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Film is made of different parts, including story, settings, actors, the production design, and many others. Often overlooked by many movie viewers is sound, which is actually very essential to film making.
Taking out the audio track will show how important sound design is for a film to work as it is intended to. Films depend as much on audio as it does on the footage to convey the over-all emotion of the story.
In other words, how good you make sound design can be instrumental to making your film good or bad. For you to grasp its full importance to film-making, here are some points on the importance of sound design to a film.
It Conveys Realism
A film’s sound design cleans up the feel of the film’s environment. Each movie must have crisp and clear sound bites comprising its presentation. That is actually a challenge because sounds recorded in raw production are not clean and could have extraneous information like noise.
This is where a film’s audio department comes in – most sound effects are recreated and added later by the editors in post-production. This means re-recording actual sound effects in controlled environments, and editing them using advanced software.
Dictating the Mood
Another purpose of sound design is to convey the mood of a certain scene, in order for the audience to gain an emotional reaction. This is the use of music – certain types of music can bring out certain emotions when mixed in with a particular scene. For instance, a battle needs fast music to convey tension and action.
On the other hand, horror scenes usually blend well with music that plays out minimally in the beginning, and slowly builds up until it becomes tense, at the appropriate moment of the scene.
Music will have to blend itself with the sound effects – continuing with the horror movie example outlined in the previous paragraph, sound effects like the door being slammed forcefully can have more impact if there’s an absence of music in the scene. It makes a person jump involuntarily in surprise.
Puts the Cues In
Aside from emotions, sound effects actually assist in interpreting the story of the film. Some movie goers even say that the sound effects are half of the experience of the film.
The sound effects let a viewer know what part of the film is coming; for example, the background music suddenly mellows down in a certain part of a movie, which usually leads to a sudden jump in action in action films, or an escalation in the relationship of two characters in a romantic movie.
Modern movies now make use of specific sound effects as cues that moviegoers have learned to read a movie using just signals from the soundtrack as a guide.
The overall sound design also puts the signature of the people behind it: the sound effects directors, music composers, and many others involved with it. Certain sound editors put their own signature of their own mixes which lets movie goers, critics, and film makers know right away who made them.
This also adds more credibility to the film if the sound effects and/or the score are made by someone really popular or established.
After all, who doesn’t recognize John Williams after hearing the first few notes of the Star Wars opening theme?
Photo credit : Vancouver Film School