幕後玩聲音──胡定一

:::

2017 / 5月

文‧鄧慧純 圖‧牽猴子整合行銷提供 翻譯‧Jonathan Barnard


1895年世界第一部電影在法國巴黎首映,1927年史上首部有聲電影長片《爵士歌手》上映,終結了長達32年的默片時代。雖然聲音加入電影的時間較晚,但聲音比影像更能帶出想像的層次,更是引領觀眾體驗三度空間的重要元素。

1975年,胡定一進入中影股份有限公司,開始為上百部電影錄音、配製音效,為影片注入生命,40年不輟。2016年,台灣第一部電影聲音紀錄片《擬音》在金馬影展首映,導演王婉柔以國寶級資深擬音師胡定一為主角,也將電影聲音三要素:對白、音樂、音效帶入片中,記錄台灣電影聲音史。


胡定一總是眼神專注,跟著影片中角色的動作,分秒不差地製造出擬真的音效。他一手握著龍眼乾,指頭一壓捏破硬殼「喀」的一聲,武俠片中常聽見扭斷脖子的聲音讓人寒毛直豎;聽著「匡」地一聲寶劍出鞘,定睛一看卻是胡定一兩手操著泥作的刮刀,摩擦出聲;用一塊布雙手一扯,就模擬出武俠片中拳腳舞動的聲音,再將布料奮力揮動,輕功高手的飛簷走壁便猶如在「耳」。

靠著簡單的物件,胡定一就能製造出「擬真」的電影音效,他樂在幕後玩聲音,是台灣僅存不多的Foley artist(擬音師)。

 

中影的養成訓練

1975年,胡定一剛進入中影股份有限公司(以下簡稱「中影」),成為電影技術人員訓練班第三期的學員,知名剪輯師廖慶松和錄音師杜篤之都是他的學長。胡定一剛進中影就在錄音部門,一輩子沒換過工作,沒轉過單位。這門專業講究的是師徒制,師傅領著做,徒兒看著學,師兄先帶著學裝聲片、影帶、學錄音、學放映。胡定一有空時,剛好錄音室在做Foley(現場同步音效配音),他都好奇地鑽進去見習。

所謂「師父領進門,修行在個人。」胡定一花了6年的時間獨擔大局,他雖已忘了第一次獨挑大樑的影片,但還記得師傅陪在身旁打氣。當年影片都是事後配音,配音員和錄音師同在一個大空間內工作,錄音師得聚精會神掌控每個流程環節,一失手會被配音員叨念,壓力很大。胡定一笑著說:「這時,師傅會幫你頂回去:『人家剛上來,大家要多支持他呀!』」那些年他完成了無數的作品,並以《稻草人》、《香蕉天堂》、《青春無悔》等經典國片入圍金馬獎最佳錄音獎。

直到2001年以後,中影購置數位杜比錄音設備,進入數位錄音時代。年長的師傅要重新熟悉新器材不容易,他們接觸電腦的靈敏度也不如年輕小伙子,胡定一也因此減少了錄音的工作,專心做Foley。

 

電影聲音的魔術──Foley

早年的電影音效都是事後才配上,而非現場收錄,為求音畫同步,1927年 Jack Donovan Foley親身模擬影片發出的聲響,這樣的錄音方式沿用至今,後人因而以「Foley」一詞指隨著電影畫面、劇情同步做出對應的配音手法,紀念他的發明。

隨著科技演進,電影雖然可同步收音,但現場主要收錄角色的對白,許多人體動作會發出的聲響,如腳步聲、翻報紙、關門、吃東西等音效,還是需靠Foley後製。看似簡單,Foley可不是一件人人都可勝任的工作,配音前先看過影片,註記需要音效的動作、使用的道具,如衣服的材質、鞋子的種類等都要與畫面情節相應。如何抓準節奏、藉由音效傳達劇中人情緒更是關卡,胡定一說:「做Foley要熟記畫面,反應要快。而且動作的時間點極為重要,這是最難的。」

