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Production and the Creative Spirit

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Posted by Patricia Zimmermann at 4:37PM   |  76 comments
Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival

Blog written by Ann Michel and Phil Wilde, coprincipals, Insights International

A field production story


Back in the days before digital file recordings, back before camcorders, your field recording equipment consisted of a 20 pound video deck separated from a 10 pound video camera by a long thick cable. 

The mics were plugged directly into the deck.   Usually one had the luxury of working with a sound man (and in those days, alas,  they were mostly men) to monitor and run the sound side of the shoot. The camera operator stood apart, focusing on the picture.   


Our Big Problem


This arrangement works very well. Until the day someone neglects to attach the camera to the recording deck.   


When this happened to us, our once-in-a-lifetime interview with two famous glass sculptors speaking to each other for the first and only time ever consisted only of sound. 

Very good, clean, properly mic-ed sound, but no picture. Now what?


Our Solution


Fortunately, the two glass artists had plenty of artwork we could shoot after they left town.


In the finished show, we shot their sculptural works. We then cut back and forth, as if the sculptures were having a conversation. 

In this way, they "spoke" to each other quite well. 

Sound had saved the day.


A sound track can definitely save a film. After all the sound track is essentially the back bone of the production. The sound track is simply a ventriloquist that convinces the audience the images are talking. I remember i had filmed my dads wedding and i was all excited a had a new external mic. My cousin forgot to turn it on so i have a wedding with no sound. The question is if i pick the right songs will it save the video?

A sound track can definitely save a film. After all the sound track is essentially the back bone of the production. The sound track is simply a ventriloquist that convinces the audience the images are talking. I remember i had filmed my dads wedding and i was all excited a had a new external mic. My cousin forgot to turn it on so i have a wedding with no sound. The question is if i pick the right songs will it save the video?

Clearly sound can save a film. Not only did the example cited prove this, but a good soundtrack can enhance a film; it can draw the spectator deeper into the experience or communicate a message. This can be especially helpful when a film is poorly executed. However, soundtracks can also ruin a film. If the sound isn't synced properly it can distract the spectator and ultimately distort the message or emotion the creator was trying to convey. So I believe the question isn't whether or not sound can save a film, but where the balance between sound saving and destroying a film lies.

Whenever somebody tries to tell me the importance of sound over video or video over sound I just want to ask them the question, "Would you rather be deaf or would you rather be blind?" Like in the above situation. Was it the soundtrack that saved the day? Was it the last-minute images of the artists' sculptures to speak for the artists that saved the day? Or perhaps was it how both elements worked together and complimented each other? Both elements are equally important and it is how the two interact that makes all the difference.

For example, "The Graduate" immediately comes to mind. Simon and Garfunkel could be added to any film, but it was perfection with "The Graduate," and because the two are so perfect together, every time I watch the movie I love the songs more and every time I hear the songs I love the movie more, which is exactly how both elements should interact. Neither should dominate nor save the other, but they should sync together in perfect harmony.

Arguably, there's no such thing as an inherently bad soundtrack or an inherently bad video. Woody Allen took the video of a Japanese film and added a whole new audio track to make a whole new movie about the World's Greatest Egg Salad. That movie is now more famous than its predecessor. As well, people take songs and make music videos out of them everyday. The greatest skill in directing is more like chemistry in that it's not about sight or sound, but how they react when mixed together.

I love Alex D's observation: "the sound track is simply a ventriloquist that convinces the audience the images are talking". All of filmmaking is indeed illusion, and most movies still overdub the dialogue after the fact. And music videos w their ubiquitous lip-syncing have taken this to new levels.

What are some other examples of this sort of ventriloquism in action? (besides Karaoke...)

I do believe that the sound and soundtrack of a film are extremely important. However, images projected onto the screen are equally as crucial. What would a film or short be without images? it would just be an audio. The two together is what creates an actually movie. In every film class i've taken thus far, my teachers have emphasized the importance of audio. The soundtrack of a film moves along the narrative as well as the images; it emphasizes essential moments and it sets a tone. I do think that a soundtrack can save a production. A most recent example would be the short film "scorpio rising." Yes, there were strong images through out the short but what made the film for me was its classic rock soundtrack juxtaposed with the images projected onto the screen. In this specific instance with the sculptures I also believe audio saved the day in the end. However, aren't there many instances where the images are more striking than the soundtrack or dialogue? In Barnett's movie "Killer of Sheep" the lighting and images were much more interesting than the actual sound. In fact, the sound took a back seat to almost everything else in the movie and it still won awards from various film festivals. So doesn't that mean images can save a production in the end as well?

In my opinion, sound can undoubtedly save a production. Although video can exist without sound, demonstrated in silent films; why should it? Today it is clear that sound enhances the images displayed on screen. In some cases a soundtrack adds vivacity to what the audience sees, while at other times it is used to juxtapose the images to create a new underlying message. In Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," the infamous shower scene is heightened by the non-diegetic sound. Without the music, the scene still would have been terrifying, but it probably wouldn't have left the impact it has on cinematic history. Thus, instead of asking about what is more essential to a film, sound or image, call me greedy but I think a film needs both. There is a reason silent films lacking audio and dramatic radio shows lacking images, no longer pervade the airwaves; we are past it.

