Analyse examples of sound design in different genres and formats
When analysing the following scenes, I tried to primarily listen to the sounds other than the soundtrack. Though the soundtrack can be used to enhance a scene’s atmosphere – without the finer detail noises, the scene wouldn’t look realistic.
FILM: Hugo (2011)
In the begging of the scene we have music that seems to dominate the screen. But then as Hugo goes to place the key in the automaton the music begins to fade to silence to allow the sound of the working cogs of the automaton to take centre stage. There is a small beat of silence. Then as the cogs whirl to life, the music begins to increase in tempo – and volume – to help empathise the automaton coming to life. As if to give a subtle notice that this is a magical moment.
Then the music fades to silence, to allow the automaton’s gears in the arm and hand to take centre stage. And then all the sound that remains is the body gears moving (at a low level) – empathising that this a curtail moment, a hold your breath moment. And then the music returns with force as the automaton beings to write – to give the feeling of victory. But when the automaton does not show Hugo’s desired results. The music beings to change in rhythm, and volume, giving the feeling of disappointment. With the sounds of the working cogs still present, it helps the scene to lose its feeling of victory and wonder. And when the automation begins to stop – the music fades to silence, leaving the clockwork turning sounds. And finally when the cogs stop leaving only steam and silence – the feeling of disappointment, and emptiness, is present.
ANIMATION: Up (2009)
The scene starts with music, and the sound is merely in the background.
However when Russell is being suspended over the buildings, the music has stopped. This allows the sounds to take centre stage, and show that this is an important moment. One could suggest it’s to create a personification of Carl’s mind, as he thinks of his plan to lower Russell to the building but the results would be disastrous.
Once we return to the present the music comes back. But as Carl cuts the balloons, and Russell is explaining how lighting is made, the music begins to fade (as if supporting that Carl is walking away from the young boy, and shows that he is not listening.) After turning off his ear piece there is no sound except for Russell’s voice but at a muffled level. It’s not until the bang of thunder that Carl realises that something is wrong. As Carl notices the increase in the wind, the music begins to rise again (suggesting that Carl is starting to listen, and to set the idea that something big will happen.)
COMPUTER GAMES: Batman: Arkham Asylum (2010)
From the go the music and sound share centre stage. However it’s not until the doors to the evaluator open, and Croc gets out, that the music takes centre stage as it reaches climax. This is done to emphasises the level of danger to Killer Croc. As he sniffs the air the music briefly stops, then as he speaks to Batman the music comes back. But it has taken a slight step back, though it’s faintly heard in the background, as Croc’s physical actions does all the delivering. However as he leaves the music and sound effects share equal level, to give the feeling that the danger has passed. For now.