Published On: December 4, 2018 09:36 AM NPT By: Sonam Lama

Engineering sounds in films

Engineering sounds in films

He grew up fascinated to the technical and aesthetic essence of music. However, studying sounds and music was actually that caught his fancy. Having spent about a decade in sound designing and film mixing, Uttam Neupane has left immense impressions in the Nepali film industry. He was the sound designer  for films including ‘Mero Euta Sathi Chha’, ‘Mission Paisa’, ‘Loot’, ‘Talakjung Vs. Tulke’, ‘Jerry’ to name a few. 

Having graduated from National Institute of Audio Art, Chennai in 2006, he moved to Kathmandu in the wake of a digital era and continuously engaged in sound designing for Nepali films.

Having worked as film mixing engineer in over 70 films, his works in films like ‘Chandra’ has gained recognition at the renowned Asian Film Academy and was screened at the Busan International Film Festival in 2015 . Likewise, The Sundance Film Festival awarded the short movie ‘Dadyaa’ in 2017. Having recently worked as a sound designer in Oscar mominated Eric Valli’s Film ‘Beyond the Clouds’, he is currently running his studio ‘Linewood Audio Post Work’ at Kamalpokhari.

In an interview with My City’s Sonam Lama, Uttam Neupane talked about his nearly a decade long experience as sound designer and Film mixing Engineer.

What is the basic process of sound designing? 
Visual effects are meaningful with viewer’s participation. Like dialogues, setting and visual effects align viewers’ attention with any film; sound effects equally help viewers connect to any visual. Only  half of the work is completed with film shooting. A lot of minute details relating to sound, editing and designing are the other important aspect that should be taken into account. Sound effects take the viewer where the visual scenes cannot take. Similarly, we initially carry out Foley recordings which are the ordinary sound effects added to film, video, and other media in post-production to enhance audio quality. Designing sounds relevant with the atmosphere is also important to relate the audience to any scene. 

What challenges do you witness working as a sound designer?
Working behind the camera is equally challenging as it is working in front of the camera. Many a times you need to keep pushing your efforts until your work fully satisfies you. Sound designing although seems much of a technical task to carry out, it closely links you with the artistic aspect of working in films. Sounds that could match up with the vision of the creator (director) take much artistry and creativity to be designed. As our interpretations vary from one another, the gap could at times affect sound designing when working in a team. This is the challenging aspect of working in a sector that equally demands artistic ideas, technical skills and creativity.

How do you see the scope of sound designing in Nepal?
When I started working as a sound designer, the films were made in print and mono-format. However, it was far convenient for films to mark a revolutionary era after the digital era replaced the traditional and time-consuming methods. In today’s context when Nepali films are gaining recognition and drawing impacts at international film festivals, I believe the scope for such effective works are always on the rise. There are numerous crash courses today if someone is willing to study sound. However, being practically engaged in sound designing is more effective when it comes to understanding the know-how and technical aspects of the work.

What are the factors that compliment or affect the work of sound designing?
Film making is an elaborated work including big teams and many members. Everyone has their own role to be played, which eventually affects the outcome of a work. Filmmaking is also about reflecting one’s mind and feelings in a non-verbal manner. Therefore, I believe better and creative ideas constitute to the best projection of any work. The inter relation of sound designing in film-making is somewhat undermined. However, the sound effects that are minutely studied and designed are what contribute to the success of film making.

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