I definitely agree sound can save a film, it also can change the way you interpret one. After seeing scorpio rising I realized what the sound track can really provide. I was having slight trouble analyzing the film but the music provided helped me understand many of the films contradictions with the songs they played. It also was nice to hear the 50s pop music along with the controversial images. It helped the films point come out more clearly and i enjoyed the experimental film.

It seems to me that through the example talked about in the blog post, that it wasn't sound that saved the production, but a new set of pictures. Don't get me wrong, I believe that sound can be essential to a production, and that it many and most cases it can be the most important part of a film and can "save it." However, I don't believe that will always be the case. You could have the most brilliant soundtrack or sound in the world, and if you put horrible pictures and images with it, no one will care. While I believe that sound is an important part of a production, and can be a big part of making the production great, I think that if you work in the cinema field, you need a good combination of image and sound. You can't just do one without the other, unless you do so for a greater purpose, such as in an experimental film. Even then, there needs to be a good reason for a lack of good image and/or sound.

In the cited example above, it was a creative use of image with the pre-existing sound that made the production a success. If sound had truely completely saved the production, wouldn't it have just been fine to leave the screen black and just simply listen to the interview?

The beautiful thing about film and productions, are that there is never one component that makes or breaks them. Unlike any other art form, film is a composition of many different elements including images, sound, music, editing, and much more. To say that a soundtrack can save a production is unreasonable. Sound is an important element, diegetic and extra-diegetic, and essential to the films functioning; however, if we just had a soundtrack and no images, wouldn't we just be listening to music? On the same token, when have we ever sat and just watched a production with no sound? If there is no sound, isn't there still silence? We rely on many senses while watching a film and are provoked to experience many different emotions from all the different elements. Film as a collection of moving images, without images there will be no production. Sound is essential to a film's success but to say that it can save a production is false because it is only one small part in the grand scheme of the production.

Can a sound track save a production? Sure, especially if you trying to get an interview. In an interview, the image isn't the important part of the film. What is really important is the message that they are trying to give and that is done strictly with audio. If, for instance, you only had the image during the interview process. You wouldn't have much to work with to get a message to your audience. You would be forced to get that person into the studio for a re-dub (which would never happen if the interviewee isn't a trained actor) or you would have to reshoot.

Still there are situations where the image is more important. Such as strong visuals in horror. Without that close-up on the knife and the low key lighting, the soundtrack could mean so many different things. You can't know what is exactly going on at that moment with just the extra-deigetic sound. However, I would agree that diegetic sound will give the viewer a better sense of what is going on but not everyone would see the same thing. People will get a different sense of what is going on. That is why in the old radio serials, actors would have to announce what they just did in the dialogue, to unite the viewers with a common understanding with what is going on. Even in Silent films, they would have to create title cards, to show what the actors were saying. One could get an idea of what is going on but to unite everything to a common idea, they reinforced it with text.

Film is about communicating and giving a message to its audience. The best way that film does this is with an image and sound. Together they have us use two of our most dependent senses: Sight and Sound. Together they work to give us an illusion of reality. Which appeals to the largest audience film can ever reach.

A soundtrack can in fact save a production, and in some cases make a production. I remember watching old Tom & Jerry cartoons, which when muted, don't have nearly the same effect. The non-diegetic music accompanied by the cartoon images created the emotions and pulled the viewer into the narrative. Without sound, the full effect is lost and the viewer is not as engaged.

I recently read about a film by Derek Jarman, who had lost his eyesight due to illness, in which the only image is a blue screen. The soundtrack consists of a complex mix of music, effects, and voices reading diaries and dramatic passages. In his film "Blue" (1993), the soundtrack was in fact the production. This, for me, emphasizes the power of a soundtrack in todays film industry.

With the sound, you were able to creatively use the sculptures to speak in the stead of the sculptors. If you had lost the sound, and kept the video, the production would have been ruined. In an interview the sound is the most crucial element because it is difficult to reduplicate unless your subjects are easily accessible. In this case, the soundtrack saved the production, but I believe that the soundtrack, across the board, can have the same saving effect for all productions.

I think that sound is an extremely powerful tool that is often overlooked in cinema because we tend to focus so heavily on the visual image. I'm not sure I like the phrasing "Can a soundtrack save a production" but I definitely think it can make or break a film. I don't think if you have a terrible film you can just have Hans Zimmerman make a great score and all of the sudden you have a successful film. So in that respect I wouldn't say it could save a film. However, the difference between an O.K. movie and an amazing film can be the soundtrack.

To some extent, the soundtrack of a production can do a lot to improve the overall quality thereof. A well-chosen musical selection or a carefully designed audio effect can definitely save an otherwise doomed scene, but it can by no means do the same for an entire production. Let me highlight one of the most successful films of all time to illustrate this point: Star Wars Episode IV. This sci-fi box office smash is acclaimed as having one of the best-composed scores to date. However, John Williams' amazing symphonic creations are by no means the best part of the film; the epic storyline, deep character foils, and groundbreaking visual effects are what have truly created legions of die-hard fans, as well as a mass-marketing empire for George Lucas. In this sense, a soundtrack can not in fact save an entire movie, but it is definitely a welcome addition to the makeup of a film.

