Category: Readings

HOFT How Film Theory got lost

Ray. Robert B “How a film Theory got Lost.” How a Film Theory got Lost and Other Mysteries in Cultural Studies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. 1-14

Ardono defined the history of film theory when he defined cinema as “the crossroads of magic and positivism:? Or a more succinct definition of film theory’s traditional project than to “break the spell” p2

Ray discusses the influence of cinema on the rest of society. That major businesses like Ford and General Motors started to employ cinematic strategy when they realised that enchantment sells. Back to cinema, Eisenstien alligned himself with the artistic principles of pictorialism; the movement that sought to legitimize photography by discusing its images as paintings. While not succumbing to the retrograde qualities he did subscribe to it’s fundamental premise: “that a medium’s aesthetic value is a direct function of its ability to transform the reality serving as its raw material.” p 3 “the artist-critic whose writings create the taste by which his own aesthetic practice is judged.”p3

Cinema afforded the artist editing, and montage enabled the director to manipulate the narrative. “less than ever does the mere reflection of reality reveal anything about reality… something must in fact be built up, something artificial posed.” p4 “Eisenstein had a thoroughly linguistic view of filmmaking, with shots amounting to ideograms, which, when artfully combined, could communicate the equivalent of sentences.” p5

Photogenie has an obvious connection to fetishism. “To endow with a poetic value that which does not yet possess it, to willfully restrict the field of vision so as to intensify expression: these are two properties that help make cinematic decor the adequate expression of modern beauty.”


Bazin contested the school of German and Soviet cinema saying that they “had betrayed this sacred purpose by “putting their faith in the image’ instead of in reality, convulsing the camera’s objectivity with abstracting montages and grotesque mise-en-scene”pg 8 “With photography, Bazin kept insisting, an absolutely accurate representation of the world could be produced, for the first time in history, by accident. This miraculous revelatory power made the Soviet or Expressionist imposition of subjective meanings seem a kind of misguided vanity.” p8

Directors like Welles and Wyler relied on long takes and deep focus, they had modestly permitted reality to speak for itself.


mise-en-scene “But at the heart of the Cashiers position lay a priviledged term that evoked both photogenie’s ineffability and the Surrealists’ “objective chance”. The term was mise-en-scene”.p9

“For me, mise-en-scene is not merely the gap between what we see and feel on the screen and what we can express in words, but is also the gap between the intention of the director and his effect upon the spectator…” pg9

“this paradigm accomplished wonderful things, above all alerting us to popular culture’s complicities with the most destructive, enslaving, and ignoble myths.”p12

“In the new dispensation, occassional film theorist Fredric Jameson would acknowledge that the appeal of beautiful and exciting storytelling is precisely the problem.” p12

“the most important debates in film theory will turn on the extreme path-dependence Barthes saw constraining the humanities.”

“Can the rational, politically sensitive Eisenstein tradition reunite with the Impressionist-Surrealist interest in photogenie and automatism? Can film theory, in other words, imitate filmmaking and recognize that, at it’s best, the cinema requires, as Thalberg understood, a subtle mixture of logical structure and untraslatable allure? Can film theory revive the Cahiers-Vouvelle Vague experiment, learning to write differently, to stage its research in the form of a spectacle?” p 13



HOFT Jean Epstein, “On Certain Characteristics of Photogene”

Epstein, Jean. “On Certain Characteristics of Photogenie.” French Film Theory and Criticism 1907-1939. Vol. 1: 1907 – 1029. Ed Richard Abel. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1988. 314-18

“The art of cinema has been called “photogenie” by Louis Delluc. The word is apt, and should be preserved. What is photogenie? I would describe as photogenie any aspect of things, beings or souls whose moral character is enchanced by filmic reproduction. And any aspect not enchanced by filmic reproduction is not photogenie, plays no part in the art of cinema.”314 – Figures given last weeks readings discussing Truffaut and the French New Wave, with Truffaut’s fascination with real people, I think it infers his fascination with capturing realistic moral character in his stories. “I now specify: only mobile aspects of the world, of things and souls, may see their moral value increased by filmic reproduction.”p 315

