Unit 5: 1 – Assignment

1.1 Analyse the requirements and parameters of an audio-based problem in creative media production.

Once Upon a Time in The West essay:

In the opening sequence of Once Upon A Time In The West, a number of different sounds are included which are recorded in a number of different ways. The first sound you hear is when you are introduced to the first character, which is of the water dripping onto his hat. This could represent his state of mind; the ‘calm before the storm’ which means that there is a period of time which is quite relaxing before something bad happens. In this case, it is the fact that he is going to try and kill a specific person who is on the upcoming train. The sound of the water has been made by in foley by them dripping water onto something and then in the editing process they have overlaid it on top of the actual clip. Furthermore, they have made the dripping sound even louder than it would actually be to represent how zoned out the man actually is and how relaxed and peaceful he is too. He then continues to start drinking the water from his hat which could reflect that he is very placid and at peace. This is because it is shown that he is not distracted or bothered by the sound of the water dripping, so when he drinks it, it then continues to show that he is using – what could be a distraction to others – to his benefit and refreshing himself before the fight. This sound has then been enhanced in foley because the sound of him swallowing the water is a lot louder than it would usually be. This could also be because it shows that he is able to block out any other noises and distractions as he is so calm and collected.

When the second man is introduced, he is distracted by a buzzing fly which could represent that the three men who are going to assassinate the man are feeling quite restless and on edge. It could also represent that he is quite agitated due to his quick movement of catching the fly in his gun. Thirdly, it could reflect his state of mind because his mind is all over the place; like the movement of the fly. This noise could be possibly made in the process of foley by using different props. Also, the man tries to blow the fly away and you can hear him do so, but this would have been filmed in ADR then placed on top of the action of him blowing. ADR is effective because it can make sounds more prominent and clear; it is usually used when the location they are filming in is too loud and has too much background noise.

The third man is then introduced when he is stood by the train tracks; waiting or the arrival of the person he is planning to kill. This could represent that he is ready for what he has to do and that he is quite calm at that stage.  He is also shown to the audience of him cracking his knuckles, which normally represents someone who is ready for a fight. This would have been filmed in foley of someone recreating someone cracking their knuckles or they would find a prop that made a similar sound and did something with that.  However, when the train comes into shot, it starts off very quiet but then the closer it gets, the louder he can hear it. This could represent his heart beat because it would show that he was calm, but then when the train is in sight he begins to become more anxious, which is shown to the audience by the increase sound of the train. This builds tension for the character and impacts the audience because we all know that a big event is coming up and this sound makes you feel anxious for the character because it helps you feel what he is feeling. The noise of the train would be recorded from an actual train on the train tracks so that it is effective for the audience because they would clearly be able to tell that it is a train. They then would overlay extra sound effects made in foley to make the sound of the train even louder, which would impact the audience even more because it would make them able to associate the emotions of the character as it would be more realistic and effective. Furthermore, when the train goes by there is a high pitch sound in the background which could represent where his state of mind could be. For example, he could be getting increasingly nervous for the shoot off, however, the high pitch sound could reflect where his mind is and what he is thinking; as if he is trying to zone out the sound of the train getting closer.

The windmill that is continuously heard squeaking in the background could represent the overall mindset of some of the characters and how some of they may be feeling deep down: restless. Even though that each man has a different sound that represents their mindset, the sound of the windmill could be a reminder of the task they all have to complete, not long into the future.


 

WHAT IS ‘SOUND DESIGN’?

It is the process of specifying, acquiring, manipulating or generating audio elements. Job roles include being involved in filmmaking, television production, theatre, sound recording and reproduction, live performance, sound art, post-production, radio and video game development.

DESCRIBE THE ROLE OF A SOUND DESIGNER:

They work closely with the Director and a range of other staff to create the the show. For example, they may create sound effects, atmospheres, sonic textures and filmic ambiences that will create naturalistic and abstract worlds for the show’s story, as well as create an emotional and dramatic connection with the audience and the performance. Also, they may choose, edit and remix music.

WHAT IS DIEGETIC AND NON-DIEGETIC SOUND?

