14 August 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network
Waveform Studios Await The Feast of the Dying Sun
22 Oct 2004 :
Waveform Studios are thrilled with the airing of ‘The Feast of the Dying Sun’ this Halloween. Composers Giles Packham & Karl Burke worked extensively on the documentary weaving their music into it’s very fabric; they tell IFTN about the project.

‘The Feast of the Dying Sun’ is a Tyrone Productions documentary that traces the development of the ancient rituals of Samhain in pagan times to the current day feast of Halloween. The project has been in development for many years and is the first feature documentary about the history and meaning of Halloween. The programme was shot on location over a one-year period in Ireland, the US and UK and will be released in Irish and Welsh language versions as well as the English international version.

Composers Giles Packham and Karl Burke were involved in the project from the pre-production stage and worked closely with Piranha Bar head editor Paul Giles. The trio had previously worked together on an 8-part series about disability, ‘Three60’ (Animo TV), which was aired on RTE 1 last summer and has been nominated for an Irish Film & Television Award. Over a number of projects they have developed a strong working relationship resulting in tight music/picture integration.

“Both the director and producer felt that the music should convey a sense of otherworldliness as well as possessing a sinister quality”, says Packham. “We created haunting soundscapes from source material as diverse as buckets of sea pebbles to broken trumpets and married the results with the latest synthesiser and studio technology to shape the right feel for the music.”

In the documentary, a sequence concerning Leap Castle, the location of untold grisly deaths and reputedly the most haunted house in Europe, the composers manipulated recordings of exorcisms and incantations to portray the feeling of dread invoked by the footage. Elsewhere, six hundred different breath noises were edited together to form a sound collage to accompany a scene where a maiden is visited in her dreams by an apparition of a future lover. For another scene, the sound of barking stones had to be created for a witches' ritual - this was achieved by morphing elements from the production sound with foley sound created in studio.

For this project the composers used new sound production technologies. Making extensive use of the new sampler MachFive and their own in-house custom sound library they had instant access to over 100,000 separate sounds; a great advance on previous hardware-based systems.

‘The Feast of the Dying Sun’ is produced by Tyrone Productions and directed by Lavinia Darby and will be broadcast on the 31st of October (TG4, S4C, ITV/Grampian, SBS(Australia).

For more information about Waveform Studios visit: www.waveformstudios.net

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