Film Sound

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Basic intro to using Film sound in media product. Some examples of music effects contrapuntal sound and the power of sound in reinforcing meaning in product

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Film Sound

  1. 1. Sound in Cinema Dialogue Music Sound Effects He wants to watch where he pokes that thing Knock his teeth out!
  2. 2. <ul><li>DIEGETIC ( from inside the DIEGESIS ) refers to sound that BOTH the audience and the characters can hear. This would be sound effects or music played in the scene. </li></ul><ul><li>NON-DIEGETIC refers to sound that ONLY the audience can hear. Typically, this would be Soundtrack music – played for effect, to build tension in the audience but not part of the scene itself </li></ul>Two Types of SOUND:
  3. 3. The Powers of Sound <ul><li>Sound is a powerful film technique for many reasons. </li></ul><ul><li>To begin, sound engages a distinct sense which can lead to a “synchronization of senses”-- making a single rhythm or expressive quality unify both image and sound. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Powers of Sound <ul><li>Secondly, film sound can direct our attention quite specifically within the image </li></ul><ul><li>For example, our attention on the foreground not the background. </li></ul><ul><li>The soundtrack can clarify image events, contradict them, or render them ambiguous. </li></ul><ul><li>In all cases, the sound track can enter into an active relation with the image track. </li></ul><ul><li>Click HERE for an example of how sound can change meaning. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Powers of Sound <ul><li>Thirdly, sound cues us to form expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, a door creaking would make us expect someone or something has entered the room. </li></ul><ul><li>The use of sound can creatively cheat or redirect the viewer’s expectations. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Powers of Sound <ul><li>In addition, sound gives a new value to silence. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, a quiet passage in a film can create almost unbearable tension, forcing the viewer to concentrate on the screen and wait in anticipation for whatever sound will emerge. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Powers of Sound <ul><li>Lastly, sound is full of many creative possibilities as editing. </li></ul><ul><li>The filmmaker can mix any sonic phenomena into a whole. </li></ul><ul><li>The infinity of visual possibilities is joined with the infinity of acoustic possibilities to create meaningful relations. </li></ul><ul><li>Click HERE for an example of how sound is used to build tension in a scene. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Fundamentals of Film Sound <ul><li>Perceptual Properties: The three aspects of sound we perceive are: </li></ul><ul><li>Loudness </li></ul><ul><li>Pitch </li></ul><ul><li>Timbre </li></ul>
  9. 9. Fundamentals of Film Sound <ul><li>As fundamental components of film sound, loudness, pitch and timbre interact to define the overall sonic texture of a film. </li></ul><ul><li>At the most basic level, these three acoustic factors enable us to distinguish the various sounds in film. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, these qualities enable us to recognize different characters' voices.   </li></ul>
  10. 10. Selection, Alteration and Combination <ul><li>Sound in cinema is categorized into three types: </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul><ul><li>Sound effects </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes, a sound may cross categories and be ambiguous </li></ul>
  11. 11. Choosing and Manipulating Sounds <ul><li>The creation of the sound track is similar to and demands as much choice and control as the editing of the image track. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes the sound track is conceived before the image track. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, studio-made animation and experimental film. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Choosing and Manipulating Sounds <ul><li>Sound guides the viewer’s attention. </li></ul><ul><li>Normally, this means clarifying and simplifying the sound track so that important material stands out. </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue , the transmitter of story information, is usually recorded and reproduced for maximum clarity. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Choosing and Manipulating Sounds <ul><li>Important lines should not have to compete with music or background noise. </li></ul><ul><li>Sound effects are usually less important and supply an overall sense of a realistic environment. However, if they were missing the silence would be distracting. </li></ul><ul><li>Music is also subordinate to dialogue, noticeable during pauses in dialogue and transitions. </li></ul>Foley work – where re-recorded sound is used to enhance ‘real’ sound
  14. 14. Choosing and Manipulating Sounds <ul><li>Dialogue does not always rank highest in importance. </li></ul><ul><li>Sound effects are central to action sequences. Imagine a car chase without squealing tyres… </li></ul><ul><li>Music can dominate dance scenes, transitions, or very emotional moments with no dialogue. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Choosing and Manipulating Sounds <ul><li>In creating a sound track, the filmmaker must select sounds that will fulfill a particular function. </li></ul><ul><li>Usually, the filmmaker will provide a clearer, simpler sound world than that of everyday life. </li></ul><ul><li>This helps the audience to focus on only the sound which is important and not needless background noise. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Choosing and Manipulating Sounds <ul><li>The microphone is unselective; like the camera lens, it does not automatically filter out what is distracting. </li></ul><ul><li>Directional and shielded microphones absorb motor noise. </li></ul><ul><li>Foley work – which re-creates the specific diegetic sounds. </li></ul><ul><li>Editing from libraries of stock sounds. </li></ul><ul><li>All of these allow the filmmaker to choose exactly what the sound track requires. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Choosing and Manipulating Sounds <ul><li>By choosing certain sounds, the filmmaker guides our perception of the image and the action. </li></ul><ul><li>If you notice how the filmmaker’s selection of sound shapes the viewer’s perception, you will also notice that they use sound unrealistically. </li></ul><ul><li>This is to shift the viewer’s attention to what is narratively or visually important. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Choosing and Manipulating Sounds <ul><li>Today, film sound is normally reprocessed to produce exactly the qualities desired. </li></ul><ul><li>A dry recording of the sound will be changed electronically to produce the desired effect. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, the voice of someone on a telephone will be digitally filtered to make it more tinny and muffled. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Sound Mixing <ul><li>Guiding the viewer’s attention, depends on selecting and reworking sounds. </li></ul><ul><li>It also depends on mixing , or combining them. </li></ul><ul><li>The sound track is not a set of discrete sound units but an ongoing stream of auditory information. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Sound Mixing <ul><li>Combining sounds is usually done after shooting, in the mixing process called Audio Post. </li></ul><ul><li>The mixer can precisely control the volume, duration, and tone quality of each sound. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Sound Mixing <ul><li>Today, a dozen or more separate tracks may be mixed in layers at any moment. </li></ul><ul><li>The mix can be quite dense, like in a busy airport or very sparse with an occasional sound emerging against a quiet background. </li></ul><ul><li>These choices reflect the mood of the film the filmmaker aims to achieve. </li></ul>Layers of Audio built up to create the right mood
  22. 22. Sound and Film Form <ul><li>The choice and combination of sound materials can also create patterns and motifs that run through the film as a whole. </li></ul><ul><li>This is most easily seen by examining how the filmmaker uses a musical score. </li></ul><ul><li>They can select preexisting music to accompany the images or compose new music for the film. </li></ul><ul><li>Opening titles to Batman The Movie (1989) </li></ul><ul><li>Opening titles to Spiderman (2002) </li></ul>
  23. 23. Sound and Film Form <ul><li>The rhythm, melody, harmony and instrumentation of the music can strongly affect the viewer’s emotional reactions. </li></ul><ul><li>Also, a melody, musical phrase or sound effect can be associated with a particular character, setting, situation or idea creating a sound motif. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Sound and Film Form <ul><li>By reordering and varying sound motifs , the filmmaker can compare scenes, trace patterns of development, and suggest implicit meanings. </li></ul><ul><li>A musical score can create, develop, and associate motifs that enter into the film’s overall form. </li></ul>

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