Task 6 – Sound Design

Introduction

In this task I plan to make a RLJ that charts and describes my learning process through this sound design module. I will be using ‘Brookfield 1995 – Four Lenses’ to best define my learning experience. I will be reflecting towards lectures, sessions and other processes I have been involved in as well as critically evaluate this evidence to best show my journey through sound design.

Sound Design

Today I had my first introduction to sound and the tasks I would need to complete for the module. Our tutor gave a short introduction of the module and began to ask us questions about sound and how it makes the view feel. He made great points about how sound can effect atmosphere and pace which for me was a slight indication for it’s use as I had recently found an interest in editing.
My first feeling about sound was that it wasn’t a big part of film and it is not a part that interests me. When I see movies I look for the visual elements and story and at this point do not see it as interesting to me or vital for production.
This was good for me because I get to learn about something I have next to no knowledge about and is something that I as of yet can not see the benefits of. I will get the chance to learn and see the light in film making quality i.e. the uses and benefits of sound artists and sound design towards production.
My analysis is that the effects and benefits of sound design may be apparent to me as a viewer i.e. when I watch films:- as I do see and feel the effects but do not fully understand them. Another key issue is that there is a fairly complex method used in sound design known as Foley Artists who construct sound from a simple recording to a fully functional and remastered piece of sound design.
My conclusion is that I will research sound;- its origin and its quality to film and video to make me a better film maker. There is not a great deal I could have done from this experience as it was my first lecture on a topic I did not know.

Sound Producers / Foley Artists

Today I began my research into a role which has improved sound for film and video known as a Foley Artist. His / her job is to record sound effects using a mic or boom which will later be handed to an editor to compliment the work of a video; film; television programme or game. This could be described as; gun shots; machinery; voices or atmospheric sounds to create the effect of atmosphere or pace. I first began to watch videos on youtube and scenes from my favorite films to realise the potential of sound and try to isolates it from what I was seeing and feeling from the picture. I began to watch videos I thought may show good use of sound design i.e. Band of Brothers; Star Wars and Kill Bill.
There is an online network for producers and Foley Artists’s to show and give their work for free use. One of the sites I came across was soundshare.co.uk. It is a useful method of finding parts of sound design without taking on the work load. All that needs to be done is to download samples and import them into an editing programme.
I feel that from todays findings sound design – on a scale is huge as there are many things that need the use of sound. Sound effects in action sequences create a lot of the intensity and can effect the viewer’s mood. I feel this is an important thing to do as imposing a feeling or reaction from a viewer is incredibly important and / or creating feeling; atmosphere and pace. I feel that a sound designers work is harder than I would have first thought. To come up with the correct sound for effect or to even know what recordings to make wouldn’t be a simple task and would need a great deal of planning and commitment. I now have a lot more appreciation and respect for this role and would like to see how I would fair in it.
It was good to see what was out there in terms of the followers who are making sound an important role in media and to have examples before me to speculate on the subject. I thought it was good to know that there were websites out there to help you with sound design that support of knowing that that help is there will be comforting towards both this module and future projects. Seeing examples from films and programmes I had seen before was an eye opener; and it was good to isolate and understand it.
One thing I found about the situation was that sound designers work may be more popular that I had first imagined. The sound of a light-sabre and the eering sound used in Kill Bill before a conflict is known by many and is even something people will emulate to one an other.
Something that may have been a good idea would have been to look up the work of a sound designers from a number of examples and compare their work to one an other. This would have given me a broader understanding of the work and the industry standards i.e. what they look for in terms of quality and style and it could have brought me closer to a certain sound designer or Foley Artist. Another idea would have been to research sound across a number of genres to see if there is a type of style or genre that is present and on a whole to check out the industry to see who has made a success in it and why.
The next time I get the chance to look into sound I will make sure my research is more thorough and will look into history and artists who have shaped the industry. I will watch a number of videos by the same artist and look deeper into the process of sound design. I should educate my self better by trying out processes to see if their is a role I prefer more than the other and to see if one is more dificult than the other.

