Film Sound Design 
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Walter Murch Articles 

Sound designer and film editor Walter Murch may be one of the most and diverse below-the-line talents to be working in movies today. 

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   Film Sound Terminology 


Direct sound and Reflected sound 

Characteristic sound 

Diegetic sound 

Emotional realism 

Establishing sound 


Hyper-real Sound 


Non-diegetic sound 

Natural sounds 

Location sound

Point-of-audition sound 


Production Sound 

Room Tone 


Sound designer 

Sound hermeneutic 

Sound motif 

Sound loop 


Supervising Sound Editor 




G L O S S A R I E S:
   Queen´s Film studies   Dolby Laboratories, Inc.
 Mix Magazine
   Sound perspective 
   Film Sound Glossary  Larry Blakeís Film Sound Glossary
   David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson's  Terminology
 (They use mostly musical terms)
Acoustic properties: 

- sound volume 

- the perceived "highness" or "lowness" of the sound 

- a sounds "color" or tone quality

Dimensions of Film Sound: 

- sound's rhythmic qualities 

- sound faithful to its source  

- sound's spatial dimension 

- simultaneous and nonsimultaneous sound

"Not a single sound in cinema can be adequately  
described with musical terminology" 
Rich Altman criticizes musical terminology
   Robert L Mott's Nine Components of Sound
Every sound has its own distinctive wave form.  
Nine components must be considered to successfully reproduce or create new sounds. 
Musical components:  Sound envelope components: 
Record and playback component: 
   Michel Chion´s Terminology
Acousmatic sound 
- sound one hears without seeing their originating cause  

- a kind of invisible voice-character with mysterious powers 

Added Value 
- the expressive and/or informative value with which a sound enriches a image 

Audiovisual Contract 
- an agreement to forget that sound is coming from loudspeakers and picture from screen  

Anempathetic Sound 
- music or sound effects that seems to exhibit conspicuous indifference to what is going on in the film's plot 

-  the stabilisation of projection speed made cinema an art of time  

Empathetic Sound 
- music or sound effects whose mood matches the mood of the action 

Extension (of Sound Space) 

External logic 
- the logic by which the flow of sound includes effects of discontinuity as nondiegetic interventions 

Internal logic 
- the logic by which the sound flow is apparently born out of the narrative situation itself  

Magnetization (spatial) 
"mental pan" of the sound source 

Materializing Sound Indices (M. S. I.) 
- sonic details that "materialize" the sound source 

- the use of sounds to convey the feelings or effects associated with the situation on screen  

- the mental fusion between a sound and a visual when these occur at exactly the same time  

- influence of sound on the perception of time in the image 

- the privilige of the voice in audiovisual media 

"Chion is a poet in theoretician's clothing" 
- Claudia Gorbman writes about Michel Chion
Book Review: Michel Chion, Audio-Vision (Escom Newsletters)   
- by Nicola Phillips Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge
    On-line Articles

  •  Blue Velvet - a mixed genre film with horror film sound 

  • Moving Pictures That Talk  - The early history of film sound   

  • Sound recording and the ability to photograph and reproduce motion pictures began intersecting at the very beginning...... In 1891 a Dr. Georges Demeny makes claim to synchronous sound....Even earlier, in 1891, Edison was making inflated claims of achieving synchronous projected sound films....(by Mark Ulano, C.A.S)

  • Post Audio FAQ

  • - Frequently Asked Questions about Film & TV Post-Production

  • Misc.

  • Acoustic-Ecology, Architectural Acoustics etc


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Sven E Carlsson

First version of this page 1/3 1997
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