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I recently completed sound design and mix at Dreambase Studios on a teaser for a new animated TV series called Elizabeth Avenue, created by Amanda Evans.

Produced by Martyn Niman of Elstree-based King Bee Entertainment, the series is based in a beautiful London street, lined with grand Victorian houses. It follows the adventures of a select pack of unpredictable, yet charming cats and dogs, each with their own distinctive characters, designed by Rafi Nizam and animated by King Bee Entertainment.

The big streets of London are bought to life through the antics of Lucy, Alfie, Ron, Reg and and a host of other characters as they go about their daily discoveries.

I sound designed and mixed the TV project, which includes music specially composed for the series by Barrington Pheloung.

Full details of the project can be seen by visiting the Elizabeth Avenue Site but for now here’s the teaser:

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I recently completed sound post production at Dreambase Studios on Verity’s Summer, a new feature film by Palme D’Or nominee Director, Ben Crowe.

Verity’s Summer is the story of a young woman’s journey from the security of childhood to the compromises of adulthood and moral ambiguities of love. It is also an intimate portrayal of a family coming to terms with the traumas and violence of distant war that are brought back home.

The film stars, Indea Barbe-WillsonMartin McGladeJames DohertyNicola Wright, and Christian Hogas and was shot on location in the North East.

The ambiences are very important in Verity’s Summer and I wanted to create definite ‘backgrounds’ for each scene. The coast is ever present in the film and so from a ‘sound tag’ point of view I wanted to make sure the sea sounds were distinctive and repeatable if necessary in order to reinforce the scenes.

I spent a weekend in West Wales recording lots of different locations for the film. I’d already spotted the film for what I needed to record but I took a rough cut of the film on my iPhone so I was able to get an idea of perspective there and then when making decisions on where to position the microphones for the best recording. I took many different sound perspectives from close up to the waves, to many hundred meters away, at times. I also took recordings of the countryside nearby as these also play an important part in many of the scenes in Verity’s Summer.

A chance recording I made of some sea birds defending territory on one of the beaches was also very useful in several scenes during post production. I chose Wales partly because it offered the same ‘sound feel’ as the visuals had suggested to me but also because it is largely free of interference from transport such as aircraft, motorways and trains. In fact, recording on location in many parts of Wales is, at times like having your own outdoor studio, such is the absence of external sound interference. And I also love visiting this area, so it was a good excuse for a short break!

Ambience recordings were combined with other sounds in order to subtly change the mood of the film as a scene progressed. For example, I was keen to make sure we had simple but dark textures in some scenes, particularly the more difficult dialogue subjects. In others, such as Verity’s garden I wanted to make the sound detailed and comfortable, as the garden is often a place of solace for her.

Among the many Foley sounds we recorded, were a variety of Trangia sounds for when one of the characters (Martin McGlade, as Castle) is eating in his encampment. My Dreambase Studios co-director, Mark Kenna enjoyed a lunch of cold baked beans and stale bread that day in order to complete the Foley recording for the scene, but once edited in it worked tremendously well and was absolutely necessary due to rain interference on the original production tracks.

Verity’s Summer premiered on 21st April at London’s Shortwave Cinema.

I recently completed the sound post production at Dreambase Studios on British Independent Horror film, Harsh Light of Day. Directed by Oliver Milburn and produced by Emma Biggins at Multistoryfilms. I worked with them to create a dynamic, theatrical mix that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

SYNOPSIS: After returning home from the launch of his book about the occult, Daniel Shergold’s house is broken into by thugs, who beat his wife to death and leave him paralyzed. A depressed agoraphobic in his secluded country cottage, Daniel mourns the death of his wife while being cared for by home nurse, Fiona. He is unable to accept the lack of success the police have in finding his wife’s killers. Daniel accepts a visit from a mysterious stranger who insists he can help him reap revenge. He agrees and is thrown into a strange and horrific transition into darkness. With renewed strength, Daniel sets out to avenge his wife’s murder, but at what cost?