Epstein goes onto discuss Time as the fourth dimension, the fourth spatial dimension. “The mind travels in time, just as it does in space.” p315 “Photogenie mobility is a mobility in this space-time system, a moblity in both space and time. We can therefore say that photogenie aspect of an object is a consequence of its variations in space-time. ” p316 “To the elements of perspective employed in drawing, the cinema adds a new perspective in time.”p 316

“To things and beings in their most frigid semblance, the cinema thus grants the greatest gift unto death. Life. And it confers this life in its highest guise: personality.” 317

“Personality goes beyond intelligence. Personality is the spirit visible in things and people, their heredity made evident, their past become unforgettable, their future already present. Every aspect of the world, elected to life by the cinema, is so elected only on condition that it has a personality of its own. This is the second specification which we can now add to the rules of photogenie. I therefore suggest that we say: only mobile and personal aspects of things, beings, and souls may be photogenic: that is, acquire a higher moral value through filmic reproduction.” 317



Francois Truffaut: The New Wave’s Ringleader

Neupert, Richard John. “Francois Truffaut: The New Wave’s Ringleader.” A History of the French New Wave Cinema. University of Wisconsin Press 2007, 161-206

Both Truffaut and Goddard were the champions of French New Wave cinema. Each auteur brought their own school of filmmaking within the movement and proved that “they too, could display personal stories and styles that fit within their own calls for a “cinema in first person” p161 in opposition to the cold and calculating “tradition of quality” Truffaut strives for a realism of characters – the vilans are still sympathetic, the actors are allowed to play and react naturally, sound is captured while filming in an uncontrolled way.

Truffaut wasn’t afraid of injecting elements of his personal life into his film in his endeavour to capture life. “Truffaut’s interviews and articles usually stressed the parallels between his artistic output and his personal insight, further fuelling a fascination with Truffaut the individual and making his private life highly pertinent to the critical understanding of his films.” p 162 Truffaut has said of Antoine in The 400 Blows that the character is modelled on his own childhood. The respect with which he treats the character Antoine is something that has secured the films place in history. Truffaut is interested in representing children without condescension. Truffaut would use real people rather than actors within his film and play with the techniques afforded him by technology. “While the film has a very rapid pace by New Wave standards, with an ASL of 7.6 seconds, it nonetheless contains some wonderfully long takes that exploit the camera’s mobility and the deep focus possible with outdoor shooting.” p168

French New Wave was born out of the film critics turned directors and the influence of years of dissecting the films of others and identifying dissatisfaction with the medium is obvious. Truffaut was influenced broadly from the neorealist directors to American Gangster films.

Neupert discusses Truffaut’s stylistic traits:

“These stylistic traits of shooting minimally on location, employing natural acting rhythms, and alternating long takes with short, self-conscious stylistic flourishes will prove typical throughout Truffaut’s career.” 175

“This mix of tones permeates the movie, creating a casual, comic style that defies narrative unity.” 176

“One final story trait that will recur in Truffaut’s oeurve is the goodnatured way he places children at the center of his narratives. As Annette Insdorf notes, Tuffaut’s films “constitute a vision of childhood unequaled in the history of the cinema for sensitivity, humour, poignancy, and respect for children themselves.” p176

“One of the most significant sequences for understanding Truffaut’s distinctive plot and mise-en-scene tactics is the series of shots that make up the day when Antoine and Rene play hooky, ride the rotor, and run across Antoine’s mother kissing the other man. This scene displays Truffaut’s versatility, with sudden shifts in Jean Constantine’s jaunty jazz themes, a mix of camer and editing techniques, and a loose sequencing of shots, often placed end-to-end rather than building classical unity.” p185

“Like a jazz score, the film has it’s own unique structure, and it is not unusual for first-time viewers to be simultaneously impressed and confused by its meandering narrative and ironic tone.” p 198 (shoot the piano player)

