1. In the film Clown Train how does sound contribute to the atmosphere of this film? Describe what you heard? Can you make reference to another genre film and how they utilise sound to create tension and a unique filmic space?
This piece has mixed emotions to it; sad, horror, confuse, anger. At least that’s what i think. The minute I heard the sound, I knew it was going to be a thriller film. I believe the composer wants you to be aware of his/her technique, known as “mickeymousing”. Mickeymousing is when the music blatantly matches the actions on screen. Apparently, this technique is discredited today, at least in serious films, because of overuse. When the train moves then stops, the music likewise rises and falls with each of its movements. The sounds that were obvious were the heavy bass chord (the scene where the lights in the train switched off for a slight second and the clown suddenly appears next to the boy) indicates danger and a low sustained tone from the train creates mystery as well as the sound of the lights flickering creates suspense. These sounds prepares the audience for the dramatic events to follow. This is known as the stinger. Films that use the same sound to create tension and unique filmic space are usually horror or thriller movies. One good example of a movie with good sound effect is ‘The Knowing’ (2009), starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Alex Proyas. This movie has a dense plot and lifeless characters but the sound effect is pretty good. The suspense material in the first three quarters of the film is occupied by a frantic, skittish personality of plucked strings and other prickly elements. As Nicolas Cage’s character first decodes a series of numbers predicting the disasters to come, this technique is placed as practically the only element in the film’s soundscape. Though the cue “Door Jam” may not be entirely pleasant, it does stir a growing sense of intrigue and, later, panic. This idea translates into a representation for the “strangers” as well, though thankfully the intense whispering sound effects heard in the film to represent their communication are absent from the score. The pretty, though arguably underplayed piano theme for the father/son relationship in the story is most poignant, of course, at the end of “Caleb Leaves,” though it is sufficient in its task prior to this moment.
2. Select from one of the readings, up to but not including Week 5, and briefly describe two points that you have taken from it. Points that excite you, something that was completely new to you.
‘If a sound is the obligatory complement of an image, give preponderance either to the sound, or to the image. If equal, they damage or kill each other, as we say of colours.’
I find ‘Sight & hearing, Notes from the cinematographer’ by Bresson, R, interesting. In his notes, the author is basically talking about sound and sight in a whole different manner. Initially I thought that both elements could reach equilibrium as it make sense that sound should compliment sight on an equal level. However after reading this, my thoughts have changed. As according to Brenner, there can never be complete and utter equilibrium between those two elements.
3. In the tute we screened a short film called Rolling – a film made in Film-TV1 a few years ago. In 300 words or less describe what you thought worked or didn’t. At this stage we don’t expect you to have a great deal of film knowledge or language. Don’t be afraid to use your own words. Things you could talk about – script, casting, timing, camera movement, location. You may not remember much detail, if so, it could be helpful to talk about your first impressions, after all this is what most of us are left with after one viewing.
I don’t really remember what this film is about to be honest. I guess this means that the film wasn’t engaging enough for it to be memorable. Unlike The Clown Train film that was shown in tute two weeks ago.. I remember that short film since the sound effect was good and the fact that there was an evil clown (interesting characters) makes it even more haunting