他創造聲音的工具五花八門,手掐著保麗龍,按壓再放鬆,就能再現扁擔晃動時「嘰拐嘰拐」的音效;手刷算盤呈現拉窗簾的聲音;用布丁杯在板子上敲擊製造噠噠的馬蹄聲。怎麼找到這些音源呢?就靠平常多觀察、多觸摸,「不能碰的東西不要碰,但可以碰的東西盡量去摸。」就是靠著這多年來東觸西摸累積的經驗,任何聲音都難不倒他。

不光擬音,胡定一也「擬境」,王婉柔提起一盤「豬耳朵」的故事,一天她在中影工作室的桌上看到胡定一留的小字條,上頭寫著:工作剩下的,歡迎大家享用。「豬耳朵」開啟了王婉柔無邊想像,「我以為是要配虎姑婆吃小孩子手指的片子」,胡定一聽聞笑著說:「因為片中演員吃豬耳朵,Foley就要跟著吃豬耳朵。豬耳朵有軟骨,咀嚼的聲音跟吃肉的聲音不一樣。」更想見其對聲音觀察的細膩與挑剔。

儘管當今許多電影音效都被罐頭音效取代,但是Foley能呈現的層次感更豐富多元。胡定一舉例說,如燃燒營火的聲音,不單只是木頭燃燒的聲音,木塊滾落的效果,都是制式的罐頭音效無法呈現的細節。

資深混音師、也是胡定一的徒弟曹源峰在《擬音》特映會中提到:「(Foley)技術只是手段,創意才是功夫,(Foley artist)工作很重要的一部分是音質的研發。」他舉例今年「金馬奇幻影展」的開幕片,陳宏一導演的《自畫像》,其中男主角摳挖被害者眼珠,就靠著逼真的Foley音效,讓觀眾完成腦海中想像。

而《自畫像》的Foley正是胡定一的作品,他揣想著需要有黏稠的液體聲、細碎的骨骼、肌肉攪動的聲音,於是他帶了一顆「魚頭」去錄音室錄製出如此擬真的音效聲。片中露骨的盪鞦韆式性愛,也是胡定一用雙手沾水,雙手合掌互擊,營造出氣音與肉體撞擊的聲響。

 

《擬音》問世

Foley的工作等於是幕後的「幕後」,「其實很多電影人也不懂Foley在做什麼」,胡定一略帶感慨地說。曹源峰說:「胡師傅在好萊塢也會是一等一的Foley artist,只是台灣沒有產業,所以他可能做一輩子,很多人也不曉得他。」王婉柔因《島嶼寫作》系列影片到中影做後製,認識了胡定一。「儘管參觀過他的工作室,胡師傅怎麼工作對我來說還是很神秘。」因此,王婉柔決定拍攝紀錄片《擬音》,用影像記錄胡定一的聲音魔術。

《擬音》中有一幕是從胡定一中影錄音室俯角拍攝的空景。紅色的麥克風架立在中間,地板下凹的八個方格,設計成水池、土地、沙地、鵝卵石各種質地的地板,四周堆置各類雜物,呼拉圈、摺椅、安全帽、滅火器、X光片,還有家裡淘汰的棉被、籃球,這些都是多年收集的「音源」,胡定一就在這方空間創作出無數音效。他還有數十雙高跟鞋,步伐走來比許多女人都穩當,蔡明亮導演拿下威尼斯電影節金獅獎的《愛情萬歲》,片中演員楊貴媚穿著高跟鞋走在大安森林公園的泥濘地上,這充滿情緒的腳步聲就是胡定一在錄音室中一步一步走出來的。王婉柔以此為例,她認為胡定一是「聲音的演員」,每一次Foley都是一場聲音的創作。

《擬音》由胡定一的故事出發,訪談台灣電影界資深的配音員、音樂人,又跨足到海峽兩岸北京、上海、香港的電影聲音製作現況,資深影評人藍祖蔚稱《擬音》融合了半部的中影簡史跟聲音簡史,片中剪輯當年導演王童開拍《香蕉天堂》時,擔心攝影機的馬達齒輪聲破壞現場收音,而用厚棉被捆綁攝影機,土法煉鋼同步錄音拍攝的經典場景。