“Moreover, by situation this love triangle between 1912 silent film footage and 1930s newsreels of the rise of Nazism, Truffaut connects personal and political history with the cinema, reinforcing his recurring motif of the potential for movies to help the viewer understand his or her own real-world life.” p204

Truffaut was a fan of moral ambiguity in his characters:

“If the director has a definite moral viewpoint to express, it is to obscure that the visual amorality and immorality of the film are predominant and consequently pose a serious problem for a mass medium of entertainment” p202

“It was precisely the brazen amorality of Moreau’s Catherine, reinforced by the passive acquiescence of the men, that triggered initial thematic discussions of Truffaut’s film.” p202


HOFT Readings WK 1 Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, or the Sea, Antoine, the Sea…

Conomos, John. “Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, or the Sea, Antoine, the Sea…” Senses of Cinema 6 (May 2000), (accessed Feb 26 2013)

“I still retain from my childhood a great anxiety, and the movies are bound up with an anxiety, with an idea of something clandestine.” – Francois Truffaut

The 400 Blows was Truffaut’s debut feature film, was previewed out of competition on May 4th, 1959 at the Cannes Film Festival. Truffaut got his start as one of the critics of Cashiers du Cinema.

“Truffaut, amongst his peers inclduing Godard, Chabrol, Rivette, Rozier, Demy and Rohmer, regarded the screenplay as the essentail stage of filmmaking.”

Maybe the natural progression out of the silent film era to realise the potential of scripting in film.

The French New wave introduced the world the the auteur. “The filmmaker/author writes with his camera as a writer writes with his pen.” Introducing art and real life into the world of cinema. Truffaut and his contemporaries were the first to explore the “mundane” life of the every man, exposing the beauty in life as it is, rather than as it is imagined. “A cinema that speaks of ordinary experiences and situations, fragile individuals, daily recognisable language and emotions where the director displays a non-superior relationship to his characters.”

“Truffaut forged a highly personal cinema that owed a lot also to Bazin’s spatial realism and is crucially sympathetic to the fluid and ambiguous realit of the portrayed characters, their beauty, sadness, desire, timidity and loss. Consequently, French New Wave films value a cinema that does not follow in the steps of an “old cinema”, but instead features the human sensibility of the director-writer creating an art that is noted for its spontaneity, improvisation and obsessions.”

My experience of French New Wave is quite limited but this makes me think of Goddard’s Vivre sa vie in Intro to Cinema studies where it struck me that rather than capturing the extaordinary events in his characters lives, Goddard was instead depicting the every day in between these defining events, which was such a departure to everything else i’ve seen. To have auteurs preoccupied with representing life as it is and seeing the beauty in that is really refreshing to see on screen, even today. I think it also speaks to the evolution of storytelling since, where indie films and more and more mainstream films are giving us characters we can relate to more and more… maybe i’m just starting to bullshit now. Anyway I want to watch more French New Wave to appreciate it more. Particularly Breathless and would love to watch Vivre Sa Vie again.

“The 400 Blows, along with Les Mistons (1975), The Wild Child (1969 and Small Change (1969) represent one of the most tender and loving depictions of childhood in cinema. Truffaut’s characteristic sensitive and non-sentimental view of his children characters denotes a respect for children living in a difficult world made by adults.” – apparently Rossellini’s Germany, Year Zero (1947) influenced Truffaut and significantly informs Truggaut’s hypnotically moving debut feature.

“As Antoine flees, we hear his feet running along the country road: the sound has a hypnotic rhythym which expresses Antoine’s sensuous delight in being free, a freedom rooted in the everydayness of his life and its simple pleasures. As Antoine descends a set of steps onto the beach we are already on the beach savouring the enchantment Antoine experiences as he rushes towards the sea. In the sea, Antoine’s footsteps are erased suggesting a new beginning of selfaffirmation. And when Antoine turns towards us, Truffaut’s camera zooms in an d freezes his face, forcing us to contemplate the lyrical dialectic and its paradoxical tension between the still of his face and the kinetic nature of the film medium itself, and forcing us, as Douchet suggests, to react morally concerning Antoine and his own world. This impulse of Truffaut’s to capture and animate as his camera consummately freezes or tracks his characters recalls, as Annette Insdorg points out, the unmistakable texture of the romantic poet John Keats.