Without a doubt the soundtrack of a film can make or break the production. Sound is one of the most difficult aspects of film to master properly but in doing so the quality of the product increases considerably. Understanding how to manipulate visual images to coexist with sound and music is absolutely vital to the creation of a quality film. I can think of two prime examples which were both Academy Award Winners:

Slumdog Millionaire which utilized an absolutely brilliant soundtrack by an Indian composer to create a feeling of authenticity and to perfectly underscore important moments in the film. Music is constantly showing up and fighting with the images for control of the audience's attention but it works because it imparts this sense of immediacy that pushes the plot along. Especially in the scenes actually taking place in the slum, the overcrowding of auditory and visual output further enhances the idea of the slums as overcrowded and loud.

Also, No Country for Old Men which went the exact opposite route with almost no music in the entire production. This imparted the exact opposite effect of making every scene appear more cold and desolate which fit in perfectly with desolate setting of the film. This of course only worked well because of excellent sound design in other areas which made every single gust of wind send shivers down one's spine.

However, I think this post is touching on something other than just the importance of sound: the importance of accidents to the artistic process. It sounds to me like the film that was eventually created would be much more interesting to watch because of the use of the sculptor's works to signify them. It made me think of the film, Breathless, which I viewed over a year ago. With that film, Jean-Luc Godard was forced to cut 30 minutes of screen time in order to make it commercially viable. Instead of cutting scenes, he cut within scenes, thereby inventing the jump cut. This ended up creating a likely much more visually striking and important film than if he had left it at its original 2 hour runtime. The innovation caused by constraints and or accidents can be truly instrumental in creating a unique work of art.

I believe that a soundtrack can both save and ruin a film. For example, in 4Vertigo by Les LeVeque, the sound that accompanies the images makes viewing the film become more uneasy. When watching the film, I believe that the sound played a huge role in creating a sense of vertigo, along with the images being projected on screen. However, a soundtrack to a film that includes "Mickey Mousing" can ruin a film. According to scholars, this type of sound can make a film seem amateurish. Therefore, a soundtrack to a film can both save or ruin a film.

In response to the comment above:

Soundtrack is not just the music! The 'soundtrack' refers to ALL recorded sound in the film!

I read a book over the summer, titled "Shut Up and Shoot!". It was a guide on how to shoot a documentary. One of the chapters of the book discussed the importance of sound. The author, Anthony Q. Artis, even went far enough to say that sound was MORE important than the video.

If you record bad audio, it's hard to make it sound good. You cannot change a low quality recording and make it sound like a high quality recording. If you make a mistake in sound, it is difficult to fix.

If you make a mistake in video, you can always film more footage. You can use effects to cover up mistakes, or place B-roll footage over the first layer. Video mistakes are noticeable, but audio mistakes can make a person queasy!

It'd be great if someone here can agree (or disagree) with my comment; while I love video, I have to agree that audio is just as important [if not more important] than your video.

The question of whether or not a soundtrack can save a production is a tricky one to answer; in this case, it seems that, indeed, it can. However, I also believe the case brought up by Michel and Wilde is a unique one, in that they were lucky enough to have an ulterior set of footage to use — in the case of fictional cinema, this often is not the case. And even in this one, I would find myself — as a member of the audience — wondering: "where are these glass sculptors, anyway?"

I believe the important thing to understand about cinema is that it is an interweaving of components; audio, visual and conceptual elements all combine to create a film, and if any of these three are lacking in some way, the film suffers. Poor audio disrupts our ability to focus on the cinematography and images; poor camerawork or editing destroys the illusion of the world within the film; and a poor story, characters, or other concepts makes the entire experience feel hollow and meaningless (we need only look at James Cameron's Avatar or Transformers to see this exemplified). So, the answer: yes, a soundtrack can save a production. But it shouldn't have to be the only good thing about it.

In this case, the soundtrack certainly saved the production. It would've been much worse if it were the sound they were lacking instead of the picture. It was an interview, after all.
I think this story is a good way to point out that the soundtrack is a very important element of a film; one that many people often forget. Sound has the power to enhance the image, to make you feel dread or happiness or mystery, to understand the inflections in an actor's voice. Sound has power: if a sound is made off screen, all a viewer can think about is: where did that sound come from? What is producing it? In a classical hollywood style film, sound would be used seamlessly to enhance the story without drawing direct attention to itself. When executed well, it can be the difference between making your heart feel like it's going to explode when the killer jumps out, or you laughing at the main character because she is so afraid of something so boring. It is just one element in the vast network of creative aspects in a film that can be used to enhance the film greatly.

In cinema one class today, with Professor Neal Dhand, we were discussing the importance of sound. During this discussion, one quote really popped out and made me understand sound even more.

"At first, image-without-sound and sound-without-image would seem to be complementary and symmetrical situations. In fact, however, two considerations make these configurations quite diffferent. First, an image without a sound differs from a sound without an image in that the former is a perfectly common situation in nature (a person standing quietly), while the latter is an impossibility (sounds are always produced by something imaginable). Thus the completion of the former paradigm depends on the object within the image (the person may choose to say something), while the completion of the latter depends on the auditor ( who must look around and find the source of the sound). Images call for no action on the part of the auditor. Or, to put it as Bresson has been reported to say, " A sound always evokes an image; an image never evokes a sound," (Altman, pg. 73).

