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Thread: Bird Song

  1. #1
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    I don't know if anyone can help, but I do notice considerable bird song in the background of old British films, despite the lack of fidelility in some war time sound on film!!



    I am no expert, but I do try to identify some of the song birds. I know wildlife in general has declined of late, but would they bother to dub on a nightjar for example in a night scene, or crickets (rare in my neck of the woods!!) even? I guess that the number of barking foxes in Midsommer Murders (more than I have ever heard after living in the country for many years) suggests some enhancement, but surely not 50 or 60 years ago? Would the technology even be there in the 1940's?



    Comments would be much appreciated.



    Best wishes Mark.

  2. #2
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    name='MNP']I don't know if anyone can help, but I do notice considerable bird song in the background of old British films, despite the lack of fidelility in some war time sound on film!!



    I am no expert, but I do try to identify some of the song birds. I know wildlife in general has declined of late, but would they bother to dub on a nightjar for example in a night scene, or crickets (rare in my neck of the woods!!) even? I guess that the number of barking foxes in Midsommer Murders (more than I have ever heard after living in the country for many years) suggests some enhancement, but surely not 50 or 60 years ago? Would the technology even be there in the 1940's?



    Comments would be much appreciated.



    Best wishes Mark.


    If you watch Tawny Pipit then you will hear lots of wildlife noises. I went to the location of that film last year and you can still hear the noises

  3. #3
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    I have a set of 78rpm records of seperate tracks of bird song, farmyard animals etc. for use as background for film and early t.v. work. they are old but no actual date on them.

  4. #4
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    The only film that stands out in my mind for the birdsong is Went the Day Well? This features a blackbird singing as the Major goes to the vicarage to arrange the billeting of his troops.



    Nick

  5. #5
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    What about frogs?



    There are lots of different species of frogs around the world and they make all sorts of different noises. Some are silent, some whistle, some bark etc. etc.

    But in films, and in the imagination of most people, all frogs go "Ribit"



    That's because of the species of frog that is native to the Hollywood area which is one of the few frogs that makes a "Ribit" noise







    Steve

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    Wasn't there a chap here in the UK who made a living in the 50s 60s and 70s impersonating bird and animal sounds for film and TV? he became a bit of a celeb later in life turning up on Blue Peter and such like making all sorts of farmyard sounds....I've forgotten his name....anyone?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    Wildsong: birdsong, wildlife sounds and soundscapes on CD and online.



    Weren't films just made with no location-sound until the 1970's? All the dialogue would be dubbed later by the actors and men with coconut shells? So there was no 'live' sound in movies at all until quite recently?

  8. #8
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='christoph404']Wasn't there a chap here in the UK who made a living in the 50s 60s and 70s impersonating bird and animal sounds for film and TV? he became a bit of a celeb later in life turning up on Blue Peter and such like making all sorts of farmyard sounds....I've forgotten his name....anyone?
    Percy Edwards. It was said that at the height of his career he could accurately imitate over 600 birds, as well as many other animals.



    On one of his Blue Peter appearances (if he made more than one) he demonstrated his impersonation of a lion's roar by roaring into a large glass tube (about 4 inches diameter & about a foot long) which gave it the necessary resonance



    Steve

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    name='Steve Crook']Percy Edwards. It was said that at the height of his career he could accurately imitate over 600 birds, as well as many other animals.



    On one of his Blue Peter appearances (if he made more than one) he demonstrated his impersonation of a lion's roar by roaring into a large glass tube (about 4 inches diameter & about a foot long) which gave it the necessary resonance



    Steve


    Ah yes, thats the chap, Percy Edwards....cheers.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    name='Moor Larkin']Wildsong: birdsong, wildlife sounds and soundscapes on CD and online.



    Weren't films just made with no location-sound until the 1970's? All the dialogue would be dubbed later by the actors and men with coconut shells? So there was no 'live' sound in movies at all until quite recently?


    If you have ever wondered when looking at the end credits of a film what the "Foley Artist" does, he or she is the person with the cocunut shells! Like a background scene painter or voice artist they generally go unoticed in their contribution to a film but create and supply many sound effects that are not recorded at the time of filming. Footsteps on different surfaces, doors opening, glass tinkling, wine pouring, teapot pouring,striking a match and so on and so on.Its not often possible to record dialogue and other sounds within a scene even in a controlled studio environment and even if you are able to pick up other sounds you may want to enhance them or change them. There has always been live dialogue recording in films since "talking pictures' were invented, or at least an attempt to record live sound which is supplemented by looping in some sections of dialogue and sound effects afterwards, unless of course you are making films in Italy where the tradition has always been to shoot without any live sound recording at all and loop all the dialogue and sound effects afterwards. Actors I know hate looping their voice afterwards because it separates the vocal performance from the physical one and is quite tricky to do especially if its weeks or months later and the emotional involvement and momentum of playing the part is long gone.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    name='christoph404'] unless of course you are making films in Italy where the tradition has always been to shoot without any live sound recording at all and loop all the dialogue and sound effects afterwards.
    Aha! That's where I got it from then! I was chatting to somebody about McGoohan's voice on his spaghetti western. I thought it was him and they replied it was unlikely, but it might be, because they'd 'just started' recording live by the mid-Seventies.....