Truffaut’s passionate beliefe that cinema “is an indirect art… it conceals as much as it reveals.”


Film and TV1 – Creating the Sound Design

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.

Alten, S. 1994, Creating the Sound Design, Audio in media, (p266-286). Belmont: Wadsworth

Sound is something I have only become actively aware of in the last 18 months since i’ve become interested in radio documentary more and more and that interest has made me pay attention to how sound is used in visual media as well. Alten’s reading on Creating Sound Design was relatively dry but helpful in building a more thorough knowledge base for me to work from. My notes on the reading are here.

I found it interesting to read about the Functions of Sound in Relation to picture, where Alten highlights that there are 5 relationships: 1. Sound Parallels Picture 2. Sound Defines Picture 3. Picture Defines Sound 4. Sound and Picture Define Effect and 5. Sound Counterpoints Picture. In the same way that I was never taught Grammar at school but am expected to have an instinctual understanding of how to use it, I feel like these relationships, while I understand how to interpret them as an audience member, would be difficult for me to explain on my own. Having my awareness extended is really helpful going forward as a wannabe filmmaker.

I also enjoyed reading about Music and that “linear sound provides melody and rhythm; simultaneous sound provides harmony and texture.” Again, venturing into the unknown for me in terms of intellectualising something I am exposed to daily and could probably poorly describe the sound I wanted to hear, but wouldn’t be able to articulate that the sound needs to be linear or simultaneous.

It’s difficult to get particularly analytical about this reading. I found it really helpful and am sure I will reference it when creating sound design for our projects all year and beyond; it’s a lot of unknown information, and certainly heightens my awareness as an audience member, but I didn’t find myself going off on tangential thoughts and finding more questions from the new information – this probably highlights what a wealth of knowledge there is for me to still discover in the world of sound.

Debates and Approaches Reading Log Week 4

Week 4 Reading Log


Anna Curtis



Boeder, P. 2005, Habermas’ heritage: The future of the public sphere in the networked society, First Monday, Vol 10, Number 9, Sept 5


Boeder’s article explores the evolution of Habermas’ Public Sphere through the advancement of technology and the increasing access to information and to generate information within the Public Sphere by private individuals.  Boeder examines the theories of several different intellectuals in relation to news vs narrative, commoditisation and commercialism and our very notion of democracy when entering into the unchartered territory of the technological network age.


Boeder explores news media’s tendency toward public relations where managing consensus rather than providing an avenue to establish it has become priority.


Arguably the event of the internet should advance Habermas’ notion of the Public Sphere by providing a vehicle for private individuals to engage in public discourse, however in the early days of internet those with access where largely white, wealthy males and they were able to shape the discourse carried out. It would be interesting to follow up on the theorists Boeder has drawn on now to see what their evolving opinions are given the much greater accessibility to internet than in the mid 1990s.


Boeder argues that mass media requires the public to be active participants in the generation and distribution of information, decentralised ownership of the internet and access, and a discerning public. The public does have more ability to contribute than they did with traditional media, as we can see by the prominence of private individuals, via blogs who have catered to niche markets on a global scale and become social commentators.


Boeder addresses the global nature of communication in the modern day. He explores Hjarvard’s contention that global access does not result in a public sphere on a global level, but that rather the public sphere will no longer be a unitary concept but rather an amalgamation of sub-spheres.


Finally Boeder talks about our tendency to abstract technology from cultural meaning when it is a vital component in our capacity to generate cultural meaning.

Readings: The Evolution of the Language of Cinema

Bazin, Andre. 1997, The evolution of the language of cinema, Defining cinema, Lehman, Peter (ed). p 59-72, London: Athlone Press

This article explores the evolution of cinema, editing techniques, namely montage vs deep focus long shots through the transition of silent cinema into talkies. Bazin indicates that rather than being viewed as cinematic values operating in direct opposition to each other, we view the two as different concepts of cinematographic expression that are free to employ stylistic influence but are ultimately different “families of styles”.

