Kreide Auf Beton

Sound design for a documentary feature by Julia and Helene Vogel

Kreide Auf Beton, 90 min. documentary feature (excerpt, pre-mix, pre-colour grading), Julia Vogel, Helene Vogel, 2013

I was the sound designer for the 90 min. documentary feature 'Kreide Auf Beton'.

Given the gravity of the film's issue (the 'soldiersmother's' struggle and fight against a militaristic russian society as a whole), my sound design had to respect the more objective character of this documentary.

Helene and Julia Vogel demanded to keep the sound design as close to the original material as possible.

Luckily most of the recordings already transmitted the 'feeling' of the actual situations. Sadly, this 'feeling' stemmed a lot from poor audio quality. Rough sounds can of course convey rough situations, but what if you want the protagonists voices to be highly intelligible at the same time?

Eventually designing sound in this case meant a lot of repairing and cleaning up of the audio tracks. However usually unwanted, to me these tasks still provide a varied range of possibilities for the sound design.

For instance keeping a sound 'dirty' or not can affect the way a protagonist is perceived. Cleaning out the Background noise of an interview recording puts a strong focus on the interviewee. At the same time he is being put out of the world around him.

In this case choosing the amount of background noise is equivalent to choosing how strange or lonely the protagonist will seem to an audience. Unobtrusive sound design like this can set strong statements and determine the direction of a film.

It was exciting to observe the filmmakers raising awareness for the power of sound during the project. Plus it was instructive to work together with lovely people with a clear vision of the final product. The impact of sound design was embraced as much as I was sometimes kindly stopped from over using its narrative quality.