Today’s no-to-low budget films can look like million dollars, but are often undercut by poor sound recording.
Indie filmmakers are always looking for ways to up their production value, putting their time, energy and limited funds toward locations, lighting, production design, casting and renting the most expensive cameras they can afford. In the age of easy-to-use, high quality digital audio recorders that are so small they fit in the boom operator’s cargo pants pocket, what often gets taken for granted is sound.
According to festival programmers, like SXSW head Janet Pierson, this is a huge mistake and can be a fatal flaw for a low budget film. “If the sound isn’t clear, it’s a deal breaker,” she said.
Pierson, whose festival is where filmmakers like Benh Zeitlin, Lena Dunham and Joe Swanberg were discovered, told Indiewire that every year poor sound is a deciding factor as the SXSW programming team weeds through the films they are interested in premiering.
“You can have funky images, it can be shaky, focus can be off,” said Pierson, “but the sound has to be of a quality that makes the film watchable.”