Ghost Questions - Israel Story Ghost Questions - Israel Story

Ghost Questions

Zev Levi

In a story’s cemetery scene, I ask a few questions to an old farmer. The thing is, my questions were recorded days after his answers. At midnight. In a different city.

 

For the story, “And the Lord Came Over with His Car,” Mishy Harman and I went to Balfouria and had a great interview with Amatzia Gilat in the local graveyard. Mishy asked some questions which got beautiful responses that we wanted to include in the story. The problem was that, to understand Amatzia’s responses, you needed to hear Mishy’s questions, and Mishy didn’t appear in the rest of the story. It would sound strange for Mishy to be absent from a story but to randomly ask a few questions in the middle.

 

To keep Amatzia’s tape in the story, we needed to record me asking Mishy’s questions. And the new recording had to sound like the original recording.

 

To match the sound quality of the cemetery interview, we used the same recording gear.

In the shared courtyard of my Jerusalem apartment building, we stood in a tree-lined corner. This was late at night, when there weren’t too many cars making noise on the road.

I listened to the original recording a few times and did a few takes trying to match the cadence and speed of the original conversation.

To mask the differences in sound between the Balfouria cemetery and the Jerusalem courtyard, we played the cemetery’s “room tone” over my questions. (Room tone is what a room sounds like when no-one speaks or moves.)

 

That way, the finished product sounds like Amatzia and I are in the same place at the same time.

 

Original tape:

Re-record:

Final product:

 

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