Research into Sound

Today I began my journey through sound design to better understand the module. I have learned of various artists and company’s that have developed sound design and have also watched examples of the work and possibilities. I have also learned key dates and names that have made up pages of my wordpress.
I felt that at last I was getting to know my subject better and see it journey. I felt more appreciative now that I knew more about it and thought that the subject is more diverse than I’d first thought. I also didn’t realise there were so many big names I was aware of who were involved.
It was good to see the dates of when certain things happened as it gave indications to things I already knew about film like successful movies at that time. It really gave a broader view to the history I already knew about film and television. It was bad that my research did not go as extensively than it could of as there truely is a lot to learn about sound and a lot it can teach me about film and its industry.
Sound design is a broad subject and is one that needs time to appreciate. I see it as a good way of starting my journey through sound and it will be helpful in my later findings and research.
Next time I should conduct more research into sound as the subject is large. I must take more names and question their successes and analyse the production they have been involved in. It will help me greatly understand the history better and give a broader understanding to find.

Sound for Gaming

Today I preformed in a class discussion and activity of analysing sound design in a number of computer games (Fight Night Round 2 and Call of Duty), the idea was to take note of issues that may affect the mood; atmosphere; feel or pace of the game. As a group we took part in trying the games out and later discussing pour findings. COD had the use of gun fire and explosions that intensified the game and made the experience more exciting. There were effects that made you aware of elements to the game that you could not see i.e. when a grenade landed near to you or when you had taken a hit.
Fight Night had sound effects that created the atmosphere of a real life boxing ring with people from the crowd cheering when you progressed through a round or the sound effect of your opponent landing a hard hit.
I felt that sound acts towards the over all experience of the game and without it a game could not run in a number of ways. Firstly it gives possibilities for more actions to run inside of the game and have effect due to the users senses. With the use of music or sound effects the game can communicate with the users telling him / her that there is key part about to take place or as a means of warning or caution. Since the users may face a first person view or a relatively hard perspective of vision; the use of sound is then a way of interpreting location or a sense of awareness. Sound tracks in game are also used to characterise or describe places and players, and can portrait a story as quickly as the visuals.
I thought it was a good experience as a class to work to understand these effects unfortunately once we took note of the effects by playing and viewing the game there wasn’t much else to learn accept from all of the different varieties it can be used in. It was good that we set up in the studio in college because we had the use of surround sound and a projector which made the experience a great deal more enjoyable and a cinema-like set up made it easier to view it.
I see how the experience of game testing is a thorough way of knowing the experience of sound design but would like to see more of the process than the finished product. It isn’t hard to establish what a sound designer was intending when experiencing a game but the intention or process would also be a good way of understanding. A way to do this would be seeing the meetings and sessions of a game in it’s production stages to follow the process in it’s entirety. This I feel would shed a better outlet of the sound designers work and seeing why a sound was chosen or not.
The next time I am looking into sound design for games I will try to locate videos of these processes. I will keep note of new ways games used sound design and the effects it can have on the product. I will look to use this experience to further boost my findings through sound design and try to compare it through other mediums.

Wall-E

Today I watched the animated movie Wall-E with sound design by Ben Brutt. I began making a journal and listed all the sound effects; ADR and Foley Work through the film. I used this information to help with my task two in sound design.
I had always admired the film Wall-E and realise it is because of the work done by Ben Brutt. The amount of effect to atmosphere; place and character tells the majority of the story and usually by sound effects instead of ADR. He imposes this feel to the universe and space station that is seen in the movie and does a fantastic job of drawing you in. The sounds that were used I thought introduced characters and places extremely well which made you possibly know the character immediately.
Is was good to know now some history from the work done in tasks one and two that there is a sound designer whom I know of and who’s work I appreciate.
I could have broadened my knowledge of why Ben Brutt’s reputation is as good as it is by viewing more of his movies and his competitors. It is something I did plan to do and feel it is a good way of showing example of why the history of sound formed the way it and give indication toward the technology and techniques at the time these movies were made.
To further explore my want to learn in sound design I will follow more of this artist work to see where it takes me. I will use my findings to give better prove to the history of sound and take on what I now know sound can do for movies to make me a better film maker. If the opportunity airised again where I knew Ben Burtt was involved in I would research into how this time his work has faired.
Panda Funk

