly, I provide mix samples of scenes whole or partial for your review and notes.

And don't forget, I can be an adviser to your onset production sound engineer, ensuring a tight loop where the best quality audio is captured on location, making the whole process in post much easier!

What about surround mixing?

Surround sound mixing isn't something my project studio is currently set up to handle, unfortunately. While I've worked in surround before, it's not a service I feel comfortable offering at this time. So, if your project requires a surround mix and master, I'd recommend looking at some other options. I'm stereo-only at the moment, which aligns with the budget and release environment of most of the projects I work on.

Effects & Foley

Everyone's familiar with the concept of sound effects: a door slamming, glass crashing, gunshots, and other sonic exclamation points fill the movies and TV shows we watch. But foley is a separate, more subtle art. Foley attempts to capture everyday sounds to bring life to the action on the screen. From footsteps to the rustling of papers, from the easing of fabrics to the creak of a chair, foley adds a level of realism to the images onscreen. Close your eyes and listen to your environment for a moment; you may hear the hum of an air conditioner, the settling of your furniture, the squeak of your leather shoes. These are all components of your environment's ambience, and perhaps foley.

When dealing with foley for picture, what you choose to put in via foley is just as important as what you choose to omit. If every action and thing onscreen has an attendant piece of audio, it can be sensory overload for viewers and it can get in the way of dialogue. So, it's important not only to have high-quality foley, but also to remain appropriate to the production. Effects are easy; foley and ambience are a little trickier. Okay, that's an oversimplification: effects aren't easy, per se — finding or creating high-quality effects through sound design is a challenge. But, sound effects are easy in the sense that if you see a gun fire or a door slam or a glass break, you'll absolutely have the sound to go with a specific onscreen action, while foley requires a level of curation in terms of what you choose to hear.

I have several high-quality libraries for sound effects, foley audio, and ambience. And, if your project's needs exceed anything I may have in my libraries, I can record or create from scratch any needed sounds using my high-quality audio equipment. While recording audio for music sometimes involves audio preamps that impart a desired personality to the signal, I go through my professional, clean, and honest Apogee preamps when recording sound for picture. And, with my mobile recording capabilities, I can capture the audio needed wherever I may find it — though the majority of foley I do I often can capture in my apartment.

Scoring & Music Curation

Dialog, effects, ambience, and foley, mixed expertly, all make up a successful audio track for your project. But, often you need music as well. With my long experience in composing and producing across a variety of genres, I can help craft the perfect soundtrack for your project.

Whether you're looking for a soaring orchestral score, an intimate jazz combo, a thumping electronic soundscape, a whimsical neo-folk ensemble, or anything in between, a custom music soundtrack can push your project to a higher level of professionalism. While I have familiarity and have worked in almost all genres of music, I specialize in:

  • Orchestral work
  • Rock & pop
  • Electronic, particularly ambient, dance, EDM, and related
  • “Fusion” genres: orchestral electronic, soul rock, etc.
  • Hip-hop, R&B and urban, including funk & soul

I compose, arrange, record, and mix in the same project studio where I'm mixing your picture's audio, so the pipeline is kept tight and integrated.

But, perhaps you already have an idea for a specific song you'd like to explore using for a key scene. With my past life working in a music technology startup where we interacted with all the major and indie labels, I have contacts in the industry to help you with the licensing process. Or, if you don't have a specific song in mind but you know that you would like to find one, my music curation contacts will help make a match between your vision, your budget, and what songs are out there.

Scoring Examples: Amateur Dicks

Red Plaid Productions' Amateur Dicks tracks the investigative caseload of four broke, unmotivated, and baked roommates that were a little too inspired by a Magnum P.I. marathon. The ultra-low-budget series follows the exploits of these pseudo-sleuths as they try to solve cases they stumble upon. I've handled underscoring for two episodes, and full sound mixing and foley/FX for one.

Mission: Improbably Odd Lady From Amateur Dicks: The Web Series Genres: Homage, small orchestra, 70s, world rock

The mission: action underscoring for when the Dicks lay out their plan to infiltrate their neighbor's apartment in Amateur Dicks: The Web Series - Case File #1: The Cable Conundrum, featuring small television orchestra-inspired instrumentation, bongos, and electic guitar playing a variation on the main series theme.

Deduction, My Dear Dicks From Amateur Dicks: The Web Series Genres: Ambient, electronic, small orchestra, glitch, suspense, dissonant

My prompt for this bit of underscore in Amateur Dicks: The Web Series - Case File #1: The Cable Conundrum was to combine the ambient/electronic vibe played during deductions in the BBC's Sherlock series premiere episode “A Study in Pink” with some of the small-TV orchestra vibe established for Amateur Dicks, keeping tension up during the deduction.

Stakeout, Out & About From Amateur Dicks: The Web Series Genres: Jazz, "small" big band, 70s, spy, noir

In Amateur Dicks: The Web Series - Case File #2: The Devil Wears a Double D, the Dicks head out to follow a suspect after being hired by dame, a femme-fatale named Evelyn that suspects her fiancé of cheating on her. The whole episode is noir-inspired, prompting a cool-jazz-vibe small big band fronted by trumpet, vibraphone, and strings, with variation on the series theme.

Case Studies

See and read full breakdowns of some of my past work.

A Case of Dicks.

Sound mixing, foley & FX, and scoring — this project had it all. Read about what went into the second episode of Red Plaid Productions' comedy web series Amateur Dicks and hear each layer individually with my interactive video player.

Read case study »

Get In Touch

Just drop me a note through my contact form and describe your project, and I'll be in touch to see if there's a way we can work together!

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