Exercise – Create a New Soundtrack

Look back at your list of sounds from the listening exercise above. If you have not already done so, record each of the sounds in your list.  Lay your new sounds underneath the picture. It is likely they will not synch very well. Think more about what you want to draw attention to and the quality of the sound.

Adjust the levels of each sound to try and achieve a sound balance that sounds reasonably natural whilst clearly drawing attention to the right elements of the image and creating the desired atmosphere.

Look at other students’ work. Analyse what works, how it works and why.

The Visitor – Take Two from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

This was a really interesting exercise though I found I had to use headphones to eradicate all the sound from the house, it makes me realise in these exercises just how loud my family is. With the headphones on I could concentrate completely on the sounds and went about making a list of the sounds I would need. I realised it was going to require a lot as in the video I made I had used an iMovie soundtrack to add drama. The moment the sound was stripped away so was the drama. I needed to ensure that the drama was still as powerful even without the music.

I recorded each sound separately using the video function on my iPhone but I think I will need to find my old dictaphone to get the sounds as clear as possible. The sound on my camcorder is very good. In fact in the scene when my actor rings the doorbell the sound is so realistic when played on the video my family keep racing to the door to answer it.

 

  • Bird song
  • Natural ambience
  • Distant traffic
  • Foot going down in puddle
  • Resounding splash
  • Heavy footfalls
  • Doorbell
  • Harsh breathing
  • Creak of floorboard
  • Shuffle of woman moving
  • Knock of the door
  • Gasp
  • Letter box openingx
  • Gasp
  • Heavy breathing
  • Birds singing
  • Man speaking
  • Breathing
  • Footsteps
  • Door opening
  • Bang of saucepan on head.

 

 

Essential things for the video

  • Calm in the beginning then the stamping foot comes down in the puddle
  • The scene is tense with the man at the door
  • The sound shows how something is changing as the woman is fed up of being scared
  • The tense moment as the two meet

I included a strike of thunder as the foot crashes down in the puddle which continues in the background as a disturbing echo to the drama unfolding.

It was hard to keep the drama without music or sound so in a spur of inspiration I recorded my sister and myself crying out ‘Why does the man keep coming to our house. What have we ever done to deserve this.’ before ending on a “Mum Mum MUM!” The drama is creating emotionally by the woman’s hearing her daughters. It spurs her on to take action.

I removed any ambient sound towards the end of the video so all the focus was on the confrontation and the viewer is wondering what will happen next.

 

Look at other students’ work. Analyse what works, how it works and why.

Helen Rosemier’s exercise was especially striking. I loved her use of the person sawing wood outside the bedroom window. It’s sharp and cutting and I feel gives a sense of danger as the man wakes battling his urge to drink. The birdsong is a complete contrast, alive with hope, delicate and beautiful and highlighting everything good in the world. As the man has a racking cough he sits listening to the bird song which is stronger to show how he is thinking about it. He wonders whether it’s worth having the drink when there is such beauty outside to enjoy. Then he gives in to the demon drink and the sawing starts again, a cutting sound to show the danger he is putting himself in (highlighted by the coughing)

 

 

 

 

Exercise – Listening – Create a New Soundtrack

You can do this exercise any time because you only need your ears. 

Find the most silent place you can. Listen. Make notes of what you can hear. 

Try this in a variety of places. Can you identify the sound of silence?

Every night before I go to sleep I listen to the mediation app HeadSpace and one of the things it always says is to listen to the sounds around you. As I do it at night it’s actually quite challenging as there isn’t that much sound. Therefore it is the most silent place I can find. Occasionally I hear

  • Sounds of distance traffic. Low rumbling.
  • Rain pattering on the conservatory roof. Sharp. Striking.
  • My own breathing. Deep – relaxed
  • Occasional breeze ruffling up the trees branches
  • An owl’s song to the night
  • Natural ambience of the house – buzzing

I went to a quiet nature reserve

  • Traffic from the nearby road
  • Ping of my phone (next time turn it off)
  • Wind through the trees rising in volume.
  • Bird song
  • Trickle of the river, a liquid sound
  • Crackle of undergrowth

In the Bluebell woods

  • People talking
  • Wind
  • Jangle of keys
  • Bird song
  • Feet crunching through the undergrowth

By the Lake

  • Doors slamming and opening
  • Wind through the trees
  • Bird song
  • Traffic
  • Seagulls crying
  • People talking
  • Children laughing

Sat in the lounge now I can hear

  • Distant thrum of traffic
  • Sister on the phone
  • Bird song
  • Ticking of the clock
  • People shouting in the distance
  • Mum scrubbing floors
  • Doors opening and shutting

My art teacher once told me that nothing is ever white, there’s always a pale shade of something over it and the same seems appropriate for sound. Nothing is ever silent it would seem. You feel something is silent but when you listen you realise it really isn’t. Even in the quietest parts of the house there is always some buzzing ambience. And even when reduced to utter silence there is always the sound of your breathing, your heartbeat, blood through your ears. This is something I’m really interested in and when I’ve finished this exercise I will investigate into the Sound of Silence.

Look back at your sequence from Project Two. Identity all the items that make a sound 

Try to think in an objective way about the quality of each sound. Dissociate it from the objects that made it. Listen carefully to each item. Make notes on the sound it produces. What quality do the sounds have?

  • Bird song
  • Natural ambience
  • Distant traffic
  • Foot going down in puddle
  • Resounding splash
  • Wind
  • Heavy footfalls
  • Washing machine
  • Doorbell
  • Harsh breathing
  • Creak of floorboard
  • Shuffle of woman moving
  • Knock of the door
  • Gasp
  • Letter box opening
  • Gasp
  • Heavy breathing
  • Birds singing
  • Man speaking
  • Breathing
  • Footsteps
  • Door opening
  • Bang of saucepan on head.

Try and describe each sound with a 

  • Flavour
  • Colour
  • Emotion
  • Physical texture
  • Anything else that comes to mind

Flavour – flavour instantly brings to mind food and takes in the two senses, taste and smell . Teeth sinking into a cherry tomato, crunch of crisps, sausages sizzling in a pan.

Colour (very challenging) – a balloon (notorious for bright colours) being blown up, a log fire, crackling conjures up images of warmth and red flames

Emotion – The ice cream van jingle, conjures up emotions of happiness and childhood. Haunting songs in a minor key evoke sadness. In James Bond the whir of the electric knife almost used as a weapon, fear. Screaming connotations of pain.

Physical texture. Crunch of pebbles to show someones walking on them, cheese being grated, fingers of keyboard, crinkle of paper, hiss of iron, sawing of logs, crunching of undergrowth.

 

 


It was fascinating this exercise hearing how many sounds are around us. I often use music in my videos and this has made me open my mind to the possibility of sound around us to include in the video. I saw a video on Youtube where the young film maker says how important it is to film absolute silence for a period of time to add it in as a background ambience.