My birthday takes palace this weekend and I thought I’d take a break from weeping uncontrollably and checking for grey hairs to strap on several cheap birthday hats (the elastic bands kept breaking) and write a Foley Friday. I must be going through some typical childhood regression because to celebrate being a year closer to death I’ve decided to head to Canada’s Wonderland and ride roller coasters all day., which of course inspired this week’s sound.
Roller coasters pop up in movies when characters visit amusement parks or fairs – most likely on a date. There aren’t a lot of scenes set on them that don’t have music thrown over top and isn’t shot with one camera – this is because they’re loud, the wind blowing into the characters face’s is loud, they’re locked into going one speed (which is fast) and the characters are stuck looking one direction and can’t move or have a proper conversation. This keeps roller coasts type casted as background actors in most of their film roles. In a scene set in an amusement park/fair you can be certain to hear one in the background or see one whiz by the screen to reveal the actors in the scene, one probably carrying a giant pink gorilla.
Usually I highlight one aspect of a sound or a pre mixed sound that simply mixes two elements together to create one full sound but this week we have a fully mixed sound. It puts elements of screaming people, the click clack of a track and air rushing as the cars fly past. The most important part is the panning and volume. As the roller coaster blows by the listener the volume increases when it approaches and decreases as the coaster continues on its way. The same for the panning – panned first in the direction it’s coming from and transferring over to the direction it’s headed. While it may sound like this was all recorded in one take its more likely that all of those elements were combined in a studio and mixed to sound like we were next in line to get on.
Which is where you’ll find me this weekend I’ll be the guy with the bag full of birthday hats (those elastic bands wont stop breaking), more next week.