Cinematic Convolutions: Sounds Important

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The Red Epic. The Red Scarlet. Master Prime Lenses.

Everyone wants it to look good. But does it sound good?

Before I made my own videos, I was really focused on HOW things looked visually. Especially when I did video or film analysis. I looked up good cameras, which angles to shoot, what shot sizes to use, etc. But I never paid attention to the sound, in fact I don’t think I ever mentioned sound design in any of my analysis videos.

But after shooting “Check Up”, I was hit with a very quick realization: Sound is Everything.

If you watched the raw edit of “Check Up”, with no music, its boring, terse, and quite bland. In fact, while I was editing, I was really concerned with how the video would come out because it was honestly the most boring thing I’d ever watched, and I filmed it.

But after adding in music, it was like night and day. It improved the video so much so, that I went back and made cuts to correspond to the music and let the music drive the flow of the video, which let me set up jokes like the egg one where the music would cut out. Sound design saved my video.

Sound design is arguably the most crucial part of post production.

Firstly, like my video, sound can be used in the form of music to set up the mood of the scene. My video used music to show conflict, dominance, determination, and of course humor. But music can create any mood for any scene. Having no music, or the wrong type of music can ruin your video or film. But sound isn’t just relegated to what soundtrack you pick.

Secondly, sound extends of course to dialogue! Many times, the voices you hear in the film or video weren’t even caught on set, but in post using a technique called ADR: Additional Dialogue Recording. This is the process of dubbing the voices for a scene for various reasons:

1. There was something ruining the captured dialogue (Wind/Cars/Planes/ETC)

2. The director was calling out marks during the scene so all the dialogue needs to be dubbed.

3. The line was flubbed and there are no better takes.

There is a scene in Check Up where I scream, “Hey!” at the jerk. But that scream wasn’t in the actual take! That take was the best timed one of me walking, but the scream I did during that take was weak. So I took a scream from a previous take, and cut out the current scream and pasted in the better one therefore combining the best of both takes.

Lastly, and my favorite use of sound is to create immersion. Great sounds allows the audience to suspend their disbelief, but bad sound can immediately destroy it as it reveals the actual process of film making. And the better your film looks, the more obvious bad sound becomes.

The most important part of sound design to create immersion is something called FOLEY. FOLEY is kind of like ADR, but instead you’re creating the sound of the video. For example, for sword fights in movies, the actual swords are prop wood, to be safe. So to create the clink sounds of sword fighting, a FOLEY artist will sit in his sound studio and recreate the situation except with actual swords to create the sound and that will be inserted into the audio. Most of the sound you hear in movies is from FOLEY.

My videos don’t really involve the use of much FOLEY because usually all of my shots contain the audio I need, I usually use ADR a lot more to fix or add in dialogue for a scene. (Though I will be using FOLEY very very soon.)

I hope I was able to show you the importance and uses of sound in film and video!

The next few videos from my channel will not be produced or directed by me, I am currently busy working on our first official big production that’ll be filmed in the summer and so this next few weeks my co-founders will be making videos in my place while I get things in order. The next video from me will be our biggest and most ambitious project to date and it honestly scares me of how much bigger the scale is. But its all in great fun.( And I guarantee it’ll sound great.)

-Corey

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