Sunday, November 13, 2005

Notes On Sound-Friday

Walter Murch (Editor) said about Michel Chion that he is a poet in theoretician’s clothing. His work is dripping with love for the medium of sound.
There can be 24, 30, even 36 tracks of sound to edit on one sequence. You can layer sound vertically in a way that’s impossible with the image. Today I want you to listen to films, not just watch them.

When you think High Fidelity think of truth, fidelity to the real environment. The speaker falls, he crashes, we capture the crash, and the same crash is in our movie.
Second, there’s fidelity to the emotional tone of the scene, which might be different if this is a scene creating a sense of chaos. The actual noise may not be enough, so we add other sounds to it to give us a sense of the tone of the scene. Third, there’s fidelity to the psychological state of mind of the character. We can use sound to bring out what might be an emotional state into the realm of cinema.
Sound can represent an author’s point of view.

We watched Sergio Leone’s “My Name is Nobody” for the auditory puns (like the chicken sound when gun is pointed to the barber’s crotch indicating both chicken, as in scared, and cock, as in the part of the body and the gun.) Then there is the clock ticking both behind the inside and outside shots, leading up to the shootout, creating suspense.

“La Cienaga” directed by Lucrecia Martel - you can hear the shaking of her unstable hand by the ice in the glass. The dragging of lawn chairs. The thunder that permeates each space, even if otherwise they are in different spaces and soundscapes. Then she also takes that thunder and manipulates it to a dull roar that creates the emotional soundscape of the characters.

“The Man Who Knew Too Much” directed by Alfred Hitchcock - The steps (as if he is in a corridor, the street is so quiet and empty of sound.) Then he stops and the footsteps go on. He is paranoid. Are the footsteps following him? Or are they just somebody behind him? His feet make two different sounds like a tick tock - similar to Sergio Leone’s auditory trick with the clock- and that creates suspense.

Jean-Luc Godard "Une Bande Apart" - He doesn’t want to distance you, but lets you know he’s in charge of all of the sound you hear. The jazzy rhythm that they dance to gets interrupted when the voice of the narrator comes through to let you know, the director is still in charge.


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