Cabinets, Bathrooms, and Sound
I have a friend who is a music major in college, and he’s really been interested in the people who work to make music possible. All of the people in charge of mastering, engineering, and mixing the sounds that make up what we hear every day, that’s what he wants to learn more about. He talks all the time about people like Bob Ludwig and Gavin Lurssen, who I had never heard of before. My friend pointed out to me that many people have a hand in the creation of many songs that I’ve heard, which really surprised me.
For someone to be able to produce music across different genres is truly astounding. I figured that someone in one genre would have trouble creating in another one, but the sound design experts have the talent to do it all. Bob Ludwig alone has more than 3,000 production credits because of this and won multiple Grammy Awards. I’m not sure how much of that particular talent is learned and how much comes natural from birth, but I know a great deal of work is needed to get to that level, and you definitely need to know about music theory and composition.
We were talking about sound creation, and he was saying how he ended up working with this cabinet and bathroom resurfacing company in Phoenix and they would refinish these bathtubs and then make percussion sounds in the tubs and record it! That’s so cool! That’s sound designing at it’s most fun – recording sounds out in your own environment.
A Breath of Fresh Air
There were a lot of great works produced that were worthy of winning at the Grammy Awards in 2017, but I was really glad to see the sound design awards go to the people who help produce David Bowie’s final album. That album was truly one of a kind and I don’t think anything else will be able to compare to it for a long time. It was the perfect send off by Bowie, and the production team really worked hard to pull it all together, making the album a seamless journey into serenity.
Bowie himself worked on the album, along with the likes of Joe LaPorta, Tony Visconti, Kevin Killen, and Tom Elmhirst. These people have received many award nominations and wins over the course of their career, so it’s no surprise that they would be able to knock it out of the park and win again for 2017. It wasn’t a walking in the park, as they were up against some stiff competition, but their work spoke for itself. For the rest of the year, these people will be busy producing more music for other artists, so I expect them to create more great hits that will top the charts. My friend owns an air duct cleaning company (www.alpineaircare.com) and he was one of those that cried when Bowie died. It meant a lot to him to see his “Hero” win that final Grammy. The album is amazing so I’m not surprised, but it just put the final punctuation on an amazing career. Thank you David Bowie, for everything.
Expressing More With Sound Design For Movies
Talkies revolutionized the film world for opening the floodgates to dialogue starting with the Jazz Singer. It added a layer of experience to film. As film speed became more natural, directors could enjoy timing of elements, such as actors delivering lines and the visual display.
Though, have you ever done a deconstruction of sound? The next time you watch a Harry Potter movie, for instance, mute it. Face it, you already know the story by heart, so you will lose nothing there. But now, you have lost the richness of the story.
What leads up to the major quidditch matches? How do you know that it is a do-or-die situation in the Prince of Azkiban? It is not just about capturing sounds of the film, but about painting the landscape of a movie with sounds that help imbue it with the right emotion at the right time. (more…)
How Sound Design For Movies Works
A great screenplay tugs at emotions and makes people “buy into” the story. Direction, acting skill, and an overall visual design bring the story in line with the intended vision. Yet, movies have another element that may take the scariest scene pregnant with anticipation and make it flop — the sound design.
Sound design is differentiated from sound editing in that it impacts the film’s tone and direction through the use of music and sound effects. A hinge creaking eerily at the right moment adds to the anticipation while wily and amusing circus theatric themes would intone it as a farce.
In other words, the sound design for movies imparts more of the emotion, by working with the present tone and style of the film to add another layer of effects all through sound. A sound editor, meanwhile, has the important duty of making sure the sound is balanced, equalized, and at the quality level needed to allow people to hear everything at relevant levels.
A great director will turn to the likes of Walter Murch, the first Sound Designer, to impart structure by way of sound. It is more than just adding in some music or sound effects. Instead, it has to do more with coloring the movie with sound.
The sound, it turns out can in fact color the whole film in a sense, making it take on a different tone and persona than if it were ignored or marginalized in importance.
And it doesn’t have to be a film either. We are in discussions with a company in Minnesota that does high end three-season porch windows and deck upgrades. They have a video that they’re working on that needs music and editing for their marketing.
Sure there can be great sound quality in a home theater for the purposes of watching movies, but it is not the same as having the artful painting of movies with sound. It needs to tie in with the rest of the movie and be integrated throughout. A great soundtrack on its own is just nice music. When it moves the movie almost as much as dialogue and good acting then it is effective sound design.
Sound Design For Movies Is Recognized At The Academy Awards
Sound design is one of those categories dealing with films that often gets overlooked, especially when it comes to awards. When you watch a good movie, what do you notice first? You’re thinking about the plot, the characters, the actors and actresses, the setting and more. Sound design likely doesn’t creep up into your thoughts as you contemplate movies, and people are generally only reminded about it when they watch the Academy Awards.
The Oscars always recognizes the best in sound design, and then people are given a front row seat to some of the best sound design and sound editing in films. You’ll also hear sound design and sound editing referred to as ‘sound mixing.’ Did you watch the Academy Awards this year? If so, you saw that the new Star Wars movie was one of the movies where the sound design team was nominated.
One trend you’ll notice is that the best movies when it comes to sound design are often action movies. Action movies give the people working on them a chance to use all kinds of different sounds, especially loud sounds. Can you imagine what a movie like that would be if the sound mixing wasn’t done correctly? (more…)
Sound Design For Movies Is As Important As Anything
Believe it or not, it’s been said that sound comprises more than 80 percent of the impact of a viewing experience for the average movie audience. The math doesn’t add up, but the exaggerated saying is made on purpose to illustrate just how important the sound design truly is. As a visual medium, of course whatever is actually going on in each shot is important, but it will always fall flat if there isn’t an amazing score and effective array of sound design work laid on top to accent everything to perfection.
Movies are all about immersion. The viewer needs to be as close to believing that what they’re seeing is real as they possibly can, despite knowing in the back of their head that it’s obviously all “make believe.” Good sound design helps do exactly that, and it often becomes just as iconic as any special effect or prop.
Take the popular world of Star Wars for an example. (more…)
Why You Want To Work On Sound Design For Movies
If you enjoy movies and the sound used in them, you might be interested in a career in sound design for movies. This can be a great job for people who enjoy this type of work. Their main job would be in charge of developing the sounds you hear when you watch a movie or a television show.
The interesting part of the job will be to find different things to make sounds out of. You will need to come up with the right sound for the right part of the movie. It will be more complicated then you think that it is and that is something to keep in mind.
If you are wanting to learn more about sound design for movies, find someone who has worked in this type of job and see what they have to say about it. This can give you the best idea of what the job is like and what it takes to get into it. This type of job isn’t for everyone but it can be a great career for those that like sound and know how to use it.
You could also start to pay attention to the sounds that you hear in the movies that you are watching. That way, you can start to train your ear to hear what you would need to create. Watching what others have done will really help you figure things out.
After you have decided if this is the type of career for you, make some plans to get started with it. Just talking about the job won’t get you anywhere. You need to put yourself out there and start applying to jobs that will help you eventually get to where you want to be.
Sound Designers Unite!
Hey there! CJ with my new blog about sound design. I have friends who have no idea what I do for a living. I can explain all day long, but sometimes it’s easier to write. Plus I kind of like teaching, and this is a form of education.
I feel like us sound designers don’t get enough love. Movie and video game sound is taken for granted a bit. Plus it’s tough to get credit when the movie credits roll by at 100 mph LOL! Hey stay tuned and I will be posting content real soon!