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‘’Imagine your favourite film
without a sound, it is possible
that your favourite film would
not have the same effect if it
Film is a visual medium – it tells its story through pictures and when films began
there was no organic sound at all. However, even in the early days of cinema,
films were accompanied by a musical score played live at the showing because
sound was an integral part of the cinematic experience.
The sound used in film and video might not always stay with you, and sometimes
you might not consciously notice it at all, but anyone would notice if it wasn’t
there. This is because it is an essential component of the immersion that film
depends on its unique appeal.
The importance of sound in film and video lies in its ability to elevate a piece
beyond the visuals or the narrative alone and connect with an audience on a more
‘’What Characters hear, we can also hear.’’
This is sound that emanates from the storyworld of the film. It originates
from the Greek word ‘’diegesis’’ which means narrative.
Diegetic sound has a source on-screen, usually recorded during production
phase at the time of the shoot.
Can be classified into;
1. Ambient Sound- Background noises that create atmosphere. e.g.
footsteps, birds tweeting, traffic, restaurant voices e.t.c.
2. Dialogue- Conversation between multiple or by a character.
3. Music(within the film world) e.g. c.d. playing, a live band,
4. Sound Effects(synchronised into the action) e.g. gun firing, door
slamming, car bakes screeching.
‘’Sounds that we hear , charcters in a film can’t’’.
This is non-literal sound that doesn’t originate from anywhere
within the storyworld of the film.
Non-diegetic sound is the sound that is added in the post-
production phase during the editing process with no on-screen
source, such as;
1. Narration- this is a voice- over added to give information to
the viewer to the imagery on screen
2. Soundtrack.- music played to create atmospher for viewer.
3. Sound Effects- additional sounds that help create a dramatic
Synchronization Of Senses.
Sound engages a distinct sense which can lead to a synchronization of
senses, making a single ryhthmn or expressive quality unify both image
and sound.Sound offers an ‘’added value’’ to film... an energetic fl ux
between two concepts easily being depicted, one of them displayed by an
optical and the other by an acoustic representation. These
representations modify the perception of each other by adding or
stressing certain attributes while attenuating others.
Motion generates sound, no matter where it occurs,
and the sound must be precisely adapted to the optical representation.
This why, in cinema, sound not only unifies the perception of time but also
structures its flow.
Sounds and dialogue must perfectly sync with the actions in a
film without delay and must sound the way they look. This
creates a meticulous flowing ryhthmn. If a sound doesn’t quite
match the action on screen, the action itself isn’t nearly as
believable. One way to achieve believable, high-quality sounds is
to use original sound clips rather than relying solely on sound
libraries for sound effects.
Orientation (Introduction of Locations)
Traditionally it has been a main function of sound effects to link the
fragmented sections of pro-filmic reality and to tie them to an organic
By this process, the soundtrack facilitates orientation both in the space-time
construction of diegesis and the narrative structure of scenes, sequences,
acts and events.
Ambient sounds for example create complex environments in close
interaction with the visuals, the text provided by dialogues and titles, and
the music e.g. when crickets and barking dogs in the distance as described
above mean ‘exterior night’ independently of the geographical location, this
strategy becomes audible.
The soundtrack has been used since its introduction to characterize
locations, since perception of the environment as an unbroken stream of
acoustic data is a fundamental characteristic of hearing e..g. the
upholstered, whisper-quiet ambience of a hotel lobby has quite a
different effect fromthe raw unruly loudness of a kindergaten, for
Hearing impressions catapult us – just like odours – back into our early
They invoke internal images, entire landscapes emerge before our
inner eye and long forgotten feelings are awoken.
Sound can be used a shift from the narrative of the story world into
another dimension. Dreams, hallucinations and other forms of
subjective perceptions can be expressed through sound.
Hearing is the medium of a constant sensory exchange
with the world which surrounds us: we cannot close our ears.
Interrupting this acoustic continuum in the course of a film makes a
statement. The fading away of sound effects marks or simulates a
loss of connection to reality.
The subject, the character, is decoupled from the sound environment
and thus from reality itself.
The Emotion Of Sound. (Setting of tone and creation of Mood.)
Music, when non-diegetically used, offers more to an audience by cnoveying the
A piano instrument, playing in the background, with sad lyrics, with a slow melody can
sets a deeper somber mood in the film.
Aspect Of Realism.
Background and atmospheric noises are essential to the visuals of a film.
The background and atmospheric noise tell the audience where the scene
is taking place. Although these sounds are usually quiet, they are
essential to a scene, as they appeal to the audience on a subconscious
level. Without them, the scene will feel unnatural to the audience.
Without them, the realism of the scene is taken away and it stands out
to the viewer, even if they aren’t sure why.
If the scene is taking place on a busy street, the background noise needs
to consist of noises you typically hear in that setting. There should be
sounds of people talking, car horns and the light sounds of engines
revving. If the scene is in a forest, the background noise might be of
blowing wind, leaves rustling and animal sounds. It features anything that
will inform the audience of where the scene is set
In an action scene, such as a fight scene, sounds likely include the
impact of a punch or grunts from the fighters. Sound designers
will go through a fight scene carefully to make sure all of the hits
and impacts sound authentic.
This could mean making some hits louder than others or even
combining two or more hit sounds to make the impact seem
heavier to viewers. All of these combined together will bring the
audience into the scene and make it seem more realistic.
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