Absract and Introduction

Abstract – The aim of this project was to see if I could identify any inherent links between particular sound elements within a soundtrack, and the emotions that the audience members feel when hearing them.  The report contains a literature review, in depth description of the project, the results and findings of the project as well as the methodology used within the project.  I am hoping to find that the soundtrack alone can make audience members feel particular emotions without the same visual stimuli as is normally needed, by creating several soundtracks to the same piece of media, and figure out how this can be used effectively in the future for personal and professional development.


Introduction – According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the first film was the Roundhay Garden Scene, a 2.11 second motion picture created by Louis Le Prince in 1888. It was the first piece of media to show consecutive movement.  This phenomenon wowed audiences, and evolved into what we know as silent films, where audiences could gather and spectate whilst a musical accompaniment was played alongside a motion picture film.  This became the norm until the Alan Crosland’s film, Don Juan, was released in 1926, being the first to be released with a fully synchronised Vitaphone (sound-on-disc) soundtrack including sound effects.  One year later, Crosland released The Jazz Singer, the first movie that featured recorded dialogue.  Its opening line of dialogue; “Wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothing yet!” has been harked as one of the best movie lines in history, based on the context that no one in the audience had heard speech coming from a movie screen before.  Although only approximately two minutes featured synchronised speech, this was a breakthrough in film and made history.  In 1929, Jack Foley – a pioneer in film sound – did the first ever Foley recording session for the Harry Pollard film Showboat.  Foley recording sessions, named after the man himself, involve creating the sound effects for a film sequence in real time to sync up the audio and visuals perfectly in real time with the media.  It was this that brought the sound film into a whole new level in terms of immersion for the audience, and everything became a lot more real.  Suddenly when characters took a step we heard their footstep, when they turned around quickly we heard their jacket in the wind, when they closed a door we heard the wooden slam synchronised perfectly.  This level of detail kept evolving to include grandiose soundtracks of orchestral music, ambient sounds of minute detail and fantastical sound design.  Sound design, the art of identifying, acquiring and manipulating audio to fit its need is debatably one of the absolute most important important parts when creating a movie, an unsung hero of cinema.  Sound design and foley creates the synchresis necessary to keep the audience fully immersed in the movie.  This brings the visual pieces of art to an audio-visual experience instead.  This project aims to decipher if the sound designer can make the audience feel particular emotions without the usual visual stimuli that would normally be present.  A selection of soundtracks will be created alongside an animation to see if there is an inherent link between the emotional reactions and sounds that are heard.


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