Christmas is my least favourite time of the year. Despite of or perhaps because of all the merriment, family, novelty music and frantic commercialism, I have to grin and bear it, eager for time to pass and January to arrive. One exception to my bah humbug is the practice of locating, smashing and nibbling on walnuts. My mother still owns a lovely ye olde nutcracker which I always associate with this distraction to yuletide gatherings. The nutcracker is essentially the same as this one…
The reason for this tedious talk about nutcrackers and Christmas is that I was recently providing extra Foley on a lovely WW1 short film with Dean Covill for Andrew Ellinas. All required sync was as expected, clothing, footsteps, loud sobbing, however one of the requests involved replicating the sound of changing a record on a gramophone.
Unfortunately I don’t have one lying around (although once I’d got back from recording, one of my colleagues at Hub TV proudly announced she has one sitting around in her studio) so I made do with a lovely oak dinner tray, a wooden-handled gardening trowel, corkscrew, 12″ vinyl and the nutcracker which was acquired on the sly.
The oak tray suggested a heavy base and I was able to pivot the trowel in one of its corners for resistance and scrape. This provided the illusion of the gramophone’s arm being swung off the record and into its resting place on the side. A piece of cloth on the tray provided enough ‘felt’ texture for the platter as the record was swiped off and replaced. The spiral of the corkscrew catching on the record’s centre hole (is there an actual name for this?) gave resistance as the record is taken off and slid onto the platter’s spindle. What remained was the sound of the actor changing the RPM of the gramophone by pushing a small sliding mechanism into place. Thank you mother for the nutcracker! It has a lovely sliding sound with incremental resistance and as you might be able to tell, I enjoyed the whole process.
So there. The thrills of challenging the brain into creative solutions. Normal people enjoy religious/seasonal holidays, I prefer mucking around with gardening trowels and nutcrackers. I was going to post an audio file of the completed audio, however upon playback without final picture, it’s a bit underwhelming.