Task Two – Examples of Sound Design

Introduction

In this task I will be looking at three different pieces of sound animation and how they all cause effect in terms of; atmosphere; mood and place. I will chose; one film; one animation and a computer game. Hopefully the difference in gender will not change things although this may be one thing to look out for. My plan is to analyse each piece of sound design using my own reflection of the type of method and how it relates to the medium.

Wall-E

I feel Wall-E is a good example to use as describing sound design for animation. After watching the movie I find the sound design is one of if not the strongest feature through the film. As i started watching I created a 20 minute critical reflection diary on how and when the use of either; ADR; sound effect; folley or music would come in.

Mood / Environment / Pace

The mood of the film did change as the story related to a space age love story between two machines as each explored each other’s world. When ever a sound track was used to fit Wall-E it would be a piece of old 50’s love music or a joyace sound like ‘Singing in the Rain’. Either way it would show that Wall-E’s mood was relatively positive – all the time despite a sometime lonely and dismal atmosphere.

When we first meet Eva her sounds are also relatively positive we almost have a set opinion of the robot when it sets out to do it’s chores but springs into life as soon as it know’s it is left to it’s own devices.  A soundtrack and uses of sound effects and Foley give the impression that Eva is the more updated robot with more elegant sounds that portrait her mood and identity.

For example Wall-E is heard as a series of crunches; clicks and other misshapen effects where as Eva will tend to make a series of ‘swishing’ sounds with the sound of her jet engines being heard.

There are many scenes through out the movie that give a certain mood when a sound track or piece of audio effects is used. For instance at the very start a sound track is played out that gives the impression of a happy tale which is drawn to a stop when we see the first location. When we see this we are given sound effects that what best fit the visuals as a terrifying and lonely place.


Another example is when we are first shown the main mother ship (Axion) in space. The audio chosen is very angelic and mysterious to fit the mood of a new space age environment. The sounds suggest a very open and clean environment.

There are many different uses of Foley work throughout the film as there is a lot to cover where normal pieces of ADR could not come in. As the machines are robotic you will find a long list of sounds that cover the robots reactions and emotions to specific things as it is hard to know what a robot is thinking and feel if they do not always express them selves with a piece of dialog. Although as you will find that my video link at the bottom of this topic will best explain the use of Foley it also explains that many of the sounds that are used especially when dealing with the robots are pieces of ADR i.e. the sound effects are being made by a persons vocals.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtL01gEgoW0

The Matrix

The Matrix is an action sci fi with the use of sound design and Foley Work to better create effect to the pace; mood and atmosphere. There is a memorable sound track that plays throughout the film at the start of the movie which plays in other scenes such as ‘the building escape scene’ and when Morpheus begins to tell the story.
The soundtrack is erry and puts a sort of mysterious and suspicious feel to the film.

Foley work is seen across the film; one example is the rebel ship the Nebuchadnezzar where Dane Davis is said to have used a step ladder and 60,000 volts of electricity to create the sound of the ship. The sound gives a very metallic ad robot feel as we see is fly through the ruins of the robot city.

There is a number of scenes where time is sped up and slowed down and the sound design supports this. Sometimes you hear sound of  bullets being brought to a halt and other times it will be the sound of a mobile phone being suspended in air before it falls. Either way the sound does give an impression that the characters or elements are being suspended as they are motionless before returning to there normal environment. It gives impression to pace as you can not help but feel engulfed into both the overwhelming sound design and the direction of the picture.

In terms of mood and atmosphere there are many soundtracks used throughout to create this. For example when Neo has his first encounter with the smith agents we see the first scene of the Matrix coming to life and see for the first time where things are not what they seem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHzrGOrWceo&list=PLD891197710461A9A

This eerie soundtrack gives a horrific atmosphere to the scene and helps boost the mood of Neo being trapped and held against his will. e is unable to escape and is being tormented by the Smith agents which is what this sound track supports.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXQozTxQSiE

This soundtrack by Moby is used when Neo is starting to learn about the Matrix and is given a fast demo of many different factor of the real word. This upbeat soundtrack supports this is gives a mood like Neo is learning too much too soon. It also matching the mood of the movie and relates to the fast tempo sci fi film which the movie gives off.

http://www.howsitsounding.com/2013/03/movie-audio-matrix-1999.html

 

Resident Evil

When playing Resident Evil there are a number of effects made by a sound designer to create tension. The eerie sound tracks put you on edge as you walk through dark corridors and abandoned buildings. The use of the Foley Technique comes in when creates enter by smashing through windows or walling through walls. These sounds get progressively louder to put the gamer’s on edge.

The soudtrack’s are also there to scare the user and put them o edge; with eerie violin; chimes and samples of a harsh wind blowing are all effects to keep the user nervous of the next stage of the game.

The atmosphere is usually dark and silent with certain elements being overheard to set a more jumpy mood. The creaks of the doors and opening of chests and wardrobes are strongly heard. In some scenes intense music will be heard when the intensity of the game is increased (something that is shared through most games) and is a way for the sound designer to increase the pace of a scene.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgTz46GIB54

 

Conclusion

Sound designers in any genre or format have a duty to create i.e. a atmosphere; mood or pace to a situation and whom’s work may be the main focus to successfully complete a scene or project. We rely heavily on audio as it is one of the most used senses which is not changed across a medium like gaming and film. For example we rely on the heavily loud gun fire when playing a ‘soot um up’ to believe that the bullets that are being shot are causing some sort of damage just like when we hear a loud explosion in a film we believe in the dame done.
Soundtracks can be a good way of comforting a scene and making the imagery more meaningful to our eyes or a way as perceiving a certain subject i.e. if the sounds are soothing we relax and if they are harmful we are on edge.
Foley artist endure a long and sometimes grueling process as they are trying to achieve the same thing but without as much realisation into how effective there process may or may not be. They are literally the jigsaw builders of the sound design world.
We find it now necessary for these sounds to be included and we are almost more pleased when hear a more dynamic range of sounds and that carries even to the most simplistic sound of a pin drop. It is as if we aim to have as many senses struck when we are watching movies or going through game play.

 

 

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