Shortened Harry

The movie as radio assignment intrigued me. I have a few soundtrack recording, like Quincy Jones’ In The Heat Of The Night and Lalo Schifrin’s score for Dirty Harry. In these movies, we hear in the ambient background noise an occasional snippet of a song coming from a radio in a car or a restaurant, and because it’s background noise, we don’t pay attention. Full versions of those songs are on the soundtrack recordings. I thought it might be interesting to loop some samples from them and use key phrases of dialogue as lyrics to make something that totally changes the character. But my voice is so soft that microphones sometimes don’t even pick it up, so I opted for something easier.

I noticed the other day that Dirty Harry was available for online streaming. I watched it and made mental notes of key dialogue. There’s really not much talking in the film, but the music is cool. After viewing, I went back to record bits and pieces. To do that, I start up a program called Soundflower, and set the system preferences to output the sound to that program. In Audacity, I have Soundflower set as the input device. I couldn’t hear what I was recording, but from just having watched it, I knew which parts to capture. Then I put in my soundtrack CD, opened up individual tracks and copied parts. I added in my bits of dialogue, and used the Amplify function so they wouldn’t get drowned out. Adding the extra tracks was just a copy and paste process, but it pasted new tracks at the beginning of the recording, so I had to do some cut and paste to move things around on the timeline. I put them in as new tracks, then used the Mix function to combine them from four tracks into two. I repeated that process, bits of music, bits of dialogue, move and mix. I wanted to get it finished, but it was time-consuming and it was late so I left it for the next day.

With better planning and better skills, I probably could have made something really interesting, but as it is, I think it works. I’ll have to try some more audio experiments.

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