    A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.... .......

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    name='Moor Larkin']Aha! That's where I got it from then! I was chatting to somebody about McGoohan's voice on his spaghetti western. I thought it was him and they replied it was unlikely, but it might be, because they'd 'just started' recording live by the mid-Seventies.....



    A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.... .......


    I haven't seen McGoohan's spaghetti western, whats it called? is it any good? All the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns were post synched with the effects and voices afterwards. On the film "A Fistfull of Dynamite" (circa 1971 i think) Rod Steiger had a huge row with director Sergio Leone , a few days into filming Steiger questioned whether the constant chattering and noisey crew was going to affect the soundtrack. When Leone in his broken English, calmly and smilingly told Steiger not to worry about the dialogue and soundtrack too much as it would all be post synched afterwards as per normal...well....Steiger became incadescent with rage, had a huge barney with Leone who didn't speak much English anyway,and walked off set and threatened to walk off the whole film unless his dialogue was recorded live as he spoke it on set and on location. Leone caved in and agreed, perhaps that was the start of Italian filmakers starting to record live sound? Pressure from American stars appearing in their films?

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    This is a link to McGoohan's 'spaghetti' western. It is his own voice, and his accent is regarded by Italo-western fans to be a 'spaghetti' classic!



    Genio, due compari, un pollo, Un (1975)



    Bats.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    name='christoph404']I haven't seen McGoohan's spaghetti western, whats it called? is it any good? All the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns were post synched with the effects and voices afterwards. On the film "A Fistfull of Dynamite" (circa 1971 i think) Rod Steiger had a huge row with director Sergio Leone , a few days into filming Steiger questioned whether the constant chattering and noisey crew was going to affect the soundtrack. When Leone in his broken English, calmly and smilingly told Steiger not to worry about the dialogue and soundtrack too much as it would all be post synched afterwards as per normal...well....Steiger became incadescent with rage, had a huge barney with Leone who didn't speak much English anyway,and walked off set and threatened to walk off the whole film unless his dialogue was recorded live as he spoke it on set and on location. Leone caved in and agreed, perhaps that was the start of Italian filmakers starting to record live sound? Pressure from American stars appearing in their films?


    Apparently much of Steiger's on set dialogue was unusable so he had to re-record it anyway!



    Bats.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    name='batman']Apparently much of Steiger's on set dialogue was unusable so he had to re-record it anyway!



    Bats.


    yes I heard that too, I don't think the Italian crew were up to the task of getting the soundtrack done properly, not something they were accustomed to doing after all!!

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    name='batman']This is a link to McGoohan's 'spaghetti' western. It is his own voice, and his accent is regarded by Italo-western fans to be a 'spaghetti' classic!



    Genio, due compari, un pollo, Un (1975)



    Bats.


    Cheers for that, how interesting, McGooohan in a Terence Hill , "Trinity" style comedy western, and Klaus Kinsky in the cast list! Truly bizarre, I quite like the Terence Hill Bud Spencer films, they are quite good fun In a kind of crude way! McGoohan obviously needed some work and a paycheck at this stage in his career.

  17. #17
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    The early Hill/Spencer films are rather good, but as the series developed the slapstick took over and became quite childish. At their best they were excellent. The McGoohan film , while not top drawer 'spaghetti', is one of the better films and is good fun. McGoohan is a hoot! Hill and Spencer were big box office worldwide so McGoohan did OK for himself out of it I'm sure.



    Bats.

  18. #18
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    Many thanks for all the replies generated.



    Mark.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    name='batman'] It is his own voice, and his accent is regarded by Italo-western fans to be a 'spaghetti' classic!
    I became convinced it was when I watched the film but had understood from Prisoner sources it wasn't. The confusion seems to have arisen because Sir Robert Rietty told an interviewer he did the voice-over and it was assumed from that he did the whole thing. Patrick McGoohan himself, in a later interview, commented that he had had a 'phone call giving him hardly any notice to go to Italy to do his voice-work (he commented how chaotic the Italian movie-men were) and he simply said it was impossible and refused to go (so he certainly was dubbed by Sir Robert, who would hardly make such a thing up).



    I think the solution lies in that they presumably recorded most of the indoor scenes live, but needed additional work, plus probably none of the outdoor stuff was done with live sound. It's noticeable that McGoohan says very little outdoors.



    The other curious thing is that Mr. McGoohan said he'd never watched the film but a friend who had, had told him that his character's voice had been made to sound like 'Mickey Mouse', which fact McGoohan seemed to find hilariously funny, as if he felt it was the revenge of the Italians, within the context of the interview.



    Which still leaves the nagging thought............




  20. #20
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Most websites dedicated to 'spaghettis' indicate that it is McGoohan's voice which is where I got my info from. The genre is full of this sort of contadictory information, often due to the number of times actors were dubbed into different languages etc, also actors were whizzed around between productions so quickly that there were often scenes which hadn't been dubbed, so some characters were voiced by more than one actor, often the actor playing the part did no voice recordings at all (as with Cameron Mitchell in The Last Gun). I think your explanation is the most likely one, Moor. By 1975 more 'live' recording was being done so it is likely than McGoohan voiced the studio scenes and Sir Robert the stuff that need to be re-dubbed.



    Bats.

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