影片也節錄電影《喜怒哀樂》中白景瑞執導「喜」的段落,影片中沒有一句台詞,僅以各種音效和配樂推展情節,是台灣影史上表現電影聲音不能錯過的經典,都足見王婉柔頗具野心的企圖。藍祖蔚評《擬音》:「替大家畫一個電影聲音藍圖,讓大家按圖索驥。」而王婉柔更樂見台灣電影聲音藉此獲得更多討論與迴響。

2017年4月《擬音》正式上映,為了宣傳電影,胡定一一天跑了四個通告,他十分不習慣從幕後走至台前。為人低調的他,一如Foley以沉默安靜地參與電影的演出,直到戲院亮燈後,才在長串的工作人員之列瞥見他的名字。沒有幕前影星、導演炫目的華麗,胡定一四十多年精采的聲音表演,終將在台灣電影史上留下一筆。

英文

Noises On: Foley Artist Hu Ding-yi

Cathy Teng /photos courtesy of Activator Marketing Company /tr. by Jonathan Barnard

The world’s first motion picture was screened in Paris in 1895. The Jazz Singer, the first movie with sound, hit theater screens in 1927. Between those two years lies film’s silent era.

In 1975 Hu Ding-yi started working at the Central Motion Picture Corporation, where he worked on sound effects as a Foley artist for more than 100 films, devoting 40 years of his life to film production. In 2016, A Foley Artist, Taiwan’s first documentary about film sound effects, debuted at the Golden Horse Film Festival. Director Wang Wan-jo chose to focus on Hu, a national treasure, exploring the three components of film sound—words, music and sound effects—as a way of documenting the history of film audio in Taiwan.


 

Hu is the very picture of concentration as he follows the movements of a film’s characters while making realistic, perfectly timed sounds. He holds dried longans in one hand, his fingers applying pressure to create a crackling sound: it’s the sound of a neck breaking in a martial arts film, and it can send a shiver down your spine. For a sword leaving its scabbard, Hu stares intently for the right moment and then rubs his hands against a clay tool he has made. He flaps around a piece of cloth to match the sounds of qing­gong masters—gravity-defying kung-fu fighters—scampering up walls and over rooftops.

Relying on the simplest of devices, Hu can create sound effects that are very true to life. He is one of only a small number of such workers—known as “Foley artists”—in Taiwan.

A craft learned at Central

In 1975 Hu Ding-yi first came to the Central Motion Picture Corporation as a member of the third class of film technicians in training there. Immediately he was assigned to the sound department, where he apprenticed with experienced technicians, learning from them how to put audio tracks onto film, how to make sound recordings, how to screen films, and how to create sound effects.

The masters pointed the way, but the students needed to hone their craft on their own. Hu spent six years learning the ropes before he took responsibility for handling the sound on a film himself. He can’t even remember what film it was, but he remembers the master standing alongside and giving him encouragement. Back then the sound was all added in postproduction, and the voice actors and sound technicians worked together on the same large sound stage. In those years, he worked on countless films, including several that won Golden Horse Awards for best sound, such as Strawman (1987), Banana Paradise (1989), and Green Green Leaves of Home (1993).

When Central purchased Dolby recording equipment in 2001, finally bringing the studio into the digital sound era, older technicians found it difficult to overcome their unfamiliarity with the new technology. Consequently, Hu lost a lot of work as a sound technician and began to focus on jobs as a Foley artist.

Jack Foley: Film sound magician

Back in the early days all sound in film was added in postproduction. Aiming to synchronize sounds to the exact pace of movements in a film, Jack Donovan Foley, starting in 1927, would recreate sounds in postproduction to accompany the film. That approach is still used today, and those who do that job are now known as Foley artists.

With the evolution of technology, it became possible to film while simultaneously recording sound. Yet catching voices is the main emphasis of live sound recording, leaving sounds created by movements, such as footsteps, the flipping of newspaper pages, the shutting of doors or the sound of eating to be captured during postproduction by Foley artists. Although it may look easy, a Foley artist’s job is not something that just anyone can do well. “Foley artists need to be very familiar with what’s happening on screen and have quick reactions,” explains Hu. “What’s more, getting the timing just right is absolutely key. That’s the hardest part.”

