Archive for April, 2009

Aguirre: The Wrath Of God – Opening Scene

Posted in Movies on April 21, 2009 by conorsound

.:. Dir. Werner Herzog – Opening Sc .:.

aguirre

This movie is more known more for its’ cinematography and storytelling aspects: not sound.  After re-watching it, I got a better perspective on the soundtrack (I don’t mean just the music).  The opening scene caught my attention sonically.  Particularly the transition from the 1st scene to the next.

The opening scene is slow-paced, filled with beautiful wide shots of the Spanish conquistadors walking through rocky terrain.  There are only two things you hear during this scene: ominous music and a brief exposition voice-over.  The scene is about 5min in length.  A lot of detail was left out in this scene: foley and various background sounds.  Werner’s intention, in my opinion, was to romanticize the opening scenery and then pull a 180 by using sound as a transition into the film’s theme anarchy (and into the next scene).

The music drops out at the transition into the next scene.  You hear an, almost surreal sounding, explosion of a cannon as it collapses into a river.  Almost sounding like a lightning bolt.  This is the point of attack that wakes the audience from their stupor.  I noticed a variety of details (birds, dialogue, hogs, water flowing, and foley) were now present after the cannon explosion.  It went from a gentle dream state to a busy sounding “real life.”

The majority of movies have opening credits sequence (music montage) but do not use it as effectively as Herzog does in this movie.  Most movies it’s just assumed that there will be an unimportant, story wise, opening title sequence (union rules dictate the need for credits to be listed).  This shows that subtle choices in sound can have an effect on the story and audience as well.

The whole movie is on youtube now.  Watch and listen to the opening scene.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vyx8mVp8p2o

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Selective Sound – LOTR: The Two Towers/The Dark Knight

Posted in Movies on April 11, 2009 by conorsound

– LOTR: The Two Towers/The Dark Knight –

Selective Editing and Mixing

This is discussed in the extended dvds (LOTR) I believe.  It’s an effective technique that numerous movies use.  The two that come to mind for me is LOTR: The Two Towers and The Dark Knight. Both happen to have won an Oscar for Best Sound Editing.  Both movies have a scene that drops out the majority of the audio for a short moment before a big impact: LOTR right when the orc sacrifices his body to ignite the bomb in the helms deep battle scene and the truck flip over in Dark Knight.

Nowadays with DAWs (digital audio workstations), you have unlimited tracks to work with.  You can add as many layers of sound effects as you want.  Most times its best not overwhelm the audience’s hears.  That’s why I think this technique is effective especially in these movies.  Both movies have numerous long action sequences overpowered with music and layers of sound effects.  The respective sound editors and re-recording mixers knew this.  They decided to drop the majority of audio not only to give our ears a break, but to make the impact (of the explosion or truck falling) that much “bigger.”  Our ears can only handle so much. In the Two Towers, you just hear the foosteps and the growl of the orc before the explosion even though there are tens of thousands of orcs and humans fighting in the environment.

Here are both audio clips:

Dark Knight Clip

LOTR: The Two Towers Clip


Sound Seminar: DC 210

Posted in Reading material on April 6, 2009 by conorsound

Word document download:

Sound Seminar Handout

Audio Clips:

Clipped audio file

Clean audio file

Distortion Visual Representation

distortion-waveform3

Numerous angles of audio inputs for a JVC and DVX