Module 7. Soundtrack Design



Evaluation Criteria:

Integrate the sound and image into a multimedia, audiovisual or radio program, applying the expressive resources of the sound language and relating its possibilities of articulation and combination according to the types of recipients.

Evaluative Learning Standards: 

1.1. Being able to specify the functional, expressive and communicative value of the sound resources used in the construction of the soundtrack of an audiovisual or radiophonic production.

1.2. Being able to recognize the technological and expressive contributions that sound contributed in the process of transformation from silent movies to sound films.

1.3. Being able to identify the specific resources of sound language used in its construction of the soundtrack of an audiovisual production.

1.4. Being able to differentiate the structural, expressive and functional characteristics of the radio genres, from the analysis of the programming grids of different radio stations.

1.5. Being able to elaborate through digital applications the soundtrack of a simple or multimedia audiovisual product and a radio program, responding to its communicative requirements.

1.6. Being able to analyze and evaluates the audio description and subtitling products of audiovisual and multimedia works for the attention to the visual and auditory disability.


Analysis of the expressive fundamentals of sound.

We are not going to analyze the expressiveness of Music, which is very complex, but we do use sound in audiovisual productions. Incorporating sound to the moving image is something that did not happen from the beginning of cinematography. We have not even been a hundred years with the sound films and, although it seems a lot to you, it is not a big thing if we compare it with the whole history of art, especially the theater. So at the beginning the actors and filmmakers used only the action, the representation and the titles included in the scenes (intertitles). It was more cinematic and visual. When in 1927 the sound was synchronized with the image, a new era of cinema began. Before there could be sound at the time of the movie, but only that. It was a pianist or a group of musicians playing at the time, a jukebox playing at the time, but it was not incorporated to the tape and it was not even to the image. Although they were true wonders, it is not the sound that we are going to work. Optical sound was added to the film after many attempts since the 1910s, not becoming standardized until the 1930s. After this introduction, let's go to the topic. The sounds of an audiovisual product can be classified into three: dialogues, ambient sound (noise) and music. Everything is the same for the movie player, but not for us. So we must take pains to give a correct layer to each one of them. Always the dialogue in the foreground, the Music in first when it is central or in second when it is accompaniment and the ambient sound in the background, except when it is necessary to highlight it (or when it stands out itself, as with an alarm signal, so noisy). Once we have seen the planes and the possible sounds that we will have to incorporate into the audiovisual work, we have to see their expressive function. Mainly it will have a dramatic and informative function, incorporating the information that is necessary to us to understand the plot and the plot. But even the noises will help. Let's not just stay in the word. Try to watch a movie (at least a fragment) in a language you do not know and try to understand what is explained by the dialogues and what by the actions (including also the music and the ambient sound). On the other hand (and this is very typical of video clips, but not exclusive to them), sound helps just as images to create a communicative structure, mainly by rhythm, but not only, since we can count on the narrative structure of a musical work and also with the natural evolution of a sound.

Expressive contributions of sound in the transformation of the silent film to the sound.

The beginning of the sound was the end of many careers of silent film actors who could not or did not manage to adapt to the new cinema. The main attraction of the sound for the first audience was to replace the intertitles with the real dialogues. The simple translation of an image into the different languages ​​became the way to subtitles, on the one hand, and dubbing, on the other. Later, with more quality, the Music went from the credit titles to being the protagonist of the first musicals of the cinema. And finally, the use of the sound effect helped make the films closer to the experience of living the story. It's environmental sound that helped the most. The dialogue could be read in the posters of the intertitles and the Music could be done live in the cinema, but bring the sound of the street, of a herd of animals running, of an airplane flying over the heads. .. that yes that was cinema.

Functional and expressive values of intensity, tone and timbre.

The elements of the sound are five: duration, intensity, timbre, height and space. Each of them will be able to be used in the cinema, regardless of whether we are using dialogues, sounds or music. The duration allows us to focus on the structure and timing of the scene. The intensity acts as a claim, both the high and the low. The timbre refers to a property that allows us to identify a specific sound. For example, recognize the voice of an actor and not confuse it with another, recognize an instrument or any source of sound. The height is closely related to music and musical notes, but also serves to understand a message, if it is enunciated in a shrill or authoritative and serious voice. Finally, the space, the origin of the sound. The space for the sound in the cinema of our time (also in the stereo) is very important, with the rooms locating the sound sources where it corresponds.

Adaptation of music and sounds to the expressive intentions of audiovisual messages. Sound function in a montage.

