Image by Alisha Vargas. Used under Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.
Guest Contribution by Richard Gould
…and a hold-over from last month’s “Voice” theme
I didn’t realise it until recently, but I’ve been a sound designer for most of my life. I may have only discovered the term “Sound Design” a few years ago, and I may have just graduated from studying the craft of sound design itself, but like most of us, I’ve been designing sounds since I was a kid, I just didn’t know it. True, I wasn’t sitting behind a console discussing aesthetics with directors, nor was I packing up my gear for a field recording session, but just as I might find myself today making sounds for non-existent worlds, beings and spacecrafts, I was doing the same thing when I was six years old.
I would run through the woodland up in the valley near my house, only it wasn’t a woodland, it was an alien landscape on a distant planet, or a medieval forest where a beastly dragon placed me in mortal danger. I could see these creatures, I could hear them (and I wasn’t afraid to let others hear them either). I was using the two most powerful tools in my sound design toolbox to realize the sonic sources of these worlds; my imagination and my voice. As I grew older however, I had less and less time to go up to the woodland, less time to visit these other worlds, and as a result, my first career as a sound designer came to an abrupt end around the age of eleven.
Andy Wooding has a new interview with one of our former Featured Sound Designers, Coll Anderson, up over on FilmDoctor.co.uk.
I don’t know if there’s a difference. They both involve a certain level of verisimilitude and so you can’t really say there’s a difference. People will say ‘documentaries are real and fictitious films are about telling stories’ but documentaries are really about telling stories and fictional films often want to feel super real. So there’s a huge cross over between them. When you insert a camera into a situation, that situation is no longer real. It changes. It changes the dynamic. There’s a square box capturing it. We go to great lengths to show ‘oh the truth of the square box’ but it’s not true.
Head here to read the full interview.
Photo by Aditya Laghate. Used under Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.
Guest Contribution by Joel Raabe
At night in the darkness, I often hear voices in my head. Though it’s strange to admit, as I drift off to sleep after a long day of cutting dialogue or mixing the latest program, indistinct voices emerge and converse in the surround field of my theta wave brain. The wash of leftover phonemes from the work day somehow eases me to sleep, a bizarre lullaby panning through my mind.
As sound artists, we spend much of our lives with people we’ve probably never met, famous actors and fantastical creatures. These characters lodge in our brains as we rely on their patterns and personalities to guide us through editing and storytelling. I often wonder, how much of own voice ends up projected in these characters? Is it our job to color them or should we mostly stay out of the way, mechanically fulfilling our sonic duties in service to the director, producer, or sound supervisor?
Photo by flickr user James Whatley. Used under Creative Commons license. Click image to view source.
Guest Contribution by Randy Thom
During pre-production on a film it’s common practice to gather lots and lots of still photographic images, and video as well, that might relate to the story. The stills are often displayed on walls for everyone preparing the film to see and talk about. It’s basically an “idea board.” The purpose of gathering these images is to stimulate thinking about the way the film should look, or about some other element of the story taking shape. Shots of potential locations for shooting, or locations evocative of those in the story, images of objects and props, shots of people similar to those in the story, animals, food, vehicles, landscapes, structures, etc. are compiled as concrete starting points of reference for constructing the look of the movie. Eventually a storyboard artist will draw images representing almost every shot in the film. It’s a way to help the filmmakers pre-visualize how each shot will be designed.
Image by flickr user woodleywonderworks. Used under Creative Commons license.
This article is not what I originally intended. I started it, nearly completed it and then decided to rewrite it from a different angle. It’s core subject remains intact, speaking to our collaborators…the people who hire us to make their pieces of media “sound good.” Whether we work in film, television, games, mobile applications, interactive art installations or any other existing or emerging medium, the majority of us work in service to another. Many a sound professional can be found lamenting the working situation they find themselves in; proclaiming, “ if only…”