Tallies Gone Wild

Wildtrack Tally

A wildtrack is a piece of sound that has no picture associated with it.

We use wildtrack for things like voice over dialog, room tone, sound effects and atmospheric sound.

We note wildtrack on the lined script, the facing pages, the editors’ daily report and the script supervisor’s production report. We also list it in a separate tally (see Figure 5.12).

On the east coast of the United States, each wildtrack has its own number, beginning with 1001, then 1002, etc. We start with 1001 so that the number looks different from every other number in the editing room, making it instantly identifiable as wildtrack.

On the west coast, wildtrack is usually identified only by its scene number, as in wildtrack for scene 36. The west coast system avoids the task of keeping count of which wildtrack number is next. It is also easier for the sound mixer to program into a digital recorder. I find this system problematic when a single wildtrack is used for more than one scene or a scene has more than one wildtrack. I prefer the east coast method. Ask your editors which method they like.

Do not confuse wildtrack with sound run wild. The latter is sound that has corresponding picture which is not in sync. An example of this is when a camera is run off speed (faster or slower than usual) and sound is recorded at the usual speed.

Fig. 5.12a The wildtrack log from Sunshine State.

Fig. 5.12b The wildtrack log from Sunshine State (continued ).

Fig. 5.12c The wildtrack log from Sunshine State (continued ).

Wild Picture Tally

Sometimes we grab a shot not knowing where it will go in the script. This sort of set-up is called wild picture because it has no scene or scene number associated with it. The shot could be some – thing like a sunset that is too pretty to pass up or general atmosphere that could play in several places.

Often we give a grabbed shot like this a tail ID that is a literal description of the shot, something like Sunset. If I think there will be more than a few wild picture grabs on my film, I like to get more organized and give them W numbers. The first grabbed wild picture is W1 then W2, etc. This organization pays off if, by the end of production, you have several different sunsets in your media.

I made up this system on the film I shot in Montana, Thousand Pieces of Gold. We had a DP, Bobby Bukowski, who loved the nature of the mountains and would pop off a shot of any beautiful thing he saw. We slated them with W numbers; birds, the moon, snow falling, hundreds of images. They all went onto the wild picture log. They were easy to tag on set, easy to find in the edit room and were really useful for the film. I have used this system ever since.

Even if you only have a few bits of wild picture and don’t give them W numbers, list them in a tally anyway, so they don’t get lost. Wild picture may or may not have sound.

Excerpt from Beyond Continuity: Script Supervision for the Modern Filmmaker by Mary Cybulski © 2014 Taylor and Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.

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