Sound Thinking – Is it important?
A new series featuring famous quotations from the film and video business
This week we are introducing the first in our series of short clips about famous quotes from the world of film and video production. The first clip is embedded here from Twitter, but you can also catch it on our YouTube channel and now on our newly instigated Instagram channel.
Each of the clips will be about 30 to 60 seconds in duration and will feature an idea or concept that is relevant to the world of film and video. Here on our blog we will go into more detail and discuss the background and relevance of each of the quotations featured in each of the clips.
This is the first in a series of 20 to 30-sec shorts featuring famous quotations about movies, movie making and production. This week’s quote is about the importance of sound in film from George Lucas.
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— DomusVideo (@DomusVideo) May 21, 2019
This week’s ‘Q-Clip’
This week we feature a quotation from the great George Lucas, writer/director/producer of the ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ franchises amongst others; where he discusses the importance of sound in film.
Our ‘Q-Clip’ quote reads, ‘Sound is 50% of the experience;’ often misquoted as ‘Sound is half the picture’, but it still adds up to the same thing, that sound is really, really important when it comes to video and film production.
If you look at any of his major works you can see that he put as much money and thought into creating amazing soundscapes as he did into creating those powerful special effects. The word pioneer is rightly applied to his name but of course you are off to a good start, sound-wise at least, if you have a composer of the stature of John Williams on your side to chip in with one of his amazing iconic scores.
But Lucas was always adamant that they got the sound right. They’d work for weeks and often longer to get the tiniest sound right. Indeed this is just one of the reasons that the first couple of Star Wars films took between 4 and 5 years at a time to make. But think of Star Wars without R2-D2’s beeps, boops and whistles; or the breathing of Darth Vader, the distinctive thrum of the light sabres, etc., and you can see his point. Attention to sound pays off.
And Lucas is not alone in his thinking about sound.
How does this translate to corporate video production.
This fixation with sound has been around for a long time, and if you work in film and video production at any level today, you must have, pardon the pun, a ‘sound grasp‘ of the basics of good audio acquisition.
When I first started working in this business, an old sound engineer I worked with gave me a bit of his wisdom that has remained with me. He told me that …
People will watch a film with bad picture quality and good sound,
…but not the other way around!
Which basically translates to the fact that an audience will not watch a video with bad sound, even if it has good visual quality!
Its too hard to watch, it is too much hard work. As storytellers we must strive to grab attention; and when we do we must educate, entertain and inform. Distractions in any form, (and bad sound is one of the worst distractions,) will inevitably mean that your viewing audience has already moved on. We are after all in an era where the audience as critics has two critical modes when viewing videos. Those modes are either ‘Good’ or ‘Off;’ if it is good and can keep their attention, they will watch; otherwise they have moved on.
Good sound is a big part of the secret to keeping them on your side. This short example illustrates the point fairly well.
Its easy to get right – if you know what to do.
But good sound quality is easy enough to achieve. And with a little bit of thought and preparation your production sound can be as sweet as honey. Here at Domus Video we take great care to make sure that we have the best sound to work with.
In our next post we will show you how we do it.
Just havin’ a laugh!
To finish off, here is an entertaining video that illustrates what it is like to work as the sound man on a film set. The sound equipment can be highly sensitive, as can the directors, apparently! Enjoy.