TASK walk down a crowded street, market or mall and listen to the way the sounds come and go. If you can, record sound on your phone or a small recorder as you do this.

Compare this with standing in one place and listening to the sounds that you pick up.

Upload it to an audio site such as SoundCloud or Audioboom

Have a listen to other people’s sound posts and sketch the mental picture which is built up.

Just as visual features in a period piece need to be accurate, or at least credible, for the viewer, so too does the sound. Danny explains how the authentic sounds were captured to use for the racing cars inRush (2013).

Towards the end of the clip, Danny talks about mixing those authentic sounds with other audio elements to get the right atmosphere for the car races in the film, which then add to the excitement and help with the dramatic intentions of each scene while still being believable to the Formula One fan. Many sound details were added, such as the metallic mechanical vibration, the rain falling on the cars and the tyres through water. These elements can create a rich texture to the sound mix, but also help the audience perceive volume or “loudness” (an audio light and shade).

Some additional elements can also enhance the sound in a subliminal way. For instance, in Rush, the Ferrari start up has an animal roar and an explosion mixed into it. In modern sound editing many recorded sound fx are enhanced by sounds that have no direct connection with what is seen on screen.

Can you think of an example in a film, where this has been done and you are aware of the additional non-naturalistic sound fx that have been mixed into the real sounds?”

It is also interesting to note that it would be hard for the audience to listen to the full volume of an actual Formula One race in a cinema for any length of time, without it dulling their senses and detracting from the story and emotions within the film (and probably annoying many of them!).

Can you think of any films where a sound that you thought wasn’t accurate detracted (or distracted you) from the film?


YouTube Video


YouTube Video

Danny argues that “what gives something reality is often the sound”, although the sound itself does not have to be “real”. This sound often helps give the animated characters and objects weight, while connecting them to their animated surroundings.

How far do you think this is true?

Try watching a clip of animation, with and without sound to see how it works.


Music is a very important component of a film, in that it can provide what Mike Figgis calls ‘the essential psychology of a film…a psychological backbone’.

There are essentially three options for music in film

• use existing tracks (like pop songs)

• use library music (‘mood’ tracks composed for general use)

• use a composer (who will work with the director)

What do you think are the potential advantages and disadvantages of each of these choices?

John Keane discusses the role of music in film. He discusses the delicate balance between the music and what is on screen.

The scene from Witness (1985) which he describes, is shown here. Taking the scene out of context, the music may appear to overwhelm the action.


Harrison Ford plays a newly arrived outsider in the Amish community. Does knowing this about the star’s character change the meaning of the music?

Music may reinforce the visuals, build on them to add new meanings or sometimes even purposely act to contradict what is shown on screen.

The Hill Farm was the graduation film of Mark Baker from the NFTS who went on to create Peppa Pig.

This is the second sound-related task this week, and the final practical task in the course.

Before you watch The Hill Farm in full, we are going to give you a short clip without the original sound.

In the clip, the tourists go into a cave where the bear is sleeping.

You are going to create your own soundtrack for it.

There are two options - no tech and low tech!


Option 2 - no tech

If you have no facility for adding sound, we want you to write about what sound you would use at various points of the clip and describe that sound as best you can.

Option 1 - with software

If you have software (such as Garageband or Audacity), we’d like you to download the clip (use the links just below the video player) and create the sound effects for it. Then upload your finished version of the clip with sound to a video sharing site, and share the link below.

Whichever method you use, write a short explanation of your choices. Then look at what other people have made or described and give them some feedback.

The Hill Farm (Baker, 1989)