Bazin highlights two opposing trends within cinema of the 192os-40s. That being the directors who’s artistic influence is felt through the “image” versus those who capture reality and inflict their influence through the editing process and the effects allowed by montage.

Bazin defines the school of IMAGE as “everything that the representation on the screen adds to the object there represented.” where as the school of REALITY directors relate to the “resources of montage, which after all, is simply the ordering of images in time.” pp 60.

Bazin argues that it was “montage that gave birth to film as an art, setting it apart from mere animated photography, in short, creating a language.” pp60

Three processes of Montage:

Parallel montage – conveying a sense of the simultaneity of two actions.

Accelerated montage – depicting change in pace/time – accelerating speed by a multiplicity of shots of ever-decreasing length.

Montage by attraction – reenforcing the meaning of one image by association with another image not necessarily part of the same episode. “Montage as used by Kuleshov, Eisenstein, or Gance did not show us the event, it alluded to it.” pp 61

Bazin suggests that “expressionism of montage and image constitute the essence of cinema.” However notes that several directors of the silent era refute this by engaging in no way with montage, and in fact the strength of their work in fact relies on its absence.

“We would undoubtedly find scattered among the works of others elements of nonexpressionistic cinema in which montage plays no part – even including Griffith. But these examples suffice to reveal, at the very heart of the silent film, a cinematographic art the very opposite of that which has been identified as cinema par excellence,  a language the semantic and syntactical unit of which is in no sense the Shot; in which the image is evaluated not according to what it adds to reality but what it reveals of it.” pp. 62

Bazin explores the cinematic language that emerged between 1930 – 1940, largely driven by the american hollywood system which consisted of major film types:

1. The American comedy

2. The burlesque film

3. The dance and vaudeville film

4. The crime and gangster film

5. psychological and social dramas

6. Horror or fantasy films

7. The Western

Then Bazin comments that the real driver of cinematic language’s development came in the 1940s-1950s when new blood and new themes were explored; that “the real revolution took place more on the level of subject matter than of style.” pp63

The three contributing factors to the classical perfection were 1. the maturing of different kinds of drama, 2. the drama inherited from the silent film and 3. the stabilization of technical progress.


From the era of Image vs Reality came the artifice of montage “expressionist” and “symbolistic”, in the modern era we can describe the new kind of storytelling as “analytic” and “dramatic”.

In the era of image vs reality “the changes of point of view provided by the camera would add nothing. They would present the reality a little more forcefully.” pp 65

When moving forward into the modern era Bazin explores directors like Orson Wells in particular and the influence of Citizen Kane on bringing to life the method of single take, deep focus shots. “whole scenes are covered in one take, the camera remaining motionless. Dramatic effects for which we had formerly relied on montage were created out of the movements of the actors within a fixed framework.” pp66

“The soft focus of the background confirms therefore the effect of montage, that is to say, while it is of the essence of the storytelling, it is only an accessory of the style of the photography.” pp 66

Welles’ composition in depth is partially a replacement of montage…”It is based on a respect for the continuity of dramatic space and, of course, of its duration.” pp67

Rather than viewing the lack of edit points as an element of cinema missing, Bazin argues that Welles’ long shots “[refuse] to break up the action, to analyse the dramatic field in time” pp67 which is a positive action.


1. Depth of focus brings the spectator into a relation with the image closer to that which he enjoys with reality.

2. It implies, consequently, both a more active mental attitude on the part of the spectator and a more positive contribution on his part to the action in progress.

3. in analyzing reality, montage presupposes of its very nature the unity of meaning of the dramatic event. – montage by its very nature rules out ambiguity of expression.


