Sound, Action, IT

By : |January 3, 2006 0

Shashwat Chaturvedi

MUMBAI: Director Madhur Bhandarkar wanted noted singer Asha Bhosle to a record a song for his movie Page 3 but there was a slight hitch, Asha Bhosle was in the U.S. and would not be back in time to complete the song.

Technology came to Bhandarkar’s rescue; Asha Bhosle recorded the song with her voice only in a digital format and sent it via email back to Mumbai, where it was mixed with other accompaniment sound and music. The song was Huzoor-e-ala.

Similarly, when Nadeem Saifi of Nadeem Shravan fame was implicated in a murder case, he shifted base to the U.K. That did not come in the way of his composing music for Hindi films, he and his partner Shravan used to compose music by swapping files over the Internet till recently. Technology let them continue on as before, before psychology made them part.

All this would not have been even imaginable a decade or two back. The world of post-production has completely been revolutionized by technology; the Steinbeck and Tannar systems have been replaced by faster and sleeker and digital systems like Avid and Media 100. Take the case of sound postproduction, which entails recording and rerecording. Major studios like Audius (Mukta Arts), Empire Audio, etc. have invested heavily into new digital systems and a majority of films are completed in these studios.

Anup Dev, Film Mix Engineer, Sound City, — worked on films like Bluffmaster, Shikhar, Sarkarr, Aitraaz and upcoming films Zinda — feels that technology has immensely helped the whole process of postproduction. “With technology, more options and facilities are available. It has become infinitely easier to achieve the results that were hard to come by in days of yore. From working on a mono system with a single track to Dolby and DTS which allows for over a hundred tracks, anything seems to be possible in audio terms.”

A couple of big production houses have spearheaded the adoption of technology in the film industry, companies like B.R. Films have been at the forefront of digital challenge, their theatre at Juhu is well renowned for its high tech quotient.

The big studios and big production houses notwithstanding, even sound professionals in their individual capacity are changing the way things are done. Take the instance of K.J. Singh, sound engineer and audio producer of films like Machis, Maqbool, etc., believes that technology is the biggest leveler, “With technology, everyone has the same hardware and software at their disposal, the only distinguishing factor is creativity.”

KJ works out from a small studio that he has crafted in his residence; he is a devout Apple Macintosh user and says that it is a machine “that sells itself”. He uses an Apple Mac dual 2.5 Ghz as his main machine and has recently upgraded the operating system to OS X Tiger. On the software and application front, he uses Pro Tools (multitrack mixing software) and Logic (music sequencer software). He buys the software from, a company that promotes adoption of licensed software in the industry by striking a deal with the software companies. But, But, it is not only in recording or rerecording that technology is being employed, KJ carries his Apple iPod to concerts and outdoor event and uses it to play the musical tracks.

Ask him about the cons of this tech revolution, KJ turns a wee bit philosophic, “We have become lazy. With the aid of technology so much is achievable that it has made us extremely lackadaisical, for instance, people are so accustomed to play the guitar from a keyboard that in the times to come they might just forget how to play a real one.”

On aesthetics, there couldn’t be a better judge than Prof K.B. Sharma, a veteran sound recordist and engineer, who has been associated with films like Mughal-e-azaam says, “I will not deny technology its due credit, but it is the aesthetics that I rue for. The work of a professional has become so easy that he has stopped working like a professional.”

So while it might be easier to make music through a software package, it will be impossible to recreate the magic of Naushad in Mughal-e-azaam or S.D. Burman’s in Pyaasa. Technology can only enable the creative process, nothing more.

CyberMedia News

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