In Null Extension the sonic universe has shrunk to the sounds heard by an single character, possibly including any inner voices he or she hears.
In Vast Extension there is nearly infinite a dilation of sonic space.
Varying the extension to the point of absolute silence is used for achieving effects of subjective sound. The suppression of ambient sounds can create the sense that we are entering into the mind of a character absorbed by her or his personal story. An example occurs in the scene in Bob Fosse's All That Jazz when the protagonist has a heart attack.
When extension is used as a sudden contrast, it contributes toward creating a emotional effect.
Some films adopt a single fixed strategy for spatial extension and maintain it throughout. In Lang's M extension is generally quite limited. All we hear during a conversation scene is what the characters on-screen are saying - almost never do we hear ambient sounds outside the frame. (see 2-dim aesthetic)
Several modern films adopt a consistently vast extension - for example Blade Runner - where rumblings of the city behind the characters in the frame constantly remind the viewer of the presence of a huge spatial context.
A posible name for the auditative style that make use of Vast Extension is "3-dim aesthetic" [to 2 and 3 dimensional audio aesthetic]
1. Everything is seen from a flat in a Greenwich Village courtyard apartment house
edited excerpts: Chion's Audiovision p 86 - 89
Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen is available at Internet book stores as Amazon books Highly recommended
Other Books by Michel Chion
Michel Chion Links:
- Claudia Gorbman writes about Michel Chion
- by Nicola Phillips Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge
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