Part 1 of my behind-the-scenes look at the production of Playtime Season 2
Work on Playtime Season 2 has been humming along at a steady pace for weeks now. I have already hit several key milestones. The first was roughly 2 weeks ago, when I completed Forge construction of all the “sets” that will appear in the 2nd season. After that, I shifted my attention to finalizing the script. I’ve been writing down a few lines of dialogue here and there for quite some time now, but it wasn’t until last week that I actually had a fully written script that covered all 4 episodes. This was critical, since Season 2 is actually one continuous story stretched across 4 episodes, rather than 4 self-contained stories. This requires a level of organization far beyond anything I needed to do while making the first season.
With the script complete, I moved on to the next major element of production: Voice acting. Playtime Season 2 features far more characters than the first season. This meant that I needed to expand my range as a voice actor. I record all the dialogue using a table-top digital voice recorder. I record the voices 1 character at a time. This means I’ll sit down and read through all of Warren’s dialogue for the entire season, then do all of Cobra’s dialogue, etc. I do this rather than bouncing back and forth between characters because it helps me keep each character sounding consistent from one scene to the next.
Once the dialogue was recorded, I import the files to my computer and run them through a couple audio programs.
First, I use a program called Audacity to apply some basic compression and EQ passes on all the voice recordings. I also use Audacity for pitch-shifting effects, to make certain characters’ voices sound lower or higher than I can do naturally. I apply different levels of processing to each character’s voice to create distinct tones.
After all the voice work has been run through Audacity, I then import all the files into a multi-track audio program called Sonar. I use sonar to add another layer of effects to the voices. For example, I add a slight distortion effect to Cobra and Warren’s voices to mimic the sound of their helmet speaker projecting their speech. Later, I will also use Sonar for all panning and spacial effects, such as echos and reverbs. However, that step does not come until after filming has taken place.
Here are some samples of my voice work before and after the audio processing.
1st up: Warren. Warren’s voice is basically my natural speaking voice. Here’s an un-edited clip:
Now here’s that same clip after I’ve added a distortion effect to simulate his helmet speaker:
Next, let’s listen to a clip of Cobra’s dialogue before any processing:
In addition to some distortion, I also raise the pitch of my voice for Cobra’s lines:
Finally, let’s check out one of the new characters introduced in Season 2. The General:
For the General’s voice, I lowered the pitch, added some distortion, as well as a slight flanger effect for a sound not unlike Darth Vader.
After adding the effects to each character’s voice, I edited every conversation together into a single audio file. This allows me to listen to the dialogue from the entire season in one continuous piece of audio. I’ll then cut scenes and move them around until I’m happy with the flow and continuity of the entire season.
That’s all for today. Come back next week for a look at the next phase of production: Storyboarding.
Playtime Season 2 Development Blog
- Part 1 – Voice Acting and Audio Recording
- Part 2 – Story-boards and Animatics
- Part 3 – Filming
- Part 4 – Video Editing
- Part 5 – Audio Editing and Final Production