Bodysnatcher Audio

Voice and Effects - by Andrew Ellard

8 June, 2007

Oh Chris Barrie, what would we do without you? You turn up on time, sit down and work your vocal cords and we feel like cheering. Well, the producer does, anyway - because when we hire you, we get an entire cast.

Bodysnatcher AudioBodysnatcher Audio

Bodysnatcher - the lost episode of Series I - follows in the footsteps of Identity Within, the Series VII episode Chris performed from an original, unseen script. Only this time, it's a Rob Grant and Doug Naylor special. And yes, we really do mean special.

The result is a Chris Barrie performance that's up there with the best of 'em. He clearly relishes the sharp, hilarious dialogue, and his depiction of Arnold Rimmer on his way to Crazytown via the mania highway is a joyous explosion of energy.

Working with Chris is a breeze. After a brief discussion it is decided that, as this is a Series I script, the recreated voices of John Lenahan and Tony Hawks would be great for Lister's cheapo alarm clock (John) and the medicomp (Tony). Chris employs the impressions with aplomb, and it just enhances the flavour of the piece, the vibe. This is Series I.

It's a great way to spend a few hours, though you have to stifle your giggles lest they be picked up on the microphone. Chris powers through the piece scene by scene - picking up major stumbles as we go, retaking more minor ones at the end - and paints a vivid vocal picture.

But that's only a third of the job.

The session took place at Shepperton Sound under the... um, listen-ful ears of recordist Ed Colyer and editor Glen Gathard. These boys are more used to playing home to the likes of Harry Potter, but made great work of our pocket production.

Glen's edit incorporates much that you'd expect if you've heard Identity Within - ship engine hums of varying tones, ambient sound - but he also went the extra mile. Or ten.

Fires rage, water drips, doors open, machines ping and whirr, Lister puts his foot in a curry container and wrings out his sock, and later kicks hell out of the medicomp... and it's all captured in glorious stereo. Bigger rooms have a wider, echoing sound, irritating alarm clocks play even more irritating music. Feet clunk across metal walkways informed by the team's work on Stormbreaker.

Debates raged over the exact type of Listerian snoring noise required - how much is too much, what is definitely annoying, and how does fake snoring differ from the real thing? And, again adding to the Series I vibe, when we cut to a scripted 'model shot', Howard Goodall's music is there to accompany the transition.

It's a detailed, enveloping collection of sound effects that make for a fully-realised, real-world Dwarf feel. And if their recent commentary is anything to go by, the writers are certainly pleased with the results.

So you have your amazing voice work and your spiffing sound mix - the final third of the process, of course, are the storyboards. And we'll talk about those next time.

Bodysnatcher Audio

More DVD Details will follow soon...

Red Dwarf: The Bodysnatcher Collection will be out in the UK on October 22nd.

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