In this instalment of Meet the Creatives, we speak to sound editor and mixer Claire Stephens. She tells us how her passion for sound was evident from a young age, leading her to work on a wide range of projects including a powerful documentary feature…
Claire Stevens is a UK filmmaker, with freelance work across a range of documentary and fiction work. Based in the South West predominantly as a sound designer/mixer; she is a graduate from Film at Falmouth University with a varied portfolio of creative work and project management.
What do you do?
I mix sound for online videos, short films and stereo feature films. Sometimes I record bespoke SFX libraries for projects and design ambience beds and spot effects for creative projects. I work as a project manager across documentary and ethnography projects (generally with a focus on social issues). Around my work, I teach piano to a number of students and collaborate with Falmouth Uni alumni on short films.
How did you get started?
I started freelancing during my BA studies at Falmouth Uni, responding to adverts and joining in with low-budget projects to learn and experiment with sound recording/designing. I worked for S2S Media as a project supervisor for a while, before becoming freelance full time.
How did you get into Sound Mixing?
I have played musical instruments since I was 5 and have always had a general interest in sound. I moved to the technical side first in college, doing Music Tech and then really enjoyed the Sound module on my Film degree. I started specialising and honing my skills from then on.
What do you like about it?
I love how sound design can combine many skillsets and disciplines, it’s not bounded by the visuals and gives the designer such scope to explore ideas over each new project.
Sound Mixing highlight?
One of my highlights was mixing David Morris & Angelico Melo’s documentary feature film “The Other Side of the Postcard” (O Outro Lado do Cartão-Postal). The film explores the 2008 Favela Pacification Program, aiming to reduce crime and drug trafficking in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In April 2015 however, police shot and killed 10-year old Eduardo in Complexo do Alemão, causing uproar in that community. Alemão and other pacified communities began to realise that the program had become the very thing it was designed to destroy.
What type of productions use Sound Mixing?
All sorts! Sound mixing can help documentary projects using low quality/mobile phone footage to present a useable project. Adverts & corporate projects can be enhanced with detailed beds of sound effects and ambience. Short films & features films require mixing, but online videos should not overlook the power of decent sound!
What can it add to a production?
Clarity, professionalism, creativeness, scope, emotion, and realism.