Saoirse: My Movie Soundtrack

While I was doing Transition Year at school, many of the things we would normally have done were not possible due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. However, my former school asked me if I’d like to get involved in a STEM project they were doing, by recording the music soundtrack to a short film they were hoping to make.

The film was going to be called Saoirse (the Irish name for Freedom) so I used the same name for the music soundtrack as well. I also asked my Dad to help with the project so he played the electric guitar while I played my acoustic guitar.

A few people have since asked me how we did the soundtrack so I decided to write a little bit about that here.

Studio Setup

The first thing we had to do was sort out how we would record the music. We tried a couple of ways to do this, including using a Loop Pedal (Boss RC-2) and a USB Audio adapter connected to a Mac (with GarageBand). However, these proved to be a little too complicated for our needs and, in the end, we decided to just record the music using the Audio Recorder app on my iPhone, placed close to the amplifier.

Some of the first recording we did had a little bit of echo and background noise from the acoustic guitar strings so I faced the other way from the iPhone when playing and this helped a lot.

Music Equipment

We used the following equipment to play and record the music we created:

  • Acoustic Guitar: Epiphone PR5-E (Florentine Cutaway Electro Acoustic Guitar)
  • Electric Guitar: Epiphone SG-400 Vintage
  • Amplifier: Roland Cube Street
  • Smartphone: iPhone Xs

The guitars were both connected to the amplifier, which was placed in front of the iPhone to record.


After we took the music off the Audio Recorder app (by uploading it to Dropbox) we trimmed some of it using the Audacity app on my Mac, which is free (and open source). Because the iPhone app only records in Mono we also had to convert the tracks to stereo using Audacity. This was a simple matter of duplicating the mono track and saving both tracks as a MP3 file.

We were also able to enter some song/track details into the MP3 file when exporting from Audacity, which made sure these appeared in iTunes/Music apps later on, which was handy.

Sound Effects

Some of the scenes in the movie were shot near a beach (and during a storm) so we also recorded some waves at our local beach (placing some socks over the phone to cut out the noise of the wind) and mixed this with the music we recorded. We did this mixing in Audacity too.

Song Names

Once the filming of the movie was underway, the teacher was able to tell us more about each of the scenes that would need some music. This helped us to name the songs, as follows:

  1. Banú (meaning Dawning) became the song for the opening scene, which shows a young girl walking on a beach. This track has some wave sound effects too.
  2. Réadú (meaning Realisation), which has some thunder sounds mixed in, was used during a storm scene.
  3. Amhras (meaning Doubt) was a short filler track between two scenes.
  4. Machanmh (meaning Reflection) was used during the closing credits.

Once the filming was finished and the editing process started, the teacher was also able to tell us how the music tracks needed to be. We made some adjustments to the chord (and sound effects) here to get the track lengths correct, once again using Audacity.


The finished movie was recently launched and actually won some awards in a national school drama competition

While it took a while to compose and record all the music, and we had to do a lot of takes to get versions of each song that we liked (and that were the right length for the film), we were really happy with the results, especially when we finally got to see them in the finished movie.

I learned a lot about music production and editing too, which was quite interesting and I’d definitely recommend using Audacity for this as it’s very flexible and easy to use.

A Transitional Year

In Ireland, there are two main state exams that you take during your secondary school years. The Junior Certificate comes first and is a 3-year cycle that you complete at around 14-15 years of age. You then complete the Leaving Certificate, which takes 2 years. Students also have an option to spend one additional year in between these two cycles, exploring a range of different social and personal development activities and experiences. This is called Transition Year, or just TY.

Some of the highlights of a normal TY would include going on work experience, doing some community service, taking a trip abroad and generally spending a lot of time outside the classroom. However, our year was very different due to Covid-19 and we were unable to do any of these.

That is not to say we did nothing (far from it) and as we are about to finish TY soon, I decided to take a look back at what I achieved over this very different year. I’ve separated the various items into categories to make them easier to read.

Technology Projects

I did a number of projects that involved using various kinds of technology, which were:

  1. I produced Digital Mosaic Posters for my current and former schools, which involved taking headshots of all pupils and teachers and using a computer program to create a mosaic image of the school crest, then mounting this in a frame.
  2. I started my own blog in 2020 (using the popular WordPress blogging software) and decided to write one new article each month during Transition Year. In fact, the one you’re reading now is the final one in this series!
  3. My friends and I submitted an idea to the BT Young Scientist Award, which was a project that would explore the effects of wearing face masks in school.
  4. I recorded a Podcast, which was a fake interview with a celebrity. I chose to interview Tom Holland and asked him different questions on a range of topics.
  5. I created an online computer game using Scratch, based on the Apex Legends video game.
  6. We learned how to use Solidworks, a popular Computer Aided Design (CAD) software package, and created a basic LEGO Car and small Park Bench.

Music & Art

I also did some projects (personal and school-based) with a musical and artist theme, including:

  1. I was invited (by a former primary school teacher) to compose the soundtrack for an Irish language short film they were producing, which I did with my Dad. In total, we wrote, arranged and recorded 7 tracks, including adding sound effects using Audacity.
  2. I completed a week-long, creative song writing course with Music Generation, Waterford.
  3. I restored an old skateboard, replacing many of its parts and designing my own artwork for it. I also wrote a blog about how I did this.
  4. I created and delivered a presentation about an entrepreneur that I admire, and chose to base it on Stan Lee, the creator of the Marvel comics and movies.


I took the opportunity to do some activities related to the environment as well, which were:

  1. I joined Tramore Tidy Towns to help clean our local beach every Sunday morning.
  2. I was selected to join the Green Schools Committee, helping with various related activities during the school year (including several Covid safety initiatives).

Practical Skills

I decided to try learning some new skills during the year, including:

  1. I prepared myself to sit the Driver Theory Test, which involved practising lots of sample questions using a computer program at home. I applied to sit the real test too but my test date was postponed due to Covid-19, so I am still waiting to finish this.
  2. I took a number of cookery & baking classes at school and made several meals and dishes at home throughout the year. I plan to continue with these as my younger brother and Dad have fallen in love with my brownies!

Sport & Recreation

The school arranged lots of different sporting and recreational activities during the year. These included surfing, cycling (on the Waterford Greenway), walking (on the Suir Blueway and Dunmore East cliffs), as well as Archery & Climbing (at the Dunmore East Adventure Centre).

Online Learning

I also completed a range of different courses online, which included Road Safety (e.g. drink and drug driving, fatigue, cyclists and distractions), Concussion & Covid Safety, creating an education course on skateboard design and skills, presentations skills and using Microsoft Teams.

We attended a number of University Open Days too, which were very informative and helpful.


While the year was very different to what I expected and I definitely would have loved to do some work experience and take a trip abroad with my friends, I still feel that I have learned a lot. I would definitely recommend that everyone should do Transition Year if they get the chance to.