SOUND DESIGN DAVID SONNENSCHEIN PDF
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SOUND. DESIGN The Expressive Power of Music, Voice, and Sound Effects in Cinema. by. David Sonnenschein TABLE OF CONTENTS. Sound Desing - David Sonnenschein - Download as PDF File .pdf) or view presentation slides online. Sound Design Book. Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema - Kindle edition by David Sonnenschein. Download it once and read it on .
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Show related SlideShares at end. WordPress Shortcode. Published in: Full Name Comment goes here. Are you sure you want to Yes No. No Downloads. Views Total views. Then there usually is a modest amount of detail given in the first paragraph of scene description, appearing something like this:.
The rows of cornstalks bathe motionlessly in the moonlight. In the middle of the field, a single stalk begins to shake, slowly at first, then possessed with a nervous energy that spreads contagiously to its neighbors. Part of your job will be to create the reality of these explicit locations and times, but for now you should look for the subtext that these environments may lend to the development of the story and characters.
The above scene could belong to a terror or comedy film, and may mix the genres to have an even greater impact at the moment of tension and turning point in the narrative. The distance or intimacy of the sounds can transmit a dramatic intent by telling us where we are and what might be a threatening noise to be noticed. By accenting the high frequencies of the cornstalk shaking we create a greater presence.
If we choose to make the environment claustrophobically collapse, the frog croak can gain on the high frequencies, while we multiply the croaks to have frogs surround us from all sides. Clues to the emotions Adjectives and adverbs give flavor to the scene descriptions, hinting to the director, actors, production designer, DP director of photography and sound designer what feeling should prevail.
But if a word or two of colorful portrayal is interjected, it thrusts our eyes and ears into a specific reality: You may see a word that seems so out of context with the rest of the description that it could serve as a sound clue.
Sound Desing - David Sonnenschein
Mark it for special atten- tion. For example, the location could be a very dark alley, with sinister tension built into the movement and dialogue. You can most effectively use pitch, timbre, and attack in counterpoint.
Description of a scene can give you a sense of energy and direction of emotion. During a horse race, for example, bettors have gambled not only their money but their hopes, and these can be exposed through the action and reaction in the soundtrack.
Assuming these two fellows will be competing not only at the racetrack but throughout the story, their forms of communication and temperament will have nuances in acting style, costume, camera angle, and sound.
It all begins with the emotion that jumps off the page.
In the above case, what the two characters are feeling at that moment is considered a primary emotion, in contrast to a scene description that generates a reaction from the audience or reader , which is denoted as a secondary emotion.
An example of this is clear in a scene in which the character is trembling with anxiety, but the audience is rolling in laughter:. Hanging over the bubbling industrial cooking pots, Harold tries for the third time to lift the slippery. As he holds on for dear life to the drooping coat hang- er, he manages to pinch the egg with his extra long toenails.
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Slowly, slowly, he raises the egged toes to his mouth But slowly, slowly the egg begins to crack and disintegrate In a scene that has a contrast between primary and secondary emotions, we have a choice to employ the sound purely with one emotion, or to use spatial or temporal counterpoint to heighten the tension.
In the following examples, I am taking liberty to use my own definitions for the various types of comedy and the rules they may follow — for the sake of showing the kinds of choices that can be made in sound design. In a slapstick comedy, the tone would also be exaggerated and even less subtle, with a silliness in recognition that we are the delighted observers participating in the secondary emotion, prodding us directly to the point with a more cartoonish style of sounds.
The bubbles would sound with more melodic poppings, sliding the tones in a circus-organ-like clown dance. The bending hanger would be a springy doowing-doowing. The cracking of the egg would have a stuttering but intelligent rhythm, a kind of tease to draw out the tension to the fullest extent. In a comedy that alternates between the primary and secondary emotions, we have the opportunity for a sophistication of shifting point of view and pulling the audience off-guard more than they expect from either a pure satire or a slapstick comedy.
Intersecting planes of reality conspire to heighten the humor, and in this case the sounds can be selected from both points of view to make this counterpoint. For example, the threatening volcanic-like bubbles from below will contrast greatly with the cartoonish springy hanger from above. Physical or dramatic transition The flow of drama leads us to turning points in the story that evoke shifts in physical space, intent, emotion, and in general a new direction for the characters and plot.
When reading the script, note where these occur, as they will serve as signposts for changes in the soundtrack as well. The most obvious shifts of physical space occur at the change from one scene location to another. Certainly this is motivation to change the ambient sounds to help orient the audience to the new space, but rarely is this change a dramatic turning point in itself.
More likely you will have to dig for the psychological transition that can be escorted with a shift in the audio. Still on the physical plane, a common transition element is a door. This can be leading the character into a new space, unknown adventure, or surprise twist.
There are also moments of a sudden, unexpected entry into a room by a foreign element that is accompanied by a definite shift in the ambiance. Imagine, for example, a dog kennel late at night when a cat somehow sneaks in through a window crack, wakening the snuffling hounds into a barking fervor.
Ask yourself about the predominant feeling before and after this transition. What would the characters be hearing because their attention would be. How would the audience participate more in the world of a character with respect to a shift of sounds?
Some bipolar extremes could be:. The choices made should be based on an analysis of the arcs and dramatic turning points of the characters and plot, consciously emphasizing, suggesting, or even contradicting what is occurring in the subtext of the script.
As he is drawing towards a decisive revelation and shift in his character, the natural sounds of the restaurant murmur of other diners, silverware, glasses, etc. When the scene tension is resolved with a humorous shift, the sounds of the restaurant return to their previous levels.