“Through the contents of the image and the resources of montage, the cinema has at its disposal a whole arsenal of means whereby to impose its interpretation of an event on the spectator.” pp61

“The framing in the 1910 film is intended, for all intents and purposes, as a substitute for the missing fourth wall of the theatrical stage… [whereas the cinema of Welles or Wyler] the setting, the lighting, and the camera angles give an entirely different reading. Between them, director and cameraman have converted the screen into a dramatic checkerboard, planned down to the last detail.” pp67

“What we are saying then is that the sequence of shots “in depth” of the contemporary director does not exclude the use of montage – how could he, without reverting to a primitive babbling? – he makes it an integral part of his “plastic.” pp67

“This is why depth of field is not just a stock in trade of the cameraman… it is a capital gain in the field of direction – a dialectical step forward in the history of film language.” pp67

neorealism tends to give back to the cinema a sense of the ambiguity of reality” pp69

“The sound film nevertheless did preserve the essentials of montage, namely, discontinuous description and the dramatic analysis of action. What it turned its back on was metaphor and symbol in exchange for the illusion of objective presentation.”pg70

“it draws from it the secret of the regeneration of realism in storytelling and thus of becoming capable once more of bringing together real time, in which things exist, along with the duration of the action, for which classical editing had insidiously substituted mental and abstract time.” pp70

“In other words, in the silent days, montage evoked what the director wanted to say; in the editing of the 1938, it described it. Today we can say that at last the director writes in film.” pg 71


Readings: Creating the Sound Design

Alten, S. 1994, Creating the Sound Design, Audio in media, (p266-286). Belmont: Wadsworth


Sound provides cognitive information and affective information.

Sound can be grouped into three categories: music, sounds, and speech.

The basic components of sound structure include pitch, loudness, timbre, tempo, rhythm, attack, duration, and decay


“Speech has basically two functions, narration and dialogue, and conveys meaning primarily through emphasis, inflection, and aural mood.” pg 268


Direct Narration – describes what is being seen or heard

Indirect Narration– gives further information while the action in the scene speaks for itself

Contrapuntal narration – as the term suggests, counterpoints narration and action to make a composite statement not explicitly carried in either element.

Although the particular narrational approach depends on the script, understanding the influences of narration on content in general results in a better-conceived sound design.

Other elements of speech:




Aural Mood of Words and Sentences

– “The second sentence contains rounder, gentler sounds that provide less of a sonic complement to the verbal meaning.” pp270


Contextual sounds

Narrative Sound

– Descriptive sound

– Commentative sound – can also describe but it makes an additional statement

The effects of sound effects: defining space, establishing locale, creating environment, emphasizing and intensifying action, depicting identity, setting pace, providing counterpoint, symbolizing meaning, and unifying transition.

Defining Space – sound defines space by establishing distance, direction of movement, position, openness, and dimension.

Establishing Locale

Creating Environment

Emphasizing Action

Intensifying Action

Depicting Identity

Setting Pace

Providing Counterpoint

Symbolizing Meaning

Unifying Transition

– overlapping occurs when the sound used at the end of one scene continues, without pause, into the next scene.

– A lead-in occurs when the audio that introduces a scene is heard before the scene actually begins.

– A segue


– linear sound provides melody and rhythm; simultaneous sound provides harmony and texture.

Melody– Melody is a succession of pitched musical tones of varied durations.

– Generally, if a melody moves in narrowly pitched steps and ranges, it tends to be expressive and emotional. If it moves in widely pitched steps and ranges, it tends to be conservative and unexpressive.

Harmony – is a simultaneous sounding of two or more tones

consonance in music is produced by agreeable, settled, balanced, stable-sounding chords. dissonance is produced by unsettled, unstable, unresolved, tense-sounding chords.

Dynamic Range 

Crescendo – changes sound level from quiet or moderate to loud.

Diminuendo – changes level from loud to soft

Tremolo– a rapidly repeated ampliude modulation


– style is a fixed, identifiable musical quality uniquely expressed, executed, or performed.


