Class Workshop on Sound Design for Image

  • Presentation


    The objectives of sound design for image:

    1. Sound Theory for Film -- Sound and Image in audiovisual media are not divisible. While a harmony between these two senses may exist, its conventions are subject to manipulation and subversion by sound design. This course tracks the technological and aesthetic history of sound for film, grounding students in its theoretical framework.
    2. Production Sound -- Students are expected to gain both theoretical and practical exposure to recording sound in production.  Particularly in preparation for the second semester course that follows this one, basic techniques and practice are covered in this class.
    3. Music / Design Theory -- Basic music theory is fundamental to intelligent sound design, especially when using tonal relationships to develop moods, and establishing sonic rhythms.  
    4. Software Facility -- though software will be covered in other classes, it is imperative that students work in sound editing software in all design classes. 
  • Code


  • Syllabus


    Sound Theory for Film

    • Psychoacoustics
      • Physics of sound, hearing mechanism, brain interaction
    • Aesthetic History
      • Silent era, to Edison to the Wagnerian aesthetic, dialogue, popular music in film, modern foleys and sound effects, development of ambiences, the modern design/edit
    • Technological History
      • Tracing sound from the wax cylinder to Dolby 7.1 and Atmos
    • Phenomenology
      • Compairing two films, looking at the use of sound metaphor to create phenomenological experiences for viewers
    • Modern Theories
      • Structural semiotics, diegesis, rhetorical relationship between the said and shown

    Production Sound

    • Microphones
      • transducers, pick-up patterns, power requirements for wired and radio mics
    • Booming 
      • practice in various setups

    Music Theory

    • Basic Theory
      • scales, tones, rhythmic notation, intervals, melody, harmony, dissonance, consonance, circle of fifths


    • Instruction and practice with ProTools midi and editing for all sound assignments 
  • Objectives


    1. Theory - Students learn the fundamental cinematic language of sound and its technological evolution. They will understand the psychoacoustic qualities and effects of sound, from sound physics to auditory processing, and emotional ramifications.  Student will become able to critically analyze films with attention to sound and narrative.  Students will debate aesthetic issues and access film sound theory as it relates to semiotics and diegesis, with a focus on film sound as a phenomenological expression.  In addition to these historical and theoretical underpinnings, students will learn about the professional environment and employment positions in sound departments.
    2. Production Sound - Students learn and practice the basics of recording sound on location in preparation for their second semester class.
    3. Music Theory - Students learn the basics of pitch, scales, modes, rhythm, intervals, harmony and dissonance.
    4. Software - students have additional practice in ProTools for this class.
  • Teaching methodologies and assessment

    Teaching methodologies and assessment

    This course is a constant dialogue, a narrative where theories of film sound are articulated with examples in the theater/classroom and constantly open for class discussion. The surround sound studio is an innovative environment for such engagement, and provides a place of reflection and ear training through critical listening-viewing. Each week is articulated with readings. When students write their papers and present their finding, they are forced to articulate the theory learned and engage with their peers.

  • References


    BECK, Jay (2008), Lowering the Boom: Critical Studies in Film Sound, University of Illinois Press.

    CHION, Michel (1994),  AudioVision, New York, Columbia University Press.

    CHION, Michel (1998), The Voice in Cinema New York, Columbia University Press.

    CHION, Michel (2009), Film: A Sound Art. Columbia University Press.

    COOK, Nicholas (1998), Analysing Musical Multimedia, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

    FISCHER, Lucy (1977), Enthusiasm: From Kino-Eye to Radio-Eye. Film Quart, Vol. 31 No. 2, Winter, 1977-1978;

    HUBER, David M., RUNSTEIN, Robert E. (2005), Modern Recording Techniques, Oxford, Focal Press-Elsevier.

    KERNER, Marvin M (2009),The Art of the Sound Effects Editor , Boston, Focal Press

    SONNENSCHEIN, David (2001), Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice, and Sound Effects in Cinema, Studio City, Michael Wiese Productions..

    WEIS, Elisabeth (1985), Film Sound: Theory and Practice, New York, Columbia University Press.

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