Woof. This comic dub was QUITE the undertaking. STORY TIME: a few months back, I approached Tesslyn to see if she’d be interested in letting me turn her Patreon-only comic series “Ghost” into a comic dub. We decided that the best time to release said dub would be after she had done enough pages to put together a single comic on Gumroad, and I could drive some sales towards that. Perfect!
Cut to a month ago, Tesslyn shared her finished comic with me and my first impression was “oh no I may have bit off more than I can chew what have I done”. Let me break down some of my fears going into mixing this, and how they got overcome. Or maybe the fears remained and I just got super lucky and this comic dub got done anyway. One of those!
First of all, atmosphere. While I’d done atmospheric comic dubs before, I’d never done one THIS long and where many sustained moments were held over several panels with no dialogue or very minimal dialogue. This meant a lot of thinking about “how long do I hold on this panel? how long would be too long or too short?”; I usually rely on dialogue beats for that (eg panel is revealed, dialogue starts, dialogue ends, panel changes, repeat) but now that I had something a little freeform it was time for a mild panic attack. In the end I went with my gut and “eyeballed” it (“eardrummed” it? no that’s terrible) and I think I managed to get this out all right! At least, I hope so.
Second of all, music. I was REALLY tempted to use the music I’d heard playing the visual novel “The House in Fata Morgana” and was weighing up the pros and cons of using music associated with another game and the possibility of having this video hit with a copyright claim. In the end I decided “what the heck, I’m really feeling that game’s soundtrack for this dub!” and went with it. At first, I was using the track “This Mutilated Body” by Yusuke Tsutsumi, which I thought was PERFECT (both in terms of the mood conveyed and the title); but I just couldn’t really make it flow with the comic dub as a whole piece, it went a little bit too hard and had way too much energy. Then I tried using “Everybody’s Crying” (also by Yusuke Tsutsumi) and that worked out much better; the piece flowed with the rise and ebb of emotions in the comic, and the title still works as well! In any case, there’s a second audio mix of “Ghost” with different background music on my computer and I dunno what to do with it.
Third of all, ACTING. For a comic centered around Widowmaker, I was not nearly expecting the amount of emotional heavy lifting Sombra had to do. And super lucky times for me: Kimlinh knocked it out of the hotdamn park. HOTDAMN ACTING. I actually got a little bit teary mixing the part where Sombra starts attacking Reaper; and completely put off the part where she realises that BOTH her friends are running out of time, because I felt like I couldn’t do the mix proper justice. Tamara was also super great as Widowmaker (and a surprise appearance from Amelie!) with both her usual cold demeanour, and a surprisingly gentle side coupled with the quiet, tired acceptance of her forthcoming expiration. And finally, I am also there. I smoulder with barely restrained rage. Is what Reaper does.
I’d talk sound effects, but at this point I think this has gone on long enough. Long story short: sound effects are both the blessing and the bane of my sound mixing existence. Finding the sound of a plasteel (presumably) mask hitting the ground? What kind of ground is it anyway: soft, hard, gravel? How loud should the simulated tinnitus be so its presence is felt without actually hurting the ears of the audience? What does the hum of a hologram sound like? I can’t find the sound of someone getting pummeled by angry hispanic fists, so it looks like I’m going to have to record myself hitting myself! Where can I sneak in the Wilhelm scream THIS time?
ANYWAY! If you enjoyed that, why not watch some of my other comic dubs?
Comic dub of an Overwatch fancomic written by @dogtit, all comicked up by @badpearl, with instrumental version of Adele’s “Hello” provided by aatkaw, and featuring the voices of @totalspiffage as Widowmaker and Tracer (who also refined the lyrics and sang “Bonjour” in-character!), @hnilmik, Tiana Camacho and myself! Thass a whole lot of production people! This dub has quite possibly the largest number of people involved who weren’t just doing the voice acting!
On top of that: holy heck was this dub a doozy to do! This has some of the most complex visual transitions and layers of transitions Of any comic dub I’ve ever done. My brain hurt keeping track of how to implement some of the stuff I wanted to make work, but: work it did! I hope, anyway. Also, I don’t think I should ever do anything which requires mixing to the timing of a song ever again because that’s one heck of a powerful hell to walk backwards into.
Comic dub of an Overwatch fancomic by @beroberos - featuring the voices of @totalspiffage as Tracer and Widowmaker, and @hnilmik as Sombra! What’s a little flirting between deadly enemies, eh? I mean… can’t love bloom on the battlefield?