From the outset HLOD needed a soundtrack that was set ‘completely in reality’ one minute and then going ‘off on one’ the next. These dynamics were intended to give the viewer a full gamut of aural experiences, from a comfortable almost anodyne setting to uncertain, or at times excruciating pieces.

Shooting outdoors and on the coast presented the usual sound issues, so wild tracks, Foley recordings and sound design were used extensively to convey the appropriate sentiment in these scenes, from water lapping on a pebbly beach to the atmosphere of a dock yard. In contrast, the ‘sound’ of the house in the film is almost silent, again to emphasise the isolation of the cottage and to ensure the film exhibited plenty of sound dynamics.

The film’s producer Emma Biggins commented at the premiere: ‘the screening went really well tonight – looked and sounded fantastic’

HLOD is released in cinemas on Friday 13th April 2012 and the theatrical trailer can be seen here:

I recently completed some music compositions and a sound mix for Stephanie Palmer’s documentary about asthma sufferer Lisa and the steps she’s taken to cope with the condition. Called ‘Lisa’s Story: On My Sleeve’, the documentary was made as part of a series of films for Asthma UK and Big Up Your Chest TV to highlight the condition and how it affects the lives of those who suffer with asthma.

The guitar pieces for the film were intended to be simple and light-hearted but also to have a thoughtful tone and feel. This was designed to convey the subject matter and Lisa in the best possible way, and to complement Stephanie’s editing style. The edit audio from Final Cut was remixed and treated to reduce the large amounts of location interference from pedestrians and other building-related sounds. Extra ambience was added to add emphasis to the different locations in the film.

The film can be seen here:

This is the ident I made for the just-released ‘Wootton Bassett Rocks! Wake Me Up When September Ends’ video, now showing on You Tube: http://youtu.be/NCvQa3cX0Cc

It was designed to go with the logo graphics designed by Lime Park Studios and animated by Rendermedia. The sound is a composite created by playing both the start riff notes and the solo notes at the same time, taken from the ‘Wake Me Up when September Ends” song. The guitar riff was played on my trusty Epiphone ’56 Gold Top with Fender Brownface amp setup, and was overdubbed 4 times and processed with a stereo flanger, multi-tap reverse roll delay, along with a medium reverb. Guitars are accompanied by some sizzling and plane sound effects.

The official music video can be downloaded on iTunes: http://bit.ly/vhnwdO.

Copyright © 2011 Hudd Sounds.

This is the theme I composed in Logic Studio as part of the overall sound design Mark and I did at Dreambase Studios for a theme park ride called Hoverchase 4D. It’s a breakbeat style intended to keep the pace of the ride from beginning to end, and to complement the speed of the visuals and the multilayered sound effects in the ride.

Hoverchase 4D was produced by Lightworx Media and is distributed by The Juice. The trailer can be seen here.

I’m in the process of designing a binauaral head with the aim of using it to capture sounds for some of the projects I work on, both commercial and personal. This might include ambience (winds, traffic hum, water, etc.) or even location dialogue. I know what you’re thinking – surely that’s just for playback on headphones? Well true, it’s at it’s best in that application. However I’m also experimenting with settings that will translate the location binaural recordings into effective audio sources for playing on normal loudspeaker systems. Binaural is already mono compatible though.

The head

So what happens first? Well I bought a polystyrene head off Ebay. I chose a man’s head because I couldn’t find a woman’s one that I liked and this example was suitably macho and ‘hi-tech’ – I think!

'Straight Outta Ebay'

Microphone mounts

I then fixed some large wood screws in each ‘ear’ of the head. These will be used to hold the microphones in position. I found the 5 x 70mm Screwfix ‘Goldscrews’ to be best for this purpose, with a sure-footed thread into the poly and enough diameter to spread the load in the relatively soft head material.

'Screwed'

The paint

I painted the head with some household paint that I had left over from decorating the cinema room. The Dulux ‘Potters Wheel’ matt emulsion gave a hi-tech [that word again!] look to the head.

'Paint Your Head'

The next time

That’s it for now. In Part 2 I’ll be painting it again (and maybe again), and I’ll be making the all-important ‘shock mount’. We will also look at the mics and various accessories that go with the head.

Stay tuned for Part 2…