Film & Sound Design
‘Last Shot’ Directed by Spencer Wardwell
For this project, our job with sound, was to help tell the story of a former pro basketball player, who stumbles upon old memorabilia that leads him back into his passion for the game.
For a low budget film with no dialogue, we took a simple approach. We rigged an all-in-one set-up which allowed us to follow the character throughout scenes and grab foley sound effects on the run.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
The primary task in post was to eliminate any unwanted noises or distractions and recreate a soundscape more desirable to the story-line. In the scene below I battled airplanes flying over and constant street noise. Even though there was no dialogue, the original audio was used as a placeholder as sync points for foley. To create the new soundscape, a great trick is to watch the video or scene a few times without any audio, and determine what the viewer should actually hear while watching. For an older man, it felt appropriate to create an easy going, slow environment. We then scrapped the original audio, added in some light birds, a few cars going by, and all the necessary foley involved in the scene. Listen below to hear the difference.
FOLEY AND SFX
Most of the foley sounds were recorded on set, such as the VCR, doors, and basketball bounces. On another day, we went to a park that had a chain-link net to get the sounds of the basketball hitting the hoop along with a swish sound. These are the foley samples that create the mind trick that what your seeing and hearing is real. based on what we already know in our reality. As a sound designer, you should always take creative liberties to enhance that reality with sound effects. The slow-motion shots of the basketball hitting the rim were a prime example of this. The feeling of impact in slow-motion was something to be desired. After searching through a few sound packs, we found a few low-end hits that we layered with the foley sound. Take a listen below to hear the foley, sound effect, and both together.
Spencer had one request when it came to the post audio stage. He needed audio of a 70’s basketball highlight reel to imitate the character’s past. The viewer never sees the TV, only the facial expressions of the character. This allowed us to freely create and manipulate something that didn’t even exist. Our first step was the audio hunt, going through as many sound bibles, videos, and recorded audio to see what we could gather. After we had enough samples to work with, we began to plug and play. We ended up enjoying clips that involved extremely descriptive plays and bombastic crowd cheers to give the effect that we were watching the highlight reel of a pro-athlete in his heyday. We then had to prioritize which clips had the biggest emotional pull to build with the scenes and music. One line that stood out to us began with the radio announcer yelling, “One shot!… For the bullet!” That eventually became the closing line as our character makes his last shot.