You didn't ask for a critique, especially one on the sound design but I'd like to give one anyway if you don't mind, because I almost never get the opportunity on indietalk to critique sound design! This is because the vast majority of the films, trailers or clips I see posted here don't use any sound design at all and those few which do are generally littered with so many technical issues there's little time or point in discussing the sound design.
To be honest I was very surprised by the first 5 mins you posted, I was expecting something much, much worse!! Very well done, you have obviously put considerable thought and effort into the sound design and it shows, the sound design definitely aids the story and helps to involve the audience. It's not without it's weaknesses though. Technically, with the sound editing there is only one issue, some slightly out of sync sound designed footsteps starting around 3:45. The Sound Design itself:
The edit at around 1:05 is rather abrupt, we have a hard edit from the desaturated image of the sun through the leafless tree to the stand of green trees blowing in the wind, this is supported by a short L cut of the sound design XFading into the sound of wind. IMHO, the L cut and XFade are far too short and rather than helping to blend the shots together, the sound design emphasises the hard edit and disassociates the first 3 edits from the rest of the film. I would have started the L cut earlier, XFaded more gradually and faded out the sound design elements under the wind FX much more slowly and as imperceptibly as possible.
To be honest I'm a little concerned about the first three shots in general. My initial impression was "oh no, another indie filmmaker giving a photography demonstration rather than telling a story, boring"! Particularly the first two edits seem to contribute nothing to the story except to slow the pace, which is a bad thing for the opening of an indie film. In fact, it takes 2 whole minutes before anything of interest occurs (to anyone but another camera owner). The sound design helps to mitigate this judgement to an extent but there is still a lack of pace and dramatic content to grab and intrigue the audience from the start. Even after 5 minutes, I'm still not sure if this is going to be a good and engrossing film with a few pacing problems or a really boring film with a few interesting scenes!
Back to the sound design: There's a slight glitch in the sound and change in the ambience on the visual edit at 1:14 this emphasises the edit and damages continuity. The ambiance changes even more dramatically on the next edit at 1:22 again damaging continuity and implying a complete change in location and/or time period. The bare and bleak sounding wind FX here is inappropriate IMO; not only is it a low budget cliché but it implies the location is outside (exterior). However, the reverb on the Foley implies an interior location, meanwhile the visual image is ambiguous, this is all rather confusing. The sound FX should be aiding our understanding of the setting/location not confusing it further. The wind sound FX is a problem throughout the rest of the 5 minutes, sometimes changing inline with the visual edits (thereby damaging continuity) and generally being far too strong. We can hear a lot of wind but in the images don't support a strong wind. There is also potentially a problem with the low frequency sweeps, although it blends well with the wind and makes an interesting sound design element, it is rather unpredictable. On a laptop this effect would be inaudible and in a cinema it could be overpowering.
The ADR of the muffled cries of the girl are very well acted and recorded, so much so that I'm not even sure it is ADR! However, when we cut to the exterior the processing is a little off-putting. Adding the reverb helps imply a bigger space but the cries themselves need far more low pass filtering to give a more realistic impression of the distance. Try a LPF at about 1.2kHz and -18dB per 8ve to start with and go lower if necessary. I never thought I'd hear myself say this here but if anything, the film has maybe a little too much obvious sound design in this first 5 mins. Sound design is at it's most effective when used at the sub-conscious level. If it's used obviously too frequently it looses it's dramatic impact and gives an abstract or surreal feeling, which will put your film into an even smaller niche market.
There are a few other issues but this is enough to be going on with. This all sounds like harsh criticism, it isn't! My comments here are pretty advanced compared to the usual level of my comments. The sound design in your film is certainly well beyond beginner level and demonstrates a good attention to detail but not quite such a good attention to fine detail.
I hope you find this useful and if not, then I hope others do and again, despite my criticisms, well done!
Last edited by AudioPostExpert; 12-20-2012 at 03:09 PM.