Discussing Music & Sound


Music: I started off with the idea of using some exiting quick classic guitar song played and written by my uncle which is a guitarist, but then I decided it wasn’t the appropriate theme song for my film especially if I’m trying to give an idea of dark, mysterious, modern, catchy city like London. So I ended up choosing a techno track from one of my friends creations. He works for a Sound Production Company and his Art name is DJ PParanoia. I chose a specific song right because it had several xylophone notes that could have helped introduce shots or titles. I could roughly say that my title sequence is entirely based on cutting the image to the music beat in order to show as many shots of the city as possible and attracting the viewer’s attention with colourful glowing images and transitions.

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Initially the chosen track was too long for my title sequence, but I really wanted it as the theme song, so I decided to modify the track by cutting a middle part and making it shorter, without losing the best parts and the catchy drops the song had. This idea of cutting to the beat really quickly sometimes could cause some problems. Since the timing is the first and most important thing, it has to be perfect; the software allowed me to see the timing up to 00,00,01 which is really precise option. Apart from this I based the timing of the shots even thanks to my ears and capacity of understanding the beat. Thanks to this I managed to adjust things that were timed wrongly.

To edit the music I used a software called Cochise Studio my producer friend advised me to use, it was easy to understand where to cut: techno song are mainly created by repetitive sounds that are played many times one after the other to create a flow; the only thing I had to do was to recognize the parts that were the same and cut them as if there were less in order to make the song little shorter. The software looks complex but its easy to get your head around, you just need to listed to a  songs on the software and play around with the options without fearing about doing something wrong.


Throughout all the Title Sequence the sound is non-diagetic, I decided to take away the background sounds in the shots mainly because it was noise polluted all the time and it would have confused the viewers ideas and damaged the quality of the sound in general.

The Sound: Unfortunately shooting in a city like London is very difficult to control the sound, the traffic is constant movement, the hundreds of people on the pavements don’t care what you’re doing and everything is out of control. But i personally like this theme the city gives us of never sleep, always living and never stopping! Giving the viewers the pleasure of going around the city without hearing any unpleasant noises, is something they want to feel or try at least once, they are attracted by this basic but captivating feature.

London - Traffic

By chosing a techno song i wanted to achieve a catchy and enthralling sound to offer the audience, i wanted them to be carried away by the flow, images related to the sound, creating a deep and mesmerizing and hypnotic flow to be fully enjoyed. The xylophones notes really helped me to give this misty, spooky theme to it, and entrance the spectators watching it. The speed of the track helped me in terms of visual entertainment, because I could easily match it with the images and follow the flow I wanted.


Location Shots Of My Title Sequence

Here are some of the locations where I shot scenes for my title sequence. The filming Journey consisted in spending a weekend visiting several locations around London during the night-time. I was predominantly looking for lights and typical things that the city could offer me. From the bridges to the amazing buildings and lights and advertising panels in crowded squares and so on.

I was also stopped by the police at 1 o clock in the morning in Camden Town, they asked me what was I doing with a tripod walking the streets of London at one o’clock in the morning! I told them I was shooting a title sequence for a School project… they decided to let me go.

Since I decided to give a Gotham City theme to my video I chose specific spots where to shoot, places where I could find nightlife, lights many people, dodgy places in order to give a realistic theme and feeling to the viewer.

– I started off at Leicester Square Light Panels, where the panels offered me lots of different lights effects and captivating images. I also found  high concentration of  people, that from one point of view made my shooting more difficult but from the order very realistic. I personally liked very much Leicester Square as a place to shoot because it allowed me to use a wide variety of shots, from long distances, from above and underneath the element shown.

                                                                Restaurant in the Square shot taken from underneath. Schermata 02-2456343 alle 18.03.47

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                                                                Leicester Square Underground Stop (Nice Close-Ups)

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– Afterwards I decided to go to Camden Lock a very typical place in central London where you can find any sort of things: from street bands playing to entertain you, light games to people af all sorts. In this spot I managed to capture many different shots like graffiti, pieces of street art and trees shooting light!

Camden was the only spot where the shots managed to give a particularly wide variety of elements to capture, i had to keep the camera constantly filming in order not to miss anything. Whilst the other places had monotonous places and environments to film.

Camden Lock taken from a Long Shot (Many lights, wide variety of colours.. the perfect spot for shoot my title sequence)

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Camden Lock City SymbolSchermata 12-2456274 alle 15.54.26

Wall Art

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– Tower Bridge was the third stop of my journey; My brother once lived in that area so I knew the place quite well and also knew the perfect spots where to take some nice shots. I friend of mine also lived in that area and told me if I wanted I could shoot the beautiful view he had from his house, and so I accepted happily his invitation and achieved a very good outcome. These are the two shots I made from his house

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This was taken from a beautiful garden very close to the river Themes. The garden is property of the government offices next to Tower Bridge. The guards allowed us to shoot without any problems, I just kindly asked them if I coud make a quick shot of the bridge for my school project.

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The last stop I did was Tower Bridge, from there I decided to walk long the river and capture everything interesting I could see. I did so and bumped into many curious shots, which I studied and worked on in order to make them entertaining for the viewer. For example this image below was taken from the corridor that brought on a boat, I couldn’t fit in the frame all the buildings at once by staying on the land. The Boat was a restaurant so there were no problems in shooting.

I personally like this image because it manages to frame many different things: from the lights in the river side, to the new London Building “The Shard” the business offices where millions of pounds are flowing everything kind of brought together by a thin blue line that lays at the bottom of each building.

Tower Bridge Offices and Buildings

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– I also decided to shoot part of my project on my Brothers motorbike. This idea was one of the first ones I had. I was a little concerned about the lighting issue while shooting on the motorbike. the idea was to shoot by nigh-time so other that having no natural lights and making it hard for the camera to see properly I even had to face another problem, the fact I was in constant movement and the lighting kept on changing. I spend a whole night shooting on my brothers motorbike about 3/4 hours of work, once me and my brother reached home I went back on the footage o see how it went, and I was really surprise how good some of the shots were. The 2 main problems I faced, that made the video quality lower was the shaking issue because of the unsteady London streets and sometimes the lighting, in some parts of the city there was a lack of lighting and it was very difficult for the camera to capture clear shots of the city.

The big Ben. Very difficult shot to take.  Successfully shot on the first take while riding at high-speed under the tower with the motorbike. How the tower is framed could remind us of an artistic shot of the famous building.

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Curious shot taken from the drivers point of view, shining on the wall where the a title appears in synchrony with the motorbike front light.
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We can see how the lighting here becomes a bit unclear, it suddenly becomes really dark and you don’t quite understand what it happening, but fortunately its a brief moment, it comes back to normal straight away.

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My brother and his Motorbike, During a break for fuel.

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I have to say though, that London, really is a wonderful and captivating city  that never sleeps but I it also have its disadvantages. I had o face several problems in the filming throughout the metropolis.
For example, while shooting on the motorbike it was very difficult to keep steady hands because of the roads on bad conditions. Also moving through the city really becomes a problem, time really passes quickly and you nearly spend most of the time travelling on busses and trains and waiting that outdoors. The people, the crowds that populate the city during the night can become a problem sometimes, when they don’t leave you space or time. Unfortunately the city requires a constantly fast life style, which after a while becomes really difficult to maintain.

The permissions issues were also a problem, many times officers stopped us asking what were we doing but fortunately they let us always go, some of them even contributing with some artistic ideas and shots.