Diegetic sound is when the sound is visible on the screen, or when the sound is implied to be present by the action of the film. For example, voices of the characters, sound made by objects in the story and music represented as coming from instruments in the story space. Non-Diegetic sound is when sound is neither visible on the screen or has been implied to be present in the action. For example, the narrator’s commentary, sound effects which are added for the dramatic effect and mood music.

WHAT IS ‘FOLEY’?

It is the reproduction of everyday sound effects that are added to film and video to enhance audio quality. They are recorded sound effects after the shooting of a film, so are filmed separately to when they film a scene.

DESCRIBE THE ROLE OF A FOLEY ARTIST:

They create sound effects by using physical objects, for example, these can be anything from the swishing of clothing and footsteps to squeaky doors and breaking glass. Their role is to not add or create standard special effects, they have to create very specific sounds. The added effects are never noticed by the audience because of how well done and specific they are.

WHAT IS ADR?

ADR stands for automated dialogue replacement and is the process of re-recording dialogue by the original actor after the filming process to improve audio quality or reflect dialogue changes.

EXAMPLES OF WHY ADR MIGHT BE USED:

It could be used because the original sound that was recorded may be unclear so they might have to re-record it. If they are filming outside, the weather may cause the dialogue to become unclear if it were windy, so they would re-record it so that the audience could understand what they are saying. Finally, it can be used to subtly adjust an actor’s performance in a scene (by having them deliver the same line with slightly different inflection).

WHAT DOES THE TERM ‘CLEAN SOUND’ MEAN WHEN RECORDING?

A ‘clean sound’ is when unwanted sound is picked up in the microphone. This can be reduced by having a good quality microphone and having it as close to the actor’s mouth as possible so that it only picks up what they are saying.

WHY IS ‘CLEAN SOUND’ IMPORTANT?

It is important because it makes the film or video seem more professional if the sound in it is either from the actors or is actually meant to be in. It also can frustrate the audience if they are picking up on unwanted sounds in it too because it may distract them from the audio they are meant to hear or they may not be able to hear what the actors are saying if it is too overpowering.

WHAT IS A ‘BUZZ TRACK’ OR ‘WILD TRACK’?

This usually means general ambient sound, for example, the background sound of a scene. It is sometimes used more specifically to mean room tone. Buzz tracks are typically recorded on location before or after the main action has been recorded.

WHY WOULD A SOUND EDITOR NEED A ‘BUZZ TRACK’ OR ‘WILD TRACK’?

They may need them as they are often used to replace other synchronous soundtracks you may have recorded which are distracting. It can also be used to fill the gaps that may occur, for instance when you snip out bits of dialogue or want to lengthen shots but do not have the sound to cover. It can also help to smooth out cuts where the two background levels don’t match each other.

WHAT IMPACT CAN MUSIC HAVE ON THE AUDIENCE?

Music in films and videos can set the mood of the scene, for example, if it is an emotional scene and sad music is being played, it will help the audience feel the impact of the scene. The music can also help tell a story or add to the story because if the song has lyrics in it, they may be relating to what is happening, therefore, can give the audience a deeper understanding of the scene.

DESCRIBE THE ROLE OF THE SOUND RECORDIST:

They record sound on location or in a studio, usually in synchronisation with the camera, to enable the highest quality ‘real’ sound to be recorded at the time of filming. They monitor the quality of the sound recording through headphones and work closely with the Director, Boom Operator and sometimes the Sound Editor, often using multiple microphones.

LIST OF EQUIPMENT SOUND RECORDISTS MAY USE:

The main equipment used is:

Microphones
Mixers
Headphones
Recorders
Radio microphones
WHAT IS A ‘BOOM’?
It is a directional microphone that is mounted or attached to a pole or arm which are primarily used in film or TV. This type of microphone frees the hands of actors or reporters while allowing them to enjoy the amplified audio of a traditional microphone. Also, they can be positioned so that everyone’s voice can be heard.

WHAT IS A ‘DEAD CAT’ OR ‘HIGH WIND GAG/SHIELD’?

The ‘Dead Cat’ windshield is designed for minimising any wind noise when recording in high wind conditions. Its artificial fur is specially designed so as to minimise wind noise while remaining acoustically transparent.

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