One of the points from the week 8 reading “Cinema Journal” by Reuoff that I found interesting and hadn’t considered previously was the difference in sound quality between observational documentaries and Hollywood films. Reuoff points out that without a clean and controlled studio space in which to record sound (and dually the highly candid nature of observational or location shooting) you have little authority over the type of sound you capture. You’re unable to control background noises which fight for attention and hearing what a subject might be saying o- r other key sounds you wish your audience to focus on – can sometimes be a struggle. While this creates technical difficulties with recording ‘good’ or ‘clean’ field sounds in an observational documentary, it also has its benefits. I suppose this quality is what sets observational documentary apart and the way the soundtrack appears raw, candid or uncontrolled is what gives a sense of the ‘truth’ or ‘reality’ of setting a scene. You are immediately placed within a landscape and setting without need for foley or audio effects. You are given a sense of who the subject is, their background and where they are in relation to the things surrounding them without even having to try. Like the example given in the reading of the couple having an argument in a restaraunt that is barely audible over their surroundings, it also can enhance the qualities or effects of the scene.
Another point the reading makes – which we have already encountered on filming our first interview for our documentary – is the way in which ‘real’ speech or dialect is not the same as scripted speech. People or characters in the real world do not speak in full or proper sentences and use a lot of ‘fluff’ language techinques or words to merely fill up sound space. When in an interview, interviewees tend to just answer a given question from whatever point they naturally see fit without grounding the topic, addressing the subject or rounding off their point so it can stand alone without introducing a question from an interviewer first. We realised this shortly after beginning our first interview and, as the reading suggests, had to carefully mould our questions so that the interviewee ‘states’ or question in her answer and we can use these grabs without them losing their context or worth.