Memorial Day marked a new opportunity for the Digital Audio Technology (DAT) Department at Cogswell College. Instead of spending their holiday on the beach, several faculty and audio students spent their time on the Stanford University campus along with a 32-piece orchestra of Stanford students recording the score for Driven. This collaboration between the two institutions is a first for both Cogswell and Stanford and provided new learning experiences for everyone involved.
Driven is also the first Project X film where the production incorporated a musical score, soundtrack and sound effects created by Cogswell students and faculty. Dr. Timothy Duncan, director of the DAT program, and an award-winning composer in his own right, composed the rich, high-energy score then worked with Stanford graduate student, Michael Repper, who conducted the orchestra, to create an exciting recorded performance.
The Memorial Day recording was set to a click-track, which allowed multiple takes of the session to be recorded at the exact same tempo so that in post-production the clips needed would fit seamlessly into the film. Robert Kirby, an undergraduate DAT student at Cogswell, recorded the live orchestra session with the help of other students.
Julius Dobos, Distinguished Lecturer, brought an internationally-acclaimed background in music production to the project. Dobos directed DAT students in the process of creating original, organic sounds recorded in a real-world environment, such as a motorcycle and a car driving at high speed. The team chose not to rely on a sound library—a shortcut often used by major film studios to save time and production costs—and instead captured and modified most of their own sounds to include subtle desert ambiance, dramatic engine revving, high-intensity racing sounds and others.
DAT faculty, Anthony Dias, has been chronicling the project both in video and still photography. A behind-the-scenes documentary will be released with the new animated short detailing the scope of teamwork and collaboration between Cogswell students, faculty, the Stanford music department and its student orchestra.
A preliminary version of Driven had a surprise preview at the Stanford music department’s 2013 commencement ceremony. The film was met with audible gasps, laughter and resounding applause from the crowd of nearly 300 attendees.
The film’s animation and sound are currently being perfected by Cogswell students and the final mixing of the soundtrack is in process. Driven is the third Project X animation short to be released under the direction of Michael Zachary Huber. The film’s expected release date is mid-July.