Music and sound, like the image, should be a vehicle for audiovisual messages that we want to offer the viewer. This will lead us in some cases to use topics (soft music for romantic scenes and quick action scenes). But there are also other means to achieve the same effect. For example, through audio and ambient sound; through the dialogue and the tones of the actors and using recognizable themes as a leitmotif. The sound serves as the guiding thread in the assembly. As we talked about in the sessions dedicated to animation, we saw that in the original version the dialogues are recorded to then use the rhythm and duration of these as a guideline of what is going to be drawn and animated (position of the characters, of the mouths and their expressions). In the same way sound allows us to create emotions in the viewer. For example, if there is an explosion, the sound is advanced a second or less to anticipate what is going to happen and thus the effect is accentuated.

Application of the time-space dimensions of sound to the construction of soundtracks.

When a composer of soundtracks has the function of accompanying the film with his Music, he must be guided by the rhythms and times of the film. It is not enough to have an idea of what the argument is like, to have spoken with the director, the scriptwriter and the producer to get his approval or to have a memorable song that will make the spectators associate him with the film. It is necessary to have the complete work (at least the main scenes assembled) to have "time maps" that are images on the screen with a huge dot each time something has to sound and a bar that goes from left to right to that the director can bring the correct tempo of the Music and fall into the "cue" or track.

Rhythm. Fidelity. Synchronism. Diegetic and non-diegetic sound.

As we have seen, the rhythm is generated with the images in the scenes, but the internal rhythm can be encouraged, even created with Music and sounds. For this we must choreograph the sound and its coordination with the images. We synchronize the sound with the scene and the action of it. The distinction between diegetic and non-diegetic, as we saw, is a key element of sound in the scene. If it sounds from a source that the characters can hear, the sound is diegetic and if it is ambient for the viewer and the characters can not hear it, it is non-diegetic.

Techniques of construction of the soundtrack. The sound in the multimedia.

When the soundtrack is created, if there is not much budget, you are confident that the author of the Music will be able to create some memorable moment and do his job in the best possible way. It always goes with the budget very tight in a small production, so this confidence and conversations with the scriptwriter and the director should be enough to create something fairly decent. In a large production, it should not be like that. A director would have to sit down with the composer and give his opinion of what he wants to achieve at each moment. And that can be a job that is equal to the execution of a technical script. Afterwards, the final result is recorded with sufficient means at the height of the production itself. Another issue is multimedia production. In some honorable cases, the same author has knowledge of Music and creates his own setting. In others, the use of known works, on which reproduction rights are obtained and in less advantageous situations, is resorted to works of free or open rights. In all cases, there will be more or less success, according to the expertise of the editor.

Processes for the production of audio description and subtitling products.

Self-description refers to the use of texts that serve to explain what the audiovisual production itself may require as an explanation. They can be posters in the style of the silent cinema (intitulación), a "track" of special subtitles or any "pop-up" that we can incorporate in the style of YouTube. The subtitles, in this case, serve to translate what is said without changing the audio or, in certain films, to incorporate phrases or posters in languages other than the main one and not have to translate them, always with artistic and ambience purposes.


Radio genres.

The radio genres can be classified in two, depending on their function. The first is the news, as a means of transmitting news, and the second is entertainment. Nowadays, even the genre of news can be seen as a part of entertainment and not to see it as something less than pure information genre. Within the entertainment, we must see the genres of radio programs, especially the music programs, but also the variety ones, with brief news (of any kind), opinion sections, social gathering, listener participation, contests, musical spaces, interviews, etc. Finally there is a series of cultural programs in which the interview is the central core, but also include reports on a topic.

Punctuation marks on the radio: tuning, curtain, burst and musical beat.

Radio, even though it is only a sound medium, also uses sound and music as an effect, similar to audiovisual productions. The first is the syntony, the recognizable music that opens the program before the contents. We can find it also at the end of the program. The curtain is a short musical piece or sound effect that gives way to the different sections. The burst has a similar function to the curtain, but for its brevity it can serve within a same section to separate two parts or to give a rest to the speaker. If the curtain serves as the point and apart (even a chapter change), the burst would be a point and followed. The musical hit would be to create an effect (wake-up call), a comma or an exclamation.

The radio script and the time-script.

A radio script is not very different from a script of an audiovisual medium, saving the obvious difference of not having to record images. For the rest, it is a technical script in itself. Mainly they are literary with technical indications and passage to the different sections. In this case, they will be open, facing the dramatizations, which are scripts just like in a movie or a play. They tend to be two columns (like a runway) and are usually called Europeans, unlike the American column, more typical of cinema.