The Art of Sound
June 11, 2018
Sound has the power to make or break a film…
If used correctly, what the audience hear can heighten a mood, emphasise emotional impact, establish location, and allow the audience to feel as though they themselves are in the scene. Choosing the correct music, voice over artist and sound effects are all as equally as important as filming at the right location and selecting the right cast.
The Perfect Beat
With so many styles of music to choose from; dance, folk, acoustic, pop, orchestral to name just a few, it can be quite the mind field deciding which (electric) avenue to go down. You may have fallen in love with a track, but is it the right fit for your film and your brand?
Music should add another layer to the audience’s experience. You want it to heighten their senses and draw out the emotion you want them to feel about the film, and your business. Visually, your film should already align with your brand, so the music should too. If the film is to promote a world-renowned golf course, it’s very unlikely you would use a heavy metal track, unless the aim is to be ironic of course!
Keepin’ it Real
Depending on the style of film, music may not be the best sound option. Using ‘real’ sounds captured from the environment, or sound effects, can be very effective in bringing the scenes to life for the viewer. In our series of films for tourism board, The Suffolk Coast, we used only natural sounds which complement the visuals the viewer is watching. Hearing birds tweet in the forest and waves break at sea all help in transporting the audience into the world they are watching on screen.
Sound, or lack of, can also build tension and create a feeling of suspense. For example, hearing a creaky floorboard, but not seeing anyone on screen, immediately builds anticipation as to what is going to happen. These sounds allow the imagination of the viewer to begin to wonder who, or what, caused the sound, adding to the suspense.
They say silence is golden and sometimes hearing nothing can be just as powerful as hearing sound effects or music. A sudden change from hectic music to silence can be a shock for the audience and aid in building up anticipation and tension.
Don’t worry, we’re not referring to the singing show!
Imagine watching a film that is dealing with a serious, hard hitting topic. Rather than hearing a non-descript voice over artist who adds gravitas to the content, you hear a light hearted, upbeat voice you may expect to hear on a commercial for your local supermarket. It just doesn’t feel right does it? Your attention is immediately drawn to this out of place voice and not the message that is being communicated.
Finding the right voice over artist can sometimes feel like a challenge, but it is a crucial one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Many voice over artists can change their style to suit different types of content. Be sure to listen to a number of examples of their work to decide if they can record the right voice for your film.
When choosing a voice over artist, there are few aspects to the voice you should consider:
- Are they male or female?
- What age range suits your film?
- What type of accent should they have?
- Will your target audience understand them?
- Does their tone of voice suite the message you want to communicate?
Choosing sound for your film shouldn’t be rushed or treated as an afterthought. It is simply another layer to be considered and thought about to create the best possible film for your needs, and your brand.