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Half of the Film

50 Percent of What Makes a Good Film Great is Audio By Miles Weston
"You spend time 'listening' to movies, not just watching them," Woody Woodhall of Allied Post Audio told me recently.  "Great sound can make a film award worthy; bad sound can make it feel like an amateur cable production."

His comment reminded me of the time I was invited to see Gravity at the Dolby Theater.   I closed my eyes and could "feel" the air sucked out of me because of how effectively Atmos audio tech had been used.

Woody cited a recent project with Chris Smith, Movies in Space, that was winning awards on the festival circuit.  He explained that very little of the audio captured on the set or in the field is saved or used except for the dialog recordings. Instead, it is replaced, enhanced, embellished to make the story stronger.

I didn't know that!

He said audio folks practice what he calls the invisible art replacing sounds and mixing in post production.  Their objective is to produce just the right effect for the viewer that he says is sometimes hard to explain.

Painting Aurally - Woody Woodhall, Allied Post Audio, carefully works with audio settings to create audio images that complement and enhance the video portion of a film project.  Just the right sound tracks can make scary things scarier and happy moments happier.  It takes a gentle touch, a well-trained ear and just the right balance of creative and technical work during the audio post to creatively and effectively tell the story.  

"You just know when it comes together to deliver what the produce/director wanted the viewer to experience," he said.  

Woodhall cited his recent interview with the sound team of The Revenant for PVC (Pro Video Coalition), saying that sound provides the feeling, pace and enveloping universe for the filmic experience.  

Suddenly I have a whole new respect for the time and care these professionals take to create a world - especially an "escape" world - of sound.  

Makes me want to spend more time studying the credits at the end of the films instead of getting up and leaving or flipping to a new screen.

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Undercover author Miles Weston has spent more than 30 years in the storage, software and video industry, indulging in, among other things, marketing activities in promoting PC, CE, communications, content technology and their applications . Contact Miles through his editor by clicking here.

Related Keywords:filmmaking, audio, storage


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