Sound in film is something that is often not noticed till its bad, and when its bad, it is really awful. With the advent of numerous Indie film makers like yourself, shooting video is not difficult. It is safe to say that shooting video is easy, you can get breathtaking visuals and shots in ultra HD with your mobile phone. Add a drone tethered with WiFi to the mix, and seamless, sweeping shots can be achieved by just about anyone. What sets a good filmmaker apart though is being to bring these visuals to the audience and that requires sound.
Importance of sound
Take a visually stunning movie from any part of time in history and mute the sound, it looses its effect. Film depends on sound to make the visuals more engaging, personal, and brings voice to the story told. If you are able to bring good sound to a movie, your work is almost halfway done.
It manipulates emotion
Sound and the right kind of music can act as cues to tell the audience what to think and feel. You can notice this used to great effect in horror and scary movies. The jump scare, for example is often used to make audiences sit up or shock them effectively. One of the best uses of sound to scare the audience can be found in Psycho. Remember that shower murder? Of course you do. That scene is a testament to what sound can do to the audience. More so when you realize that through all of that, there is not even one actual stab shown on screen!
It creates environment
Lets move on to lack of sound. There is no such thing as absolute silence in any situation, but filmmakers often use silence to create a deeper sense of immersion. Think of the opening sequence in Apocalypse Now. Silence- blades of a chopper in slow motion- Morrison singing this is the end- violent carpet bombing. You never hear explosions, but that use of negative spaces in sound fill you up with a sense of what is going on. Another example is the final bout scene in raging bull, where almost nothing is heard. The sounds of silence can be deafening at times.
Sound in film is not something that can be covered in one post, so keep watching this space for a Part 2 of this series where we can delve further into the theme.