– It is music’s unique and universal language and vast vocabulary that make is so widely applicable in aural communication.  pp 276

– establishing locale

– emphasizing action

– intensifying action

– depicting identity

-setting pace

– providing counterpoing

– unifying transition

– fixing time

– recalling or foretelling events

– evoking atmosphere, feeling, or mood


– But is the pauses or silences between words, sounds and musical notes that help to create rhythm, contrast, and power- elements important to sonic communication.


When discussing the sound-picture relationship there are five relationships:

1. Sound parallels picture

2. Sound defines picture

3. Picture defines ound

4. Sound and picture define effect

5. Sound counterpoints picture

sound parallels picture – neither the aural nor the visual element is dominant. In other words, what you see is what you hear.

sound defines picture – when sound defines picture, not only is audio dominant, but it also often determines the point of view.

picture degines sound –  Picture helps to define sound by calling attention to particular actions or images

sound and picture define effect – when sound and picture define effect, the aural and visual elements are different, yet complementary.

Sound counterpoints picture – when sound counterpoints picture, both elements contain unrelated information that creates an effect of meaning not suggested by either element alone.


The school of documentarists producing in the cinema verite style record life without imposing upon it; production values do not motivate or influence content.

– microphone selection and placement could be designed to emphasize a harsh cutting sound suggesting an insensitivity toward the poor… All of these approaches to the sound design enhance overall impact and meaning without compromising the cinema verite style.

Readings: Sound Design

Alten, S 1994, Sound design, Audio in media, pp5-11, Belmont: Wadsworth

– Mainly useful for understanding the different elements of sound and how to achieve the desired effect you wish to communicate. 

In sound, the emotion communicates the idea, which is more direct and therefore more powerful. All sound possesses a quality which communicates a specific emotion or idea to the listener.

Sound crew select and operate microphones, operate the production consol, production recording, producing and recording sound effects, producing music, recording and re-recording dialogue, editing, and mixing.


Microphones can affect the tonal quality of a sound source.

If a mic is situated close to people speaking it can create an intimate, warm sound. Father away could create a sense of distance and, perhaps, coolness.



-highness or lowness of a sound

– high pitched sound often suggests something delicate, bright, or elevated.

– low pitched sound may indicate something sinister, strong, or peaceful.


Loudness or softness.

Loudness- closeness, strength, importance.

Softness- distance, weakness, tranquility


the charactersitic tonal quality of a sound.

Identifies sound source- reedy, brassy, tympanic

Identified sonic qualities – rich, this, edgy, metallic.


The speed of a sound – fast tempos can agitate, excite or accelerate; slow tempos may suggest monotony, dignity, or control.


sonic time pattern – can be simple, constant, complex, or changing.

simple rhythm can convey deliberateness, regularity, or a lack of complication.

Constant can convey dullness, depression, or uniformity.


the way sound begins – hard, soft, crips, or gradual.


How long a song lasts


how fast a sound fades from a certain loudness.


Sound design represents the overall artistic styling of the sonic fabric in an audio production.” pp5

“If you are not listening, sound remains part of the environment; it does not become part of your consciousness.” pp7

“The more significant elements common to all sounds include pitch, volume, timbre, tempo, rhythm, duration, attack, and decay.” pp10

Readings: The Lens of Fear

Altheide, D 2002, ‘The Lens of Fear’, in Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis’, Aldine De Gruyter, New York, pp. 175-198

Altheide argues the pervasive nature of Fear through Media in modern day society. Using an analogy of the Lighthouse which once gave sailors exactly as much information as they needed for safety, in the modern era we have so much access to information that we are ‘blinded’ by it so as not to be able to recognise what is actually required for us to conduct our individual lives in a reasonable manner.

Altheide explores Danger, Risk and Fear. Danger is a qualitative element – it is or it isn’t dangerous. Risk is a quantitative element – How dangerous is it? Both Danger and Risk are elements of general interest

Fear is an orientation to the world.  It is atmosphere and emotion. Fear is a private interest which is cultivated by mass media.

Fear’s evolution from Religion offering salvation, to governments offering security. There has also been the increase in information communicated which has coincided with the reduction in real threats.