During the lecture, Professor Dhand, went on to say that sound isn't redundant. Many would assume that the image comes first and then you see the sound. However, as Altman states, when presented with an image without sound, you just get an image BUT with just a sound you get sound and an "imagined" image. Your brain goes to fill in what that sound is and so you can "see" what is going on. It is the goal of film is to find where the sound is coming from within the image. Therefore sound must come first and an image can confirm to us what is going on.

I really found this interesting in class and thought it was fit to be placed into this blog.


"Moving Lips: Cinema as Ventriloquism" by Rick Altman, Cinema/Sound. Yale French Studies, No. 60, cinema/sound (1980).

I also agree the soundtracks can save film. I feel that soundtracks give off a certain tone that was conveyed in the film that most other sounds picked up in the film could not convey. I agree with Jonathan Wilbur that cinema is composed of intertwining components. Images, sounds, and conceptual elements all create what we call a film. However, I feel that depending on a film, one of the three components can have greater effect than the others. In this case, the soundtrack did save the day, however, movies such as Scorpio Rising, where the images and cinematography are so important, I don't think that sound would have saved the day.

In many films, you can remove the music entirely and it would still function as a film. Perhaps the emotional merit of the plot as well as the overall level of entertainment would be absent, but you would still be able to watch it in its entirety. However, let's think about films that thrive on its soundtrack; the films that otherwise would essentially be devoid of content had it lacked a soundtrack. Though this example may not be familiar to most, Dostana, which is a popular Bollywood film, literally needs its soundtrack to exist. The film is a conglomeration of dialogue and spoken acting as well as music videos, as traditional Bollywood style requires. In this type of cinematic culture, music is detrimental to not only comply with the audience, but with the plot as well.

I think that a soundtrack can make a production better, but it in no way can save a production. Sure it can solve a situation if there happens to be a filming problem but once it is in the viewing process a bad movie will still be a bad movie. In the movie Kick-Ass, the soundtrack is very well constructed to enforce the emotions and it overall enhances the movie. But in a terrible movie the sound, as amazing as it may be, will only be able to do so much. An awful film will still be awful. Yes audio is important, but that is only one part of filming, the others being video and lighting. A good film uses all three of these aspects to make a good video. so i once again say, a soundtrack can only enhance a movie, it can not make a box office smash hit.

Can a soundtrack save a production? No. A well done soundtrack can, as stated before, greatly enhance the features of a film. However, taking the given example, the audio plays off of the shots of the sculptures. Without the video the sound recording would be simply that, a recording of an interview. The sound combined with the ingenuity of the creators to record new video is what saved the production, not the soundtrack alone.
This does raise another idea about a production; what happens if the sound is the dominating feature of the production? Does it lose value as a film and become more an audio production?

I think sound can save a film. By simply adding music to a film it enhances it. Certain cords from a piano traditionally are played with certain types of images to invoke certain types of feelings. For instance, a happy cord would go along with a happy scene. Many directors like Hitchcock knew how important sound was to a film. Adding music or any sound to a scene can definitely help move a plot along in a movie.

I believe that a soundtrack can definitely add to a film, or make an otherwise dull film more interesting. However, I don't think that an already failing film can be saved simply by a soundtrack. I also would use the example to show how proper editing and creativity in creating a different type of "conversation" within the picture saved the film, not the sound itself.

It is true that, without the sound in the example, the film would have been completely ruined. However, it is difficult to apply this concept to films in general. Even though soundtracks definitely draw in the viewer, and can connect them on a subconscious level with the images they are seeing; they sometimes distort the message the director was trying to achieve. I don't believe that one aspect can save an entire film, simply because film itself is a cohesive medium in which many different aspects are used. A soundtrack cannot ruin a film, but it can enhance one and, if used incorrectly, ruin one.

I don't think sound can save a film, however I do think it can greatly enhance it. There is a reason films didn't stay silent. For instance in "Singin' in the Rain," because the introduction of sound in "The Jazz Singer," Monumental Pictures was forced to incorporate sound into their movies. The studio was very reluctant to do so because they had had such great success with their silent pictures but the huge success of "The Jazz Singer" forced them to make the change. From this example we can see that a soundtrack is something that enhances films, not saves them.

I agree that a soundtrack can enhance a film. Whatever the soundtrack is, in most cases it will help move an audience. When certain music is played with certain images it can make an audience feel something extraordinary. I recently watched an imovie a friend made of videos and pictures from our senior year of high school. The soundtrack was very moving, mellow songs and it really made me miss my friends! so mission accomplished.

I think a soundtrack definitely saves a production. Sound is supposed to draw emotions and thoughts from you. It plays with the visual aspects of your mind. In some cases, the strongest visual shots are without sound at all, but in order to have that impact, you need soundtrack!

Film is mainly thought of as a visual medium. But the importance of sound should never be overlooked. The sound of a film is an extremely important tool in creating the mood and overall feel of a scene. Think about films in the classical Hollywood style of filmmaking, where the extra diegetic sound basically crams whatever the viewer should be feeling down their throat. For instance, it would be pretty ridiculous if the famous theme music from the movie "Jaws," which created a sense of fear and anxiety in the viewer was replaced with the instrumental of "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves

Excuse the pun, but sound is so instrumental in the making of a film, even in silent films live pianos and organs were played alongside the images on screen to help convey what the audience should be feeling.

