Making-Of. "Life is a dance" is the new film by Sebastian Linda and the German national champion "The Saxonz". The Saxonz is a crew of the most active dancers in Saxony, Germany. This summer Sebastian Linda, Steffen Krones, Erik Gross and the the crew travelled through Saxony to the best location to capture the movement of dancing.

Sebastian call me again to work with him together like always a pleasure for me. Our idea was to create an innovative clip. Innovation in picture and sound. We tried to find new ways to work with both media and transport the feeling of movement and passion of the The Saxonz. The way to create an authentic feeling is using authentic sounds and gave sound to the dance moves. I used a lot of stuff for this project. My Pro Tools session counts more than 50 channels and more than 400 sound elements. I recorded real dance sounds from the dancers, recorded atmospheres, searched in many libraries and made some sounds from scratch.

Screen Shot ProTools Session 002
Screen Shot ProTools Session 002
Screen Shot ProTools Session 003
Screen Shot ProTools Session 003
Screen Shot ProTools Session 004
Screen Shot ProTools Session 004

The idea behind was to have three different sound parts. The first one starts with aggressive electronic music. Second song habe a positive and dynamic mood. Last one is a classic goosebump composition. So we needed a sounddesign close to the mood of the music. We startet with many electronics sounds at the first song, the secong one is a mixed between electronic and at the end I used only organic sounds.

An other technique I used very often is transformation of real recordings in half acoustic half electronic sounds. For this job Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2 is right tool for me. I can use own samples and modify them with effects, edit the waveform and add some drive. An other program helped me with this was Ableton Live 9. Live is great to play around with samples and transform real sound in abstract soundscapes and textures.

This time a tried again to use analog machines for cool and authentic sounds. In the transition between the first and second music you can hear a vinyl scratch. This is a real recorded effect. I took the black gold, played them with my vinyl player, made some scratches and recorded them in ProTools. Cool and authentic little moments. Make the sound composition more organic.

A key tool in this project is automation. I used it a lot to create a dynamic movement. For examples I took the Fabfiler Plug-In "Volcano" to automate the frequency of some filter LFOs. I transformed noise pads in to spiral dance sounds. Automation is also used for the transition between the music tracks and to add variation of some sounds. I love it to use automation on delay parameters, panorama and stereo wideness of the masterbus. All in all creates a dynamic feeling of the sounddesign apposite to the dynamic filming and post production of Sebastian.

Sounddesign is an unconscious but a very important art in film making. Here is one scene in "Life is a Dance" separated in sounddesign and music. At first only music, second only sounddesign and at the end the conclusion of both elements. You can hear how much sound I added to the film.

I spend a lot of time searching for the right sound for dance movements. The problem was that many samples sounded cheesy in combination with dance elements. Finally we used realistic footsteps combined with a huge amount of whoosh sounds edited, time stretched and filtered exactly to the movement of each dance item.

At the end it was a long mixing process. We tested different gains of each sound elemts to find a good working loudness. It is not easy to find a volume that fits together with the music. We tried the final mix on monitors, notebook speakers, smart phones, earphones and finally in the cinema at the premiere. It works.

Some stuff I used for the Sound Design and Mixing:

  • Avid Pro Tools 11
  • Ableton Live 9
  • Zoom H6 with Rode NTG-3
  • Native Instruments Absynth 5, Reaktor 6
  • Fabfilter Plugs
  • Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2
  • div. Plugs
  • div. libraries