Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Power of sound in Videojournalism, film, flash

Theatre of the mind- Lord Byron Lee's amazing audio show, at the bottom of post

How powerful is sound in video journalism, film, or news?

It's everything.

There's a point in the pleasure of watching a movie, a VJ film, a news item, when the sound becomes mute, imperceptible.

It becomes the vehicle to carry the visuals and vice versa. They're in synch in a more aesthetic manner than applied to the film term.

And its amazing how a slight change in the scale can alter the film's meaning.

The most powerful sound of all is nothing. Now there's a Wittgenstein moment.

W, is purported to have given a lecture by simply sitting down and saying nothing for an hour.

The power of nothing is such that at the right point, white space can be piercingly deafening.

By instinct it's so loud that most people can't stand it.

Politicians and public body speakers loathe it, which is why politicians prefer to be interviewed by professionals than Joe and Josephine public.

Professional interviewees are taught to fill in the space, Josephine may have forgotten what she was going to ask and look blank and her interviewee. Seconds seem like hours. Very uncomfortable.

Conversely some interviewers are comfortable with dead space, prompting you to gabble on. Watch that at your next interview.

Can you teach the synergy of music and visuals?

Yep, but it's more an exercise in indulgence.

The figure who runs the music library, whose credit appears as "music researcher", has a vast knowledge of music: pop, jazz, world, rock, scores and the rest.

And that music prompts: " I see dead people". Or I see "Chariots of Fire".

It's such a gift, but the hard or pleasurable graft comes from watching a century's worth of film, collecting a vast knowledge of music, annotating the best scorers and being just plain curious; the prodigy in the genre being the one who can go onto sound scape.

That's when a bicycle bell, traffic, a dish washer cycle take on different meanings.

In Apocalypse Now, the fan takes on the sound of rotating blades. In Cloverfield tears in the video are accompanied by tear sounds. In the Matrix, the teutonic fight scenes are met with equally hyper beats-per-minute.

While music is eschewed in news, VJs can be taught to use natural sound to scape the piece, thus either upping the tempo of the feature or slowing it down.

And the tonal quality of the voice delivery can further up the drama; the voice box is the best instrument around and those soaring undulating vocal qualities from Arabic speaking states has in recent years become a firm favourite for film makers.

Of course some talent buck the trend. Tarantino's Resevoir Dogs is a fine example way back when: the ear cutting scene.

So how do you go about scoring? That's what I'll explore in more details in the next few days using New Nation Rising - an amazing classical meets rap meets Indian meets Gospel.

Meanwhile if you can, please enjoy this: theatre of the mind, from Lord Byron Lee - an emerging master of sound scaping. This audio piece brings theatre/cinema alive in the imagination.

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