In todays task I got a chance to edit the footage made in the Panda Funk video. It gave me chance to make a promotional video and best used the soundtrack provided to display mood; pace and atmosphere. It also gave me more of a chance to move my editing skills.
My thought were that both the dance and soundtrack were high tempo and would need plenty of fast cuts. It was also apparent that a mixture of the music and shots would have to act in supporting the lack of narration to the video. There were two characters in the video which meant it was possible for more options to try and create effect with sound design.
I feel that there could have been more that could have been done with the video but the fact that it would be used for promotion stunted the freedom to express the effects of sound design. I would have liked to have made an entire pallet of sounds to then be used to best give a description of either the character, place or mood and other areas. I feel that a good promotion video was made which showed the skills of the two dancers.
Sound design is hard, and isn’t a short process either. A video must be treated with the at most respect of a sound designer or Foley Artist as the combination can cause great effect. The use of Foley Work is an important one to give strength to detail that sometimes can be missed and the work they do is vital.
I could have made more effort in being a Foley Artist for this film as it would have made a better piece of production. I feel that in this project I have failed at that experience. Making a list of sounds and even planning what I would have done for both characters would have strengthened my movie and made it more educational and enjoyable.
Next time the oppoprtunity is there I will try each and every method to give my self a broader spectrum of sounds to work with. It will not only make my work better but give an incredible amount of option to edit.

The Foley Artist

Today I produced a video that expressed the work of a Foley Artist. I had to film various shots from the story board I made and the scripts given. It showed two characters, the the Foley Artist and the other a person speaking over the phone. The plan was to use this video and match it with certain sound effects. I used a website I hade found before to supply me with the sound effects I needed to complete my video and began to edit them together.
I enjoyed the experience it gave me a chance to work the camera again and plan my own project toward sound design. This control gave me the knowledge of both areas i.e. picture and sound which I felt added to the overall experience of the video. I felt it was good to make a video on the a topic that we were studying and found it enjoyable.
It was good to know what shots were being made, it gave me a better warning to what needed to be found and what could be done with them. It was bad that I only used the recordings of other artists for sound effects as the ones I recorded did not fit in or sound correct.
I realise that either role be in video or sound can be as enjoyable as the other and they have equal importance to the project. The way that a simple recording or ADR can affect the picture is astonishing and also comforting to know that mistakes in production can be saved with the use of these techniques.
I could have gone out and recorded my own sounds. The quality could have been better and I would have had a greater deal of control over the effects it would have made. Instead of denying my own recording I could have seeked to improve the quality with the use of a sound studio or even changed the samples.
To ensure that my project is a successful one I should look to atleast be able to be a Foley Artist if I am hoping to understand it or use it. If I were to do another project I would like to consentrate heavily on the sound design to see how much possitive effect it can have on my own work.

How We Run In The Same Way

Today I began to make my video about man vs machine. It was a video that tried to connect man to machinery with the help of sound design. I had previously recorded shots of my arms and eyes to act as the description for man and also some of the ways he fuction. Then I displayed the same with the use of a car, computer and petrol garage.
I thought that there were many ways of showing how we are similar and had comfort in the shots I had made as aesthetically they did show similarity. I was not comfort in the knowledge of how to man this similarity using sound and felt there should have been more I could use to demonstrate this.
I felt that an accidental recording could have saved my project as the soundtrack that should back the video was not yet chosen. I feel the shots that indicated functions that people and machines share was good and that my experience of cutting sound in an editing sound was interesting. I feel the quality could have been made better with more planning on how different sounds could have come in.
I realised that a narrative really does act as a support and give indication to where picture and sound should come in and without it can lead to an unorganised project or loosely one at that. I feel that the lack of time because of a deadline drawing near proved to act against my success and could have been done with better care.
I could have planed sooner and left more time for the video to be made. It was an interesting topic and could have given me a great task to practice sound. I could have recorded sounds of the pictures that were in my video i.e. a petrol pump and tried to compare it with a sound that humans make as a contrast to the narrative. and that there were many other topics that could have given better room for the use of sound design.
Next time when conducting a project that could act as both something that can be graded and act as both an experiment and a addition I should think more wisely about the choice I will make. If I came to the situation of acting as sound designer I will gather more knowledge about the shots and narrative that will be used to prepare myself. I will also try to make my production as professional as possible.

 

Conclusion

I have realised a number of different techniques and practitioners that have worked in sound design and have come to know some of their out comes. I have conducted research and time into understanding sound design and the ways in which it can be used. I have taken part in class discussions; group tasks and with my own ideas to complete this module and to better understand the subject of sound design and better me as a film maker.
I have tested in a number of ways of creating effects with sound and have learned from the mistakes and successes made which I feel has bettered my overall skill if not a skill in sound design. This journal and previous tasks should show my journey through sound design and show a definite progression and achievement.

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