Shooting With APAK Day 3: Sound Person’s Perspective
Today is the third and final day of shooting with APAK. I’ve been recording sound this week with the “environmental” group which has been focusing on the penko (agave) plant itself and its many uses. This morning we went to a small factory where penko juice (tzawarmishki) is processed to make its various derivatives such as guaranga and miske, two alcoholic beverages which I’ll describe later in this post.
Recording sound is no easy task! It’s definitely easier when there are two of us: one to listen and monitor the sound using the “zoom” and another person to hold the “boom pole” which extends the microphone. Over the past three days I’ve learned a few key essentials about recording sound:
1. Communication is KEY! Madison (the camera person) and I had to rely on hand signals for communicating while the camera was rolling. For example, she would signal when the microphone was drifting into the frame and I would signal to others if they were making any sort of distracting noise. Which brings me to the next point…
2. Every single sound is picked up by the recorder, including movement of feet, distant voices, clicking cameras, and especially rustling of the microphone cord. If you are ever hanging out on a set for any reason, make sure to be quiet as possible! Thankfully, people were very cooperative when asked to be still during recordings.
3. Sound recording is extremely important but a rather underappreciated part of the film-making process. Sound quality is typically only acknowledged when it’s terrible. But it’s pretty satisfying to record clean audio of something like a fire that makes a kind of fuzzy sound.
Fortunately, I think I’ve gotten good enough at recording and communicating that today ran rather smoothly. First, we filmed the pasteurization of tzawarmishki. Very important to kill bacteria! This was followed by a brief tasting.
Next, the tzawarmishki was bottled to ferment on its own. This produces guaranga, a slightly alcoholic beverage.
Penko syrup was extracted and we got a taste of this as well! It’s a lot like the agave syrup you can buy in the states. Apparently this syrup is a more nutritional alternative to cane or refined sugar.
The penko juice was also distilled to make a very strong liquor called miske. They bottled it up and labeled it for sale, and then we got to taste the leftovers! It tasted like a smokey tequila.
And with that, we’re done shooting! We celebrated with a party, as described in the next blog post by Hannah!