In the winter of 2013 we were asked to participate in a self-initiated R&D project with London based creative studio Neon. Using their very own production process they were able to create a series of impossible yet photo-real shots that places the viewer in and around the action. This project presented us with a great opportunity to get involved in the creative process right from the initial location shoot.
The film shoot took place in Caroline Gardens Chapel, originally built in 1827 and unfortunately bombed during the war. Whilst the resulting fire damage left the walls distressed, key features such as the Italian marble memorial plaques survived, making for a popular film location. We met the Neon team on-site to take advantage of the live shoot and capture recordings of pro skater Danny Brady jumping, grinding, skating and spinning his wheels. Given the setting we wanted to ensure that we were able to accurately portray the live environment and so we set out to record near and far field recordings of Danny’s skateboard using Sennheiser MKH416 microphones. The directional aspect of the mic’s allowed us to capture an effective stereo image whilst the naturally diffuse sound field provided the inherent sense of space.
As a somewhat abstract piece, we knew that various other audio elements would be layered in back at the studio and to seamlessly blend with our field recordings we would need to emulate the natural chapel reverb. To achieve this we played out and recorded back a 5 second sine wave sweep via a studio speaker positioned in the centre of the space. The reverberation time of this pure tone provided us with the necessary information to create our very own convolution reverb modelled on the physics of the chapel, accurate across all frequencies. With this in hand we were able to apply the sonic qualities of the church to other audio material used in the final piece and remain in concert with our live recordings and the sonic environment of the building.
Musically, we took a somewhat surreal and unstructured approach that simultaneously gave room for our recordings to breathe and matched the hyper-real pace and positioning of the camera work. Our intention was to inject a sense of the uncanny as you take the impossible journey around Danny and his skateboard.