Sounds and images must work together in filmmaking I'm not so sure one can "save" the other, in the example in the blog post they made it work because they found images of the artists work, if they had just compiled some random images not at all relating to the interview it just wouldn't have worked at all.

I think sound can certainly enhance a film, but save it completely? Probably not. The example with the sculptures is a cute story, and the sound was definitely used in a creative way given the circumstances, but when dealing with full length feature films a soundtrack can not be completely reliable.

This works in both directions, however. A fantastic visual film with a lousy sound bores the viewer, it doesn't extract certain emotions that one would get with a strong soundtrack.

Sound has a lot of power and influence over a film. The score acts as an accompanist to the film. It lies underneath but subtly dictates the emotions and perceptions. The example provided clearly shows how the soundtrack physically saved the piece but on a more artistic level, a great score can really enhance a film.

"Scorpio Rising", by Kenneth Anger, provides it's viewers with a certain nostalgia due to it's fifties jukebox tunes. Phill Niblock's "Working" utilizes atonal cello to exploit the monotony of manual labor, but if the film had been re-scored by one of Disney's early studio composers, it could've come off like steamboat willie.

While a score enhances a film, I also think a terrible score will hinder it. I was recently watching an episode of "Covert Affairs" on the USA network and watched a high speed chase scene with minimal scoring and after about the third jump cut and explosion I was bored stiff from the disjunction between what I heard and what I saw. That being said I think the marriage between sound and film must have a solid relationship in order for them to work for each other.

In the situation mentioned, the mistake actually created a unique interview situation, and engaged the viewer far more than a typical interview would. In an interview, obviously, the sound is the most important thing, because we care about what these people are saying.

However, in a film involving extra-diegetic music, the sound is just as important, as it can evoke different moods. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a perfect example of this. The sequence of the ship docking into a space station is set to The Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss, letting the viewer assume that there as an elegance to the docking, much like dancing. Now imagine that sequence set to the soundtrack of Ridley Scott's Alien; the atmospheric soundtrack would give the viewer a more realistic view of space.

In two films dealing with similar setting, they have completely different feelings associated with them. Sound can play with the emotions of the viewer, 2001 giving us a elegant, happy feeling, and Alien giving us a realistic, scared feeling. Depending on how sound is used, it can give us different feelings for similar situations.

Going off of what Cory said, this mistake is what made the interview interesting. The video of the two men talking would have been interesting, but what these men are known for is their artwork and that is what the viewer got to see. The video of these men was not the most critical facet of the film, the audio was. The words that these two men spoke to each other was what truly mattered.

But, in a piece of narrative cinema the audio and video are equally as important. Take the film Singin' In the Rain for example. This film is known for its amazing music and dance sequences. These two elements are completely dependent upon each other. Neither element could stand alone. The wonderful combination of the two is what made this film a success.

Going off of what Cory said, this mistake is what made the interview interesting. The video of the two men talking would have been interesting, but what these men are known for is their artwork and that is what the viewer got to see. The video of these men was not the most critical facet of the film, the audio was. The words that these two men spoke to each other was what truly mattered.

But, in a piece of narrative cinema the audio and video are equally as important. Take the film Singin' In the Rain for example. This film is known for its amazing music and dance sequences. These two elements are completely dependent upon each other. Neither element could stand alone. The wonderful combination of the two is what made this film a success.

Sound is clearly an incredibly important aspect of a film. Sound can make a film dramatically more exciting or interesting, but at the same time can make a film dramatically more cliched. It is important to not that in the situation posed in the blog post the only sound mentioned was the interviewees' voices. A film's soundtrack is not only the diegetic voices but also the music (both diegetic and extra-diegetic), the sound effects, and asynchronous sounds or mickey-mousing that can be used to convey meaning.

Sound entered cinema early in it's history and was quickly implemented in all cinema production, notable different from what happened when technicolor became available. Sound has stayed in the movies for all this time because it can add something very valuable to films. For example, movie musicals such as My Fair Lady and Singin' in the Rain would have never come about if it weren't for the use of sound in cinema. More experimental works such as La Jetee would not work if it weren't for the voice over narration. Sound can also make or break a film since it directly affects the viewer's perception of an actor or actresses' performance.

In the case mentioned above, the fact that there were no visuals obviously would have made for a strange fact, it probably wouldn't have been classified as a film at all. Sound can, indeed, make or break a production. But at the same time, so can the visuals. I think we register sound at a more subconscious level sometimes, so we often don't think about it, but it has so much to do with the emotions and situations portrayed in the movies. In the experimental film Le Jetee, the use of sound is mostly narration. But in certain situations the narration ceases and we hear unintelligible whispers. The effect of those combined with the almost disturbing images of the man with a mask over his eyes made me feel uneasy. I don't think that if I had just been listening to the whispers or seeing the man if I would have had the same reaction. To me, it is the combining of the two elements that make or break a film.

