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Film/TV 2: Analysis/Reflection #4


September 23, 2014 by sharona

1. In this clip from Forbidden Lies, Anna Broinowski’s 2007 film: describe in detail all of the audio, how it may have been recorded/sourced and how you think it has been edited / layered in post. (You do not need to describe how the music was recorded)

(Note: An essay is not required here, three hundred words max should suffice. However care should be taken with expression, syntax and editing.)

This clip begins with a romantic montage with music video elements. The music is layered with very idealistic, romantic sounds such as twittering birds and sparkling chime sounds, not to mention a ‘ding’ sound when the man smiles. There are a few other sounds, such as whooshing and the sounds of the car, which are all layered to keep attention on the music. These sounds are probably sourced from a third party sound library. While there is a small chance it was recorded by the documentary team, they’re all very “stock” sounds, which feeds into this music video’s air of cheesiness.

When this sequence stops, the sound changes drastically. Rana Husseini is interviewed in a typical office and she is the only audible sound. The romantic, cheesy atmosphere is abruptly cut short and provides a sharp contrast to her very brash, up front, matter of fact voice. This interview audio was likely recorded with a boom mic, as a lapel mic isn’t visible on her collar – but it’s possible they’ve just fixed it on quite well. They’ve done a very good job minimising the signal to noise ratio, and as her interview continues, the sound of a traditional musical instrument can be heard in the background, as can the sound of typing, which sounds like it was recorded on set and overlaid.

In this interview, the only non-diegetic sounds are the instrument and later, the same sparkly chime sounds from the music video that accompany her gesture to Norma Khouri’s photograph in the book – a fake, romanticised sound.

Dr. Amal A. Sabbagh has a very similar interview, but as she is outside, there is ambient noise – mostly the sound of birds. I believe Dr. Sabbagh was also recorded with a boom mike, perhaps from below.

Again, a sparkling sound when Khouri’s book is shown. It is clear that the audio director uses very dramatic, romantic effects in relation to Khouri – such as the chimes, the heartbeat sound effect when Khouri speaks about Jordan’s geographical location, and the more dramatic music accompanying her reading.

I believe most of the interview audio was recorded with a boom mic, which was then padded with sound effects – some, such as shuffling paper and keyboard tapping, recorded onset, and some, such as clinking coins, lighter flicking on and the Hyatt’s “unbuilding” sequence, stock sounds. These are underlaid with a whimsical music.


2. Most applications reserve keyboard shortcuts for the functions that you use most often. It is really good to learn all of these as it will speed up your editing and additionally alert you to functions that the software developers and other users find important. (You can learn much about the software by looking at keyboard shortcuts).

Find the keyboard shortcuts for Premiere (hint, film-tv blog) and note four or more functions that you’ve never used before and why they may be invaluable to your editing. (Different functions to what you wrote last semester)

Four keyboard shortcuts I’ve never used before:

Cmd+/ for a new bin. Particularly useful when organising files and bins so everything is in order.

Cmd+Opt+K for keyboard shortcuts. Useful for everything!

Cmd+R for speed/duration. In Final Cut Pro, the shortcut for this was Cmd+J, which confused me when I moved over to Premiere Pro. Speed/duration will be great for anything I want to alter in terms of speed, such as reversing the clip or perhaps speeding it up.

Cmd+l to link. Super super useful if I want to link up audio and video that weren’t recorded together!


3. “From a distant gaze …” (1964) directed by Jean Ravel, picture Pierre Lhomme & Chris Marker, words by Louis Aragon, narrated by Jean Negroni, music by Michel Legrand.

Describe a few things that intrigue you – it might be shot construction, camera work, editing, overall structure, thematic concerns etc. Describe the camera work and why you think it has been shot that way.

This clip was really fascinating, and I thought that a few things stood out. Firstly, the subjects are very well chosen – they do seem like real people that just happen to be passing by, and this gives the clip a very spontaneous, dynamic feeling. I’d be really interested to know the director’s thought process behind who they chose.

The camera work is again, quite dynamic but with a deliberate element in which it is not fickle – rather, it chooses certain subjects and follows them, while ignoring others. There’s a frantic, anxious rhythm to it in the first couple of minutes, which is a combination of the camerawork, the subject of the film, and the music, which is masterfully chosen to unnerve the audience and have them wrongfooted while watching this.


4. Select from one of the readings and briefly describe two points that you have taken from it. Points that interest you, something you could apply to your own documentary.

The Conventions of Sound in Documentary was quite interesting as I am the sound recordist (and everything else) for my documentary. Finding some tips would have been invaluable for me as I need to be in control of the entire process.

Something I found interesting was location sounds – I will be shooting on location but ideally have these locations quite carefully controlled so as to not have too much external, unrelated sound filtering in. However, the author makes it quite clear that editing location scenes together can be quite difficult as each location will have very different soundscapes and these can easily clash and result in a “cacophony”.

Another interesting idea was about the mise-en-scene of speech in documentary – the author talks about the variety of accents, dialects and speech patterns in documentary film characters, and this is definitely true of my subjects – one interview is with a Chinese girl who has been in Australia for two years – she answers several questions in Chinese and then occasionally slips into accented English. I will definitely be subtitling this – while Ruoff says it may “imply deviance from an assumed linguistic norm”, I believe that as part of it is in another language, the subtitling will be seen as simply a convention that was kept for the while conversation.


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