‘Quiet On The Set’ Goes For Objects, Too

Unless you’re sonically savvy, trying to sleep, or simply on edge, you probably don’t realize just how noisy common items can be. Pretty much everything makes enough racket to ruin a sound man’s day, or at the very least, their chance of picking up the dialogue between two characters. What you need on a set are noiseless but realistic versions of common noisemakers like paper bags, ice cubes, and to a lesser extent, billiard balls.

If you’ve spent any time at all on Reddit, you’ve probably seen frustratingly short GIFs of [Tim Schultz] quickly explaining how this or that noiseless prop is made. Embedded below is a compendium of prop hacks with more information worked in along the way. Talk about dream job! Problem solving and then hacking together a solution for a living sounds terrifying and delightful all at once.

Speaking of terrifying and delightful hacks, there’s still plenty of time to enter our Halloween Hackfest contest, which runs through Monday, October 11th. Halloween is the best time to go all out, so show us what you can do!

Via adafruit

11 thoughts on “‘Quiet On The Set’ Goes For Objects, Too

  1. Now they need to use these in cinemas where people make constant noise going through their bags of edibles.
    There is a reason you are not allowed to smuggle in chips bags. And it is not just that they want to sell their own food.
    These things are insufferably loud.

    1. “Now they need to use these in cinemas”

      I was thinking the same thing.

      “There is a reason… it is not just that they want to sell their own food”

      I doubt that. If Cinema owners cared they wouldn’t sell so many candies in crinkly bags themselves.

      I’ve long wanted cinemas to ban bags and sell all their junkfood in boxes. Some of the candy they sell does come that way already. Surely some of the big chain cinemas are big enough to tell the candy makers they will only buy stuff in noiseless containers and they would respond by offering everything in boxes. But I guess others aren’t so bothered by this, so they keep buying tickets and so long as the tickets sell the cinemas don’t see a need to change anything.

  2. But in the days of live radio, sound was everything. The sound of a body falling and hitting the ground was done only once with a watermelon hitting a hard surface, it was too realistic. A bag of flour will do.

    In movies nearly every sound is fake and dubbed in. I once heard noises off (a door opening off screen) and the sound came out of not the 7.1 surround but the center channel where dialog comes out in mono, just lazy. A scene in The Right Stuff has a jet taxiing across and off the scene, it’s pan the mono sound across and then pot it down. The jet was still moving.

    Dunkirk was one movie that got it right when it comes to sound, got an award. One species of frog from a Hollywood back lot is in every movie made for decades no matter where in the world it’s set.

    In the early days of TV with stereo sound the PGA telecasts had stereo mics picking up the bird sounds and ambiance of the golf course. Then some executive decided that a loop of birds from one course was good enough. Calls flooded the network and complained how can X birds heard be at Y course, it’s impossible so they went back to micing live birds in season and region.

    1. Note that in almost every scene which is the first scene with traffic (after indoors shots) you hear a honking sound.
      Now go outside and count how often you hear honking in normal, everyday, flowing traffic. Almost never. It’s almost a trope.

      I once saw a shot of a complex James Bond scene being shot – it was incredibly noisy, with the explosions going of (but not the explosion sound you hear in the movies, but dull bangs and the sound of oil drums expanding), fans to throw up dust, camera’s and James Bond itself moving along a zip line and also hydraulics which was a heavy object falling over. Not only do they add sounds, but they also have to remove a lot of the original sound – I highly doubt any audio from the original shot was used other than as a que base.

      1. This is par for the course. Bar scenes with pool sounds but no actual pool table, slow moving cars screeching when turning, toilets that flush but don’t make refill sounds, knives and swords that sound like metal rubbing together when waved in the air or pull out of a wooden block, static on digital video sources, and only recently did they stop having cell phones click upon disconnection. What’s probably the most distracting now is the fake sounds added to exploding or crushed bricks/stone. Those props have to be foam or similar for obvious safety reasons but the sounds from the various sound banks don’t usually sync right especially when some of the foam is bouncier than it’s supposed to be for rock. The best one though: Sony reusing the sounds from Frozen Bubble in The Amazing Spider man film. The game clearly isn’t Frozen Bubble, likely to avoid copyright issues, but the sounds of the game are used instead–including the “drop” sound the compressor makes to push the bubbles down the stage.

    1. Not the dialog, usually; overdubbing speech later and matching mouth movements is hard to get right. so the point of the silent props is to keep the prop sounds away from the speech microphones. The ambient sounds and the like get added in later.

      1. Don’t know if it’s true or not but someone once told me that in the film Flash Gordon all of Flash’s dialog isn’t actually the actor’s voice because he did something to tick off the director so he wasn’t brought in for the post dubbing.

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