Sound will always be able to "save a film." But sometimes it not needed at all. In this case, of course, sound was entirely necessary. How else could an interview be done (other than writing)? I think it's actually very cool that the footage was lost. The idea of the artwork talking to each other makes the film seem so much more interesting and cool.
But like I said before, sound is not always needed. Sometimes all you need to save a film is the actual footage. Think back to silent films. Even some of the ones without music are incredible.
Sound and visuals works together very nicely though. I'm sure if you asked a hundred people if they preferred a movie that was only sound (I guess that wouldn't be a movie but you get the point), only visuals, or both, they would almost all answer both.

I think that people often forget how sound is in a film. We don't realize how much sound penetrates our lives because we are always so focused on the visual, but sound is how we communicate, enjoy music, and even half of how we watch a movie.

The limitation of not having the video appears to have led you to create a wonderful scene in a film that would not have been thought of otherwise. The artwork gave the viewers the visual satisfaction, but did it simply enough so that the sound probably stood out even more. The viewers were probably more attentive to it then, and picked up things they wouldn't have if they had been so focused on the original video that went with it. So, you lost some, you gained some.

Sound can definitely save a production, especially in documentaries where interviews are conducted, or in narrative-driven films. Obviously, films like these couldn't exist without sound, or at least they would not make sense or the message(s) could get misconstrued without a soundtrack. For example, "La Jetee," might be understood completely differently if it were not for the constant narrative in sync with the photographs. Though it would be nice to think that our minds are advanced enough to follow a story like in "La Jetee" without the soundtrack narrative, and just through the images alone, I don't know how I would have understood it without the soundtrack--especially when it was hard enough to understand with the narrative! "La Jetee" is so narrative driven, that is was vital to have a soundtrack in order to understand the montage of images logically.

What strikes me as amazing is that your finished product may even be better then what you had intentionally planed on. Do you think that providing the image of these two artists would have had the same effect as the images of their works? What matters more in this case? the men themselves or their art representing them? I think that your film now has more influence on the viewer in terms of what message you are trying to get across.

It's difficult to deny that the soundtrack of a film greatly enhances it's appeal and how it is perceived as a whole. Has anybody ever heard a truly silent film? Even before the establishment of sound in films, musicians would play along with the showing of a "silent film" thus providing a soundtrack for the film.

How would our perception of films change without soundtracks? Soundtracks and scores enhance the mood of the film, manipulating our senses to feel however the producer wants us to feel. Without this, we would have freedom of our own interpretation when we watch a film. Without a soundtrack, the producer's message is not as effective or clearly understood.

The sound image relationship can mean something different depending on the situation. In this particular situation, it happened to work out very well, creating what seems to be a more artistic conversation between the art and not the artists. However, this may not be true in all cases; it really is case specific.

As an amateur cinematographer (at the age of 14), I was fortunate to be using a “new-age” digital camcorder. This however, did not save me from audio problems. My friend and I were making a film for pleasure, and we had about 8 minutes of footage we absolutely had to use, but no sound. Instead of reshooting it, we creating a montage set to music. I find it is easier to audio to video, rather than video to audio, and I am sure that I am not alone on this matter. It was ambitious for these filmmakers to add the images to their soundtrack, but it sounds like what they did saved the film!

Sound can definitely save a film. As "The Film Experience" by Corrigan and White describe it, "movie soundscapes intensify our experience of what the world sounds like while attesting to sound's power to convey what seems like essential truths and meanings" (211). Even through the faces of the sculptors were not seem, their voices are what made them heard. By connecting their voices to their art, it made the production have more meaning and truth because the the sculptors express themselves through their art in everyday real life. I their problem had been reversed and only the image had been recorded and not the sound, it would not have been so easily saved. If the words of the sculptors had been lost and only the image of their moving lips was left, how could the production have been saved? If someone had been hired to read the lips of the sculptors and add subtitles to the best of their ability, one key senses of the viewer would be lost and therefore part of the connection to the production would have been lost.

I am a huge Scorsese fan. So I think it goes without saying that I believe a soundtrack plays a huge role in production. After all, who can't help but picture Joe Pesci being executed to "Layla"? Whether the soundtrack is going to consist of classic rock classics or natural sounds caught on tape, hearing is just as important to an audience as seeing. A proper soundtrack can and will engage the audience. For instance, playing Layla to a long take of a beach probably would not evoke as much of a response as the Pina Colada Song. Maybe not evoke a response, but the latter song would just make more sense. Nobody needs me to tell them that the best movies engage the audience, and immerse the viewer in the fictional world. Only then can we relate to the characters, root for or against them, or just lose ourselves. If the soundtrack is diagetic for instance, it is easier to immerse ourselves in the film world. If we are watching a film with nothing but music playing over it, (ie Socrpio Rising), then the narrative, (if there is one) is going to be nearly impossible to follow.
Sound is just as essential as picture, so yes a soundtrack has the potential to save a production.

Sound is an extremely significant aspect of a film. Sound can absolutely save and improve a production. Most genre films strongly emphasize the characters and heavily focus on dialogue. Without the sound to provide the viewers with the story, the film would not be as effective. On the contrary, silent films are a very important part of film history and often very entertaining regardless of the silence. However, in the ever-changing world of cinema, sound has become a very necessary addition. Sounds tell the viewer what emotion to feel when they see a certain image. Sound can manipulate the viewer in any direction. A shot of a girl sitting on a bench alone accompanied with an upbeat score would have a drastically effect than if the same shot was accompanied with the looming sound effects we hear in horror films. Even with a shot that portrays very little information, the sound can explain it all.