He uses a wide array of tools to create sounds. He pinches Styrofoam, applying pressure and then relaxing his grip, to create the sound of loads swinging on carrying poles. He uses a pudding cup on a board to reproduce the clip-clop of horses’ hooves. How did he discover these sound sources? He relies on constantly observing and touching things: “Don’t touch what you shouldn’t, but put your hands all over what you can.”

It’s not just imitation: the work can also involve re-creation. Wang Wan-jo recalls an anecdote about pig’s ears. One day, she was sitting at her desk at Central and saw a plateful of pig’s ears with a note on which Hu had written: “Left over from work, please enjoy.” They sparked Wang’s imagination: “I thought he might have been using them to make the sounds of children’s fingers being eaten for a film version of the Chinese fairy tale ‘Tiger Auntie.’” That made Hu laugh. “It was because the actors in the film ate pig’s ears, so the Foley artist had to eat pig’s ears too. Pig’s ears have cartilage in them, so the sound of eating them is different from the sound of eating meat.” It was a demonstration of just how precise a listener he is.    

At the special screening of A Foley Artist, senior sound mixer Tsao Yuan-fong, who was once Hu’s apprentice, said: “Foley techniques are all artifice, so creativity is the most important skill to have in the profession. An important part of a Foley artist’s work is studying the quality of sounds.” He cited The Last Painting (2017), the Chen Hung-i film that kicked off this year’s Golden Horse Fantastic Film Festival. When the leading man pulled out the leading woman’s eyes, they relied on the Foley artist to produce convincing sounds that would enable audiences to suspend their disbelief.

The Foley artist for The Last Painting was none other than Hu Ding-yi. After racking his brain about how to produce the needed sounds—a symphony of squishy viscous liquids, crushed bones, and torn muscles—he brought a fish head to the sound room to produce something quite true to life.   

A Foley Artist debuts

The work of a Foley artist goes on behind a curtain behind the curtain.

“Master Hu would be a top Foley artist in Hollywood too,” Tsao explains. “It’s just that in Taiwan the profession isn’t a ­recognized field, so he can spend his whole life doing it and most people won’t know who he is.” Wang Wan-jo adds: “Even after visiting his studio, I was still mystified about how he did his work.” Consequently, she decided to shoot A Foley Artist.

There is one scene in the documentary that includes an overhead shot of Hu’s studio at Central. A red microphone is set up in the middle of the room, and there are eight square “Foley pits” set into the floor that are used to capture the sounds generated by different surfaces, such as earth, sand, pebbles and pools of water. A great variety of objects are scattered here and there, including hula hoops, folding chairs, helmets, fire extinguishers, and X-ray film sheets. It is in this space that Hu has created countless sounds. There are several dozen pairs of high-heel shoes in his collection. In Tsai Ming-liang’s Vive L’Amour (1994), which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, actress Yang Kuei-mei wore heels into the mud in Taipei’s Da’an Park. Hu captured the sound of that emotionally fraught walk one step at a time in this studio. Wang cites this example to demonstrate that Hu is an actor with sound. A Foley artist creates sounds for every scene in a film. 

A Foley Artist takes as its starting point Hu’s story, and it includes interviews with senior voice actors and sound technicians in Taiwan’s film industry. It also explores the situation of audio production for films across the strait in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. The senior film critic Lan Tzu-wei describes A Foley Artist as partly a short history of Central Motion Picture and partly a short history of cinema sound.

A Foley Artist helps to draw a blueprint for everyone of how sound is created for a film.”

When A Foley Artist formally debuted in April, Hu was having to appear at four different promotional activities a day, and he was quite unused to standing in the spotlight. Much like how Foley artists participate in the film process with little fanfare, their names appearing only in the long credits at the end of a film, Hu has a low-key personality. Not attracting the bright lights like a director or actor, he has nonetheless played his role of generating sounds brilliantly for 40 years, making his mark on the history of film in Taiwan.