Tales From The DMZ – 8 – Hostage
Tales From The DMZ – Hostage
For the last several weeks, I have been editing together an episode of Tales From The DMZ, Hostage, for my good friend Oren Ashkenazi. This is their final episode. He contacted me to help him edit it since there had been a scheduling issue with his regular editor. I agreed to give him a hand with it. Check it out here.
Tales From the DMZ is an audio drama taking place within Star Trek: Deep Space Nine before the Dominion War and follows a group of Marquis aboard their ship, the Apache. In this particular episode, a Council woman is captured by the Cardassians and tortured with a Limbic Manipulator. The crew of the Apache is dispatched to rescue Ellen before she can reveal Marquis secrets.
I have story edited for Tales From The DMZ before, but this is my first time editing sound on this project. I have worked with Oren and the actress that plays Savei before on other projects, including Gates of Sto’vo’kor and Starfinder. When Oren asked for help, I jumped at the opportunity to help him out.
I have listened to every episode of the show, but listening and editing are two vastly different things, and led to one of the biggest challenges that I had experienced on this project. What exactly does the Cardassian ship and the Apache sound like? Oren sent me the files that they had accumulated over the course of the series, and it took some time to go through them to see what was there. After doing so, I realized that I was no closer to answering that initial question than I had been before I began.
Once my schedule opened up, I got to work on the project. I began by developing a unique background track for the various ships, with slight differences added to help differentiate the Cardassian ship from the two Marquis vessels. Then, for the various locations in each scene, I layered in more sound effects to help make the bridge sound different than the Cardassian holding cells. There were a lot of subtle differences for each of the locations where the episodes action takes place, despite the fact that they all take place within two small ships.
Voice tracks were provided with some thought given to timing. However, I had to adjust it as the demands of the actual sound effects required it. For the most part, however, most of these adjustments were limited. With the backgrounds and the voices tracks in place, I moved on to each scenes specific sound effects, and there were a lot of them, including another custom sound that I had to create for the Limbic Manipulator.
The Limbic Manipulator was a torture devices previously seen in an earlier episode. However, the actual sound that was used in the episode was unknown to Oren and the only instructions i had been given was a high pitch sound. Oren, however, allowed me the flexibility to come up with something on my own for it. With five or six looped sound layers, I started to put together my version of the LM. When i presented it to him for approval, he wanted it to be more ominous. I added a few more layers and adjusted the pitch, and added some other effects to it and low and behold the Limbic Manipulator was reborn.
The Holding cell scenes were the most challenging, not only because of the Limbic Manipulator, but also because of the other sounds that had to be layered into it. There was a forcefield, and later, during the rescue, the sounds of combat. I am no stranger to designing combat sequences in audio productions. I have done it many times with Gates of Sto’vo’kor, and with Starfinder and will probably do it again for Blood of the Nei’rrh once that series gets into post-production. For Tales From the DMZ, the combat sequences were no different.
Every step of the way, I shared my progress with Oren, getting his feedback for every scene and making adjustments as needed. Once the last scene was approved, our attention turned to the episode’s score. I have not done much with a musical score for my production. Admittedly, Starfinder’s Gorn of A Different Color was my first attempt at it, besides the bar scenes I created for Gates of Sto’vo’kor, which for that show was just another background layer. For Tales, I wanted something to help convey the emotions of the various scenes in such a way that it would not detract from it.
I began by checking out my usual sources for royalty-free music. Kevin MacLeod is a regular with a nice selection. However, my latest love for royalty-free music is Purple Planet Music. I found their selection to be extensive and perfect to set the mood in most scenes. After laying out tracks for each of the scenes that I believed could benefit from a little music (not all of them required it), I rendered the first of many release candidates for Oren. He listened to each take, providing feedback along the way, until we were both happy with the work.
I am pleased to see that the episode Tales From The DMZ – 8 – Hostage is now available. Please check it out. A lot of love and attention to detail went into producing this episode from the writers, actors, and myself, its sound editor.
As I mentioned, this is the final episode from Tales From The DMZ. However, it should be noted, that this may not be the last time we see the Apache. In fact, Oren, George, Ross, and I have been working on a crossover episode for Starfinder that will bring back the Maquis ship and perhaps a member of its crew or two. More details may be revealed in the future, so stay tuned.