Soundtracks defiantly play an increasingly big role in movies. Its entirely possible, and even common, to have films with only extra-diegetic sound! Starting with sound and then adding film is becoming more common style of editing for amateur users and the film industry has picked up on this and I think they are starting to think about the possibilities. In fact its the concept behind natural documentaries. You have images depicting what the narrator is explaining.

Personally, I believe that soundtrack can save a production. Without sound, images might tell a different story, whereas sound, whether it is diegetic or non-diegetic, can drive the plot of a production. It evokes emotions and a different sense of understanding. Furthermore, if it is a documentary or a photojournalistic project, sound is essential. For example, if we are filming a movie about the genocide in Rwanda, just seeing the lives women are leading nowadays and reading the stories of their lives on screen will not have quite the same impact as hearing them speak about their lives and the consequences they are suffering.

Sound is important to a movie, because without sound we as the viewer of the movie would have to come up with what the movie is telling us on our own. Without sound there would be nothing to guide our way though understanding what is going on. From Dialogue to music to extra diegetic noise, sound makes us understand and believe what we are seeing on screen. The right music can save a film, can make it more bearable. However the opposite is also true, music that doesn't coincide or match with what we are seeing on screen can totally ruin the experience of the film for the viewers.

The solution to there being no image of the artists' interview sounds more powerful and captivating. Rather than viewing two people talking, the spectator was able to hear them and experience their work as a substitute. It goes along the lines that "the work speaks for itself" which is tantalizing. A soundtrack can save a production because it can, sometimes, say what the picture cannot say. In this case, the relationship between sound and image was effective, but there are instances where the interconnection does not work. There can be films that use extra-diegetic sound that can take the viewer out of the film because it does not correspond with what is happening on the screen.

I think everyone can agree that sound is a vital part of a film, and can most certainly ruin a production. Sound lends itself to the reality of the film and how immersed the viewer is in the film. A bad soundtrack can be extremely distracting because of what Rick Altman called the "sound hermeneutic." The viewer is constantly looking for a source of the sound and matching it to the images he or she sees. Using non-diegetic or even diegetic music is also a great way to add layers to a film.
In this instance, the sound was more important than the image, showing how vital it is within a film. The sound is what is telling the story.

Soundtracks are an integral part to productions but no, I don't think they can save a production. The visual element is what differentiates a film, package, story etc. from simply an audio piece. The visuals are what captures the viewer, how he or she is roped into the production. While the audio clearly enhances the images, they are capable of standing alone. Also, often text can be used in place of audio when necessary, yet nothing can substitute images. A solid soundtrack is wonderful but solid visuals carry the weight.

As an editor, I feel like the soundtrack of the film often composes 51% of the film. While most audiences never realize the work that goes into the digital creation of a soundtrack, I feel like it's the soundtrack that tells most of the story. When I edit I tend to pick out music and sounds before I even begin to touch video, as I can tell a better story with pacing and feel to it than trying to put pace into video that has already been edited, hence the 1%. Sound in a movie must come before, or at least be considered before, the video production that goes into a film. It's almost ironic that we call them films when so much goes into the sound that creates a world around us often takes more equipment than the 2D picture on a screen ahead of us.

I believe that sound is quite possibly the most important aspect of modern-day film. Just think about in terms of the basics, such as story and character development. If you listen to a film without the images you can still gather a sense of the plot. However, if you watch a film with no sound, it is easy to become lost. In this sense, the sound of a movie is more important than whatever images one can create.

I love happy mistakes like that.

Soundtrack is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of cinema. It's the closest thing to reality in a film; no matter how good the cinematography, the visuals are always just going to be flat images projected on a wall. 3-D takes it a step further, but since you can't reach out and touch it, it still isn't perfect. Sound, on the other hand, is completely invisible, so we don't consciously think about it. The best sound editors and mixers go unnoticed simply because they do their job so well.

This a great story that serves as testament to the importance of sound in a motion picture. It is so interesting to consider the sound as the chief element of the piece and the visuals as the addition; the imagery is connotative and the sound is the only element that furthers the piece. The mood of the soundtrack is affected by the images, how experimental. What a shift from the usual circumstances of video where the sound affects the interpretations of the visuals predominantly. I wonder if an entire story could be communicated in this manner, not simply interviews (which kind of lend themselves to this presentation) but a complex narrative with characters and real conflict that is told only through soundtrack with extra-diegetic visuals. If there is such a film in existence its probably worth a watch.

I believe that a soundtrack can save a film as long as certain elements exist. If you have well-exposed, well-lit, and well-composed shots and your sound is awful, you're film will be unusable. The same applies if you have overexposed, under lit, and terribly composed footage, your film will not be successful. In the event that you lack the visuals completely but have audio, then the right measures must be taken to take full advantage of the audio. The sculptures talking back and forth makes for an interesting and intriguing usage of sound, probably engaging the audience more than talking heads.

