Email thread – feedback

Sent from myself to Kenny on 29th September:
Draft 1: The project aim is to find the link between sound design in cinema and the way in which it affects an audient emotionally.  The goal is to find out if this element of cinema creates an emotional connection with the viewer psychologically, and how this affects the immersion of the film as a whole.  This will be recorded using both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the audient.

 
Draft 2: Sound design plays a vital part in cinema.  Sound design makes up the soundtracks of cinema excluding the music, so this includes ambience, sound effects and any extra sounds the sound designer feels necessary to add to enhance the film and add to the immersion for the audience members.  Most people don’t connect as much consciously with sound design, and I would like to highlight the immersion that it brings to people sub-consciously.  I plan on taking several scenes from various films, which I feel excel in exceptional sound design, and playing them for an audience, to then comment and complete a questionnaire about.  I want to see what specific elements of sound design evoke certain feelings in the audience.  I will show these scenes to several people of varying gender and age to get an accurate representation, which will be highlighted at the beginning of the questionnaire.”
Reply from Kenny on 29 September:
“1. No real context or problem – why study this? The way your question is written, isn’t the answer obviously yes? I can point you to several films (some of which we studied last year) where the sound design has emotional impact. What other more nuanced questions might you ask about sound design in film that would give you something to investigate?

2. This is better – certainly going in the right direction. A little too personal, though – try to avoid writing in the first person. The way that this draft is written, it sounds like all you’re going to do is grab some films, show them to an audience and ask them some questions. Where does your practice fit in? If this is a first step, and you plan to identify good practice in sound design with a view to carrying it out in your own short film or animation, then great, but otherwise, why? What are you going to use this information to do?”
Sent from myself to Kenny on 16th October:
“Hey Kenny, this is the third draft of my project aim, just wondering if you had any pointers for me before the feedback week meeting next Thursday, just so I am prepared. Thanks in advance.

‘Sound design plays a vital part in cinema.  Sound design includes ambience, sound effects and any extra sounds the sound designer feels necessary to add to enhance the film and add to the immersion for the audience members.  Manipulating real life sounds in a digital audio workstation creates many of these sounds.  Most people don’t connect as much consciously with sound design as they do with music, and I would like to highlight the immersion sound design brings to people sub-consciously.  I plan on taking scenes from films, which I feel excel in exceptional sound design, and playing them for an audience, to then comment and complete a questionnaire about.  I want to see what specific elements of sound design evoke certain feelings in the audience.  I will use the results to create an accurate database of what sound design elements can evoke certain feelings within an audience member, to be used to help sound designers in the future as well as myself.'”
Sent from myself to Kenny on 10th November:
“Hi there Kenny I was wondering if you could have a look at my project aim as it is just so I know if there is anything else that I should add or take away just before this hand in in two weeks.

Sound design and ambient sounds plays a vital role in films but most people overlook it.  They only listen to the music in the soundtrack.  I want to bring conscious attention to the ambient sound and sound design elements of cinema for the modern audience, as I feel it brings a lot of immersion to the audience sub-consciously.  I will screen what I think are excellent examples of ambient sound and sound design and ask a questionnaire on how if makes the audience members feel.  I want to highlight which sound design techniques and styles evoke certain emotions in the audience, which can be used by people in the future to create sound design or ambient sounds to evoke certain feelings.”
Thanks Kenny, Regards, Danny”
Reply from Kenny on 10th November:
“Is it really fair to say that most people ‘only listen to the music in the soundtrack’? This assumes that: the sound design and ambience isn’t part of the soundtrack (it is), and that people don’t listen to it (they do). I think maybe what you mean is that people aren’t consciously aware of the effect that it has – it’s the unsung hero of the film?

With that in mind, then, why do you want to draw attention to it? Back to that idea of something like special effects in film – once you start to become aware of them, the film isn’t working properly. If you’re aware of the sound design, the sound design isn’t working the way it should.
Why not just make this a project that explores effective sound design and sets out to explore how it works on a subconscious level to create the sort of immersion that you’re talking about without the viewer being consciously aware of it?”

 

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