straight down the line

Sound in Noir

Sound is the ribbon that ties everything together whether it be movies, radio shows, or podcasts. Sound enhances everything and creates a more dimensional and dramatic effect for the media.

A many thing I have noticed in many of the audio items of noir that I have listened to and seen have used a switch in the audio to change the mood of the scene, for example it goes darker and more mysterious when something bad is about to happen. Basically, the audio sets the mood for the whole picture. It is almost as equality as effective to the overall effect of the movie as the visual and plot line elements. Although sounds have no always been around and many people truly enjoyed silent movies, the sounds have emphasized the scenes and have helped create suspense and intensity the dramatic effect. ┬áHelen Hanson agrees with this statement in her article “The Ambience of Film Noir – Soundscapes, Design, and Mood” by saying

“… the tones and moods of film noir flow from the expressiveness and design of its soundtrack and scores as much as its visual iconography.”

Even in visual noir, the sound is important because it coincides with the visual aspect and is used to create suspense within the scene. For example, it is used for foreshadowing. Before something intense happens, you can usually notice a switch in the background music — i.e. it’ll go from happy, cheerful music to something deeper and more dramatic sounding. In the two videos we watched for this week, “The Touch of Evil” edited version, there was more suspenseful music and it fit everything that was going on with much less background noise. It was focusing on setting the mood. In the un-editted version of the opening, there was a lot more background noise and the mood did not feel as set because there wasn’t any music to accompany it. Thus, I felt the atmosphere was more obviously set in the edited version than the unedited.

During the tweet along this week with DS106 radio, I thought that the music was up to par with what was actually happening in the story. It made it much more interesting to listen to! Not only were the sound effects good but the way the people in the radio broadcast were talking and interacting with each other was like you could almost imagine what was happening. To me that is the purpose of audio, to be able to close your eyes and visual what is happening, ideally the audio will be good enough to be able to do that!

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