This is a great example of a situation where the soundtrack saved the film, something that is a regular occurrence. In this case, the most important part of the film was preserved: the dialogue between the two sculptors. The video of them talking wasn't the important part; it was the content of their conversation. The idea of showing their work during the conversation, and of cutting so that the sculptures seem to "speak" to each other, creates more meaningful images than just the two artists talking. After all, it is their work that is important, so showing that in tandem with their conversation makes the film more poignant and meaningful.

Without a doubt, sound without picture is better than picture without sound, simply because it is much easier to find images and film (of the artists working in this case) to synchronize the audio with, than to have film of an interview without any sound. Sound is obviously an incredibly important aspect of film, and stylistically can really set the tone and feeling of the film. Great examples of movies whose soundtrack is almost as poignant as the narrative is The Garden State or Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising, both of which use the sound track as a key feature of the film. You can get the entire feeling of The Garden State simply by listening to the album of the Soundtrack, and Scorpio Rising would not even begin to convey its message of idolization of pop culture and how it can be juxtaposed when paired with a queer film without the 1950s pop songs.

Let's go back to silent films; such as those created by "Don Lockwood" in "Singin' In The Rain". Arguably, one could say that in the time period depicted by the film, silent movies weren't worth watching because there was no soundtrack, no non-diegetic sound edited in, however, before this was possible, we learned in lecture that the "silent" cinema was actually not silent at all. Live music from a distinguished orchestra made films an experience rather than a medium. Could we say that the live music utilized is equivalent to a soundtrack? I think so, and we could also say that it saves the production as well, even though the sound technology inspired by electro-technics and Thomas Edison wasn't in its prime yet.

I think that sound is certainly very important but it is very difficult to argue that sound is more important than video or vise versa. Both sound and images work together to portray the filmmaker's vision and without one or the other, that vision changes drastically. In the case of the two glass artists, I think the way that they chose to cut back and forth between the artists' work tells more of a story than if they were able to show the two simply having a conversation. In a way, their sculptures are a part of them and when they are shown to represent the artists, the viewer begins to see the artwork as an extension of the artists personality rather than just a sculpture.

I think that soundtrack can save a film. It could also ruin it

Crossing The Bridge is a great example of a good soundtrack. It both continued the plot and entertained with cultured sound.

Garden State is an example where the soundtrack doesn't define the plot, rather define the time the movie was made and the style of the characters.

Soundtracks further enforce genre. Especially musicals, without soundtrack it wouldn't be a musical.

A soundtrack is as important as anything else and should be chosen carfully

Not to sound redundant but yes a soundtrack can save a film.
However in the situation you described i would not say that sound saved the day but that image was the real savior. If the soundtrack had also not been recorded you would be left with nothing to work with at all. In this case sound was the most important part of the film.
Imagine that the camera had been attached to the recording deck and the mics had not. In that case the piece would be lost entirely. Replacing the conversation between the artists couldn't be replaced in the same way the image was, the sound of their sculptures would not be a suitable equivalent.

A soundtrack can not only save a film, but can serve to define it. In this example, the film is marked as quite unique because of a technical glitch. Otherwise this film would be another interview, no matter how once-in-a- life time the interview is. This film however was made into a unique, and captivating show of ingenuity because of this

Soundtracks can absolutely make or break a film. Music has a special way of connecting to a universal crowd, and it is able to draw people in like nothing else in the world can do. A film with a, awesome soundtrack always remains in people's heads. My favorite soundtracks, for example, are Slumdog Millionaire, Pulp Fiction, the Kill Bill volumes, basically any other Quentin Tarantino film, and almost every film by Stanley Kubrick. The way a filmmaker makes certain types of music work in certain situations can be breathtaking. Stanley Kubrick, for example, can take a cheerful song like "Singin' in the Rain" and make a psychotic rapist sing it while attacking a man and his wife, in "A Clockwork Orange". Compiling soundtracks is a very tricky game of knowing when the music matches perfectly right away, and when the music is so inappropriate that it creates a beautiful clashing of perfection and imperfection. This is how Stanley Kubrick worked with most of his films, including a classical soundtrack over a usually disturbing sequence of events in the film. A good soundtrack is, in my opinion, essential to creating a good film. The soundtrack may be silence, but whatever the background sound is, it has to be good.

I don't necessarily think that a soundtrack is a vital component to film. There are films that are purely visual. They are just formatted differently. The great thing about film is that the way the different components in a film are organized is completely subject to the creativity of the director. On the other hand, a soundtrack can make a film engaging all by itself. Take the film "Lemon" for example. There is no sound whatsoever. The viewer is left to interpret the still image of a lemon with a changing light source for five minutes. There is still emotion, purpose, and innovation associated with this film. However, the opposite is true. One can compose a film that is not visually engaging and make it interesting through the soundtrack. It is all up to the vision of the director.

I absolutely think that a soundtrack can save a production. Its pretty universal that music appeals to peoples' emotions. Pairing that with an image or series of images can really capture an audience and suture them even deeper into a film. This is especially true when the film narrative is pursuing pathos. On the other hand, if a film is trying to be more logical--following a systematic narrative to expose some sort of bigger issue--then trying to grasp at an audience's emotions with music might weaken an argument or be overbearing/overwhelming. It all depends on what angle the film is trying to pursue which determines if a soundtrack is a production-saver.

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