• Charles Breach

Term 1 - Week 1 - Sound Design

I found myself familiar with the majority of concepts presented to us during this lecture, having experienced similar ideas in GCSE and A Level physics, as well as in my own musical exploits. There was a term which had never looked into, but that cropped up often enough that I probably should have, which is a sounds 'envelope', which simply refers to how sound changes over time. We can apply simple visual representations to the envelope to help portray audible shape of the sound. I used Ableton Live 9 Intro to experiment a little with the envelope of an instrument. I gave the first iteration a very fast attack - which is how fast the sound reaches its peak volume, and a fast decay - which is how quickly this peak volume fades away. There are other factors in the envelope of sound, but I kept those consistent in both iterations, keeping them in the context of what we were introduced to in the sound design session:

Using the same instrument, I slowed the attack down, as well as the decay:

The result is extremely different, creating differing feelings in the listener. The fast attack and decay version doesn't seem to really fit with slow tempo, and would perhaps work better with a faster, upbeat melody. The sound would also require other elements such as a drum, a rhythm instrument, and possibly more to really start sounding good. The same goes when creating sound, both diegetic and not, for film. Even the quietest of sounds can add to what we view, the audience doesn't even have to acknowledge that they can hear the sound for it to impact them, such as room noise, that is the background whirr we might hear in a room. The different sounds that can be added to footage could be:

- Score

- Foley

- Sound Effects

- Atoms (atmosphere) / Ambience

- Dialogue

It was indicated that only 2.5 of these sounds should only be happening at any one time, so as to avoid flooding the audience with noisy indistinguishable garble, there is definitely a balance between too little noise, and too much. However we could use either of these extremes to our advantage, depending on what we want to emote in the audience. We were shown a trailer from the latest 'The Mummy' film, which was published missing multiple layers of sound- only the voices of the actors and a couple non diegetic notes were present. Although it got a little silly towards the end of the trailer, the lack of noise at the beginning created a very creepy atmosphere, which in my opinion enhanced the film.

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