“…the focus of media attention has taken a toll on our ability to see our way clearly.” pp 175

Fear is an orientation to the world. God and organized religion provided salvation from fear in a sacred society. The state and formal social control promise salvation from fear in our secular society.” pp 176

“…popular culture has been the key element in promoting the discourse of fear.” pp 177

“However, it is not just “fear of crime” or a particular thing, but rather a sense or an identity that we are all actual or potential victims held in common by many people.”

“… identity, social context, perceptions, and social definitions are very relevant for how safe people feel.” (Farral et al. 2000; Ven der Wurff, Van Stallduinen, and Stringer 1989)

“… the techniques and exclusions by which which those objects are constituted a danger persists.” (Campbell 1998,13)

“It is the fear of the “other” that we anticipate; we see numerous reports about very atypical occurrences, but we see them night after night.” pp178

“Cultural and political contexts contributed to the emergence of fear as a perspective that pervades everyday life. A massive expansion of electronic media outlets overlapped historically with unprecendented consumer growth and Gross National Product, te decline of “real” international threats, and conservative political agendas that used crime and especially drug-related issues to gain political legitimacy.” pp179

“…as audiences were transformed into markets. Involvement in the public realm increasingly shifted to mass-mediated information emphasizing fear and crises.” pp179

“… In this way, the state project of security replicates the church project of salvation. The state grounds it legitimacy by offering salvation to its followers who, it says, would otherwise be destined to an unredeemed death.” (Campbell 1998, 50)

“There can be no fear without actual victims or potential victims. In the post-modern age, victim is a status and represntation and not merely a person or someone who has suffered as a result of some personal, social, or physical calamity.” pp 180

[Discussing religion] “… an ambiguous situation arose in which there was (and is) a demand for external guarantees inside a culture that has erased the ontological preconditions for them.” (Ashley 1989, 303)

“… conservative political agendas have benefited from joining fear and victim with crime control agendas, the issue is much bigger, particularly the relationship between fear and every-day life culture.” pp 182

“group sense” … “These boundaries occur through institutional processes that are grounded in everyday situations and encounters, including language, discourse, accounts, and conversation” pp 182

“…the mass media, social control, and surveilance are connected is that common perspectives and communication styles are involved. They are coproducers, and if the images that they are promoting are inaccurate and individually or socialy destructive, then they are involved in mass-mediated terrorism, which was defined earlier as “the purposeful act or threat of violence to create fear and/or complaint behaviour in a victim and or audience of the act or threat” (Lopez and Stohl 1984) pp185

“…our risk society is a feature of people having more information about risks and then acting on this information by either seeking more information, avoiding activities, or demanding protection.” pp187

“All must recognise their constitutive weakness or, better, recognise that by their very existence they are a risk to others. Each individual must bed to the imperatives of group solidarity.” pp188

“The term prevention does not indicate simply a practice based on the maxim than an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but also the assumption that if prevention is necessary it is because danger exists.” pp 188

“… the problem frame which promotes risk and danger as fear.” pp188

fear is a fundamentally different psychological experience than perceived risk. While risk entails a cognitive judgement, fear is far more emotive in character. Fear activates a series of complex bodily changes aletting the actor to the possibility of danger. (Ferraro 1995. 95) (pp188)

“Fear produces victims and reinforces the notion that everyone is actually or potentially a victim.” pp189

“Fear, after all, is a perspective that is learned from others. Except for exceptional and pathological instances, we become what our salient “others” model and affirm for us.” pp191

“stereotypes are easy to accept even when they are false” pp 195

“When it comes to violence, media stories may unintentionally form public images of right and wrong… …formatting of violent accounts may be constructing social opinion rather than reflecting it.” pp195

“Social fears are related to personal fears in complex ways. Unraveling the reltaionships for specific fears is an avowedly psychoanalytical task that has been largely neglected, thus opening up another opportunity for social researchers. For example. fear of crime may be connected to certain compulsive behaviours, paranoia, and so forth, but these are now sanctioned by public officials as reasonable prudent, responsible, and even intelligent activities.” pp195