The magic moment has passed. Find a logic to group them by type: Now skim over each group and let the words begin to take sides. Do you find very similar words? Opposing words? What is the opposition that is being created? Is there a similar opposition in the different groups of words?
If the film is fairly simple in structure, it may have only one bipolar contrast. But most films have at least two levels of storytelling — the more consciously obvious goal and conflict, and the more subconscious subtext.
Sound Design : The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema
Be aware that the list of bipolar pairs may need to be separated into more than one thematic conflict. Two distinct bipolar lists were derived from the script, which included development of musical aspects such as rhythm and frequencies that followed these bipolarities. As is the case with any film that is multilayered in its tones, symbols, and characters, this film has exceptions to these bipolarities, which can serve.
So be aware of the relative nature of such charts; they are guidelines, not necessarily eternal truths even for the two hours of the film. This usually encompasses a smaller spectrum of all the flow possibilities than the 3-way Pie described below can obtain.
Examples of this might be: Examples of this would be: If the screenplay you are working on begs to be supported by three themes or elements, this can be a useful paradigm to apply to the sound design as well, extrapolating the same tools as used with the bipolar relationships. Now with this understanding of the deeper resonating elements of the script, you can look for patterns that will give you clues for building the sound design structure. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle in the long direction.
Mark points along the line representing the significant plot points, moments of transition and heightened conflict. If there are certain repeated elements or scenes that are important to the story, give them some graphic symbol where they appear along the chronological line you have drawn. Looking at the dramatically high points of the story, ask yourself what is happening in the bipolar conflict? As the story leaps forward to the fate- ful date, Mario finds that his world of successful but ruthless business is suddenly thrown out of his control when he is kidnapped, hooded, handcuffed, and whisked off to an isolated cabin.
The events unfold as Death reveals herself in the cabin and begins a final seduction to climax the film.
A graphic representation of the time line and bipolar units usually done with an erasable colored pencil would look like this:. A second bipolar unit of power-weakness overlaid on the same time line will have a different curve than the first done with a different colored pencil , at moments crossing, counterpointing, and finally resolving to a mutual climax, like this:. What do these graphics reveal for the sound design? As the basic dra- matic elements are put into opposition, we can visualize a kind of emo- tional scoring of the entire film.
We can see when one theme emerges and becomes dominant or suppressed, as well as how the multiple themes bounce off one another. Each of these themes will continue to be expanded in the treatment of voice, sound effects, ambiance, and music as they may have also been expressed in the production design. Any associations with sounds in the diegesis story world of the film can serve as a starting point to give direction to these themes.
In fact, the physiological. These elements then spawn parameters for two of the musical themes that will counterpoint throughout the film, based on the overall graphic line that was drawn on the visual map. Assuming that you are not the director doing your own sound design in which case you might try some of the following approaches with your sound editor and music composer , all of what you have created up to this point must be shared with the director. Depending on both of your personalities and experiences, there will be a greater or lesser degree of collaboration on the specific steps of the sound design process.
But it remains absolutely imperative that the director hears your ideas and absorbs what you have to offer, and that you listen to the director, who will probably be the only one to have a complete vision of the characters and story. Creating sounds that are best for the film requires sonic, structural, and emotional information to flow through you in two directions, both listening and speaking.
The memory or intuition of the listener rises to its own defense when it hears itself being challenged, revealing the hidden intent and appropriate selection of sound. Ideas flow spontaneously like a four-handed piano improvisation.
The real-time aspect can generate unexpected rhythms on the page. For example, if one of you draws in a more architectural blueprint style — very rhythmic, exacting, and measured — this can create a very surprising counterpoint to another style that is more anatomically based — with curves, ovals, branchings, and threadings.
Where do they intersect? What third forms result from the synergy? What dialogue of ideas, links, and new insights surfaces from your intuitive and logical processes?
Finding what is out of balance can very well reveal what is needed to put things in balance, just as a string on a guitar blares out when it needs tuning up or down; and you should hope that your director will have the perspective with which to judge this. Most likely you have been hired as a sound designer because the director understands the benefits and is eager to collaborate with you.
Even so, you may have a director who is tremendously ignorant of the full potential, language, and process of sound designing.
In this case, you should have a little chat as to what extent you will be given the authority and decision-making powers in creating the sound design. Some directors may feel uncomfortable with their lack of experience in this area, and you have to watch out for the trap of taking advantage of this by becoming a one-man band.
You very well may have to seek different communication techniques to become the most effective with each individual director, just as you might with different students, lovers, or bosses. Some will prefer hours of dialoguing with you; others may like written words, or charts, or diagrams; and others will want to hear the sounds themselves before commenting.
You may receive from the director very specific indications of how to hear the film, or a certain song or instrumental recording that the director either wants to incorporate as is or to use as a guide for an original composition. There was a valve that was sealing up, and in the dailies when that shot came up, one of the directors made a ka-chonk sound, and it stuck in my head.
No matter what I did with hydraulic air releases, valves, rubber things, sections of pipe, tires, reverse tire hits and stuff to make this machine work, I knew that ultimately it would still have to go ka-chonk under all the other textures and music.
I knew they would love it and they did. They would rarely define sounds in that movie with examples of realistic sounds, which some other directors might do. I added that it should have a respiratory system, a circula- tory system, and a heartbeat, and they liked that. Also that it should be made of spare parts.
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That was the only discussion we had, because I had a really good intuitive lock on what they were looking for. If this suggestion fits like a glove with your own ideas for the sound- track, this will be easy to integrate. But the challenge comes when the idea seems at least at first quite outside your imagined design. Do this in a curious, nonthreatening way, like an investigative reporter seeking the inside story, rather than as a prosecuting attorney looking to win a case in point.
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