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Sound is but a crucial part of the movie experience. Without a well-created soundtrack, it would be difficult for any audience to appreciate the immersion that the film offers. That is why sound mapping is such an important part of post-production. Any filmmaker who’s worth his salt should have to learn even the basics of the task if he or she wants to become a successful and well-rounded film director.
As part of learning the basics of film sound track, it’s important to get an understanding what makes up an entire film soundtrack. These five sound elements are: dialogue, foley, sound effects, background and music.
The dialogue is the foremost of the three “ingredients” of a soundtrack. The dialogue brings forth the story by showing the communication and interaction of two or more characters in the film. The dialogue is derived from the film script, but there goes more than just recording a character speaking in designing the film’s sound track.
For instance, effects like reverb and others could be added to introduce texture to a character’s emotional state in a certain scene. The goal is to introduce a whole new different character to the audience, not just an actor who is working to bring out an emotional performance for the film’s scene.
Dialogue itself could have been recorded two ways. One is the raw recording of the dialogue on filming the scene. This is done using professional audio recording equipment deployed onto the set like boom mics, and others. In most cases, the production could opt to bring the actors to the studio to re-record the dialogue in a controlled environment to cancel out noises that might have been recorded outside.
These are sound effects that are designed to be synchronous with the actions of a character on-screen. This is to provide realism to what’s happening to the scene. Examples of synchronous sound bites are: the sound of people walking, the sound of a door opening, the explosion of a bomb detonating, etc.
Often times, you hear sound tracks that don’t correspond to any action at all by the characters. These are used to provide an additional layer of realism to the scene. In a war movie, for example, you could hear aircraft flying overhead even when there are no such machines portrayed in the scene itself. This is simply used to further depict the chaos of a battle.
Finally, the background music seals the three components of the soundtrack together. Background music, whether instrumental tracks or songs written by artists for the film, provides the emotional aspect of the sound design. It’s common to hear soft, introspective music in scenes where the character is experiencing emotional turmoil or is going through a conflict. In chaotic scenes, on the other hand, fast and loud music could be utilized to carry the audience through the set piece.