Audio, Audio, Audio

This week is all about audio, and how it plays a large part in storytelling. Audio is used in films and other forms of media for added effect. Remember those dramatic scenes in your favorite movie, and the emotion that they provoked? Would those same scenes evoke the same emotion if they lacked the dramatic music in the background? I don’t think so. Audio I think is an effect that we take for granted sometimes.  We hear tons and tons of different noises each and every day, whether it’s sitting through class, watching a movie, listening to music, or hearing conversations. But what is so great about these noises is that our brain is able to quickly filter these noises and pick out only the ones that are the most important to us.  For instance, as I type this post, I hear the sounds of my fingers typing on the keyboard, the hum of the speakers not playing any music, the air conditioning cooling the room.  We are so used to these white noises, that when they are absent, we get this uncomfortable feeling, and are preparing for the worst.

Audio plays an integral role in specifically horror stories.  The “screeching” staccato notes of the strings and sometimes piano create a chilling effect that makes your hair stand on end.  The audio is essentially creating the atmosphere for the film to build on.  The audio is the real star of horror stories.

However, there are some times where there is no audio whatsoever.  For example, audio might be left out of hard-hitting interviews with famous people who are revealing a scandal or are confessing to something they have done in their past.  Eliminating the audio makes it seem more of a reality; these celebrities that are always in the limelight are actually real people, that make mistakes.  When audio is taken out of a clip, it tends to catch the audience’s attention, because something in their surroundings changed.

The use of audio is so powerful, that it can actually tell a story in itself, without the need for a visual aid, or commentary.  Take the Sound Effects Story assignment for example.  We all were tasked with creating a story using only sound effects.  Sounds can be very powerful when layered together. As a standalone, single sound may not sound like much, but when added to the whole, it can be a crucial part of a storyline.  Another great example of audio use is in the story “Moon Graffiti“.  While listening to this, I had chills and actually felt emotions toward the characters.  By layering sounds together, the producers were very effective in evoking an emotion in the listeners.

Moon Graffiti:

 

On the Radio

DS106 radio is another place and resource that uses sound effects to tell stories.  When listening to ds106 radio this week, we heard stories about possessed technology, and frozen monsters.  If someone had just narrated these stories, they would probably be the most boring thing you’ve heard this week. Since the stories use sound effects to help tell their story, it holds the listener’s attention and keeps you wanting more when it’s over.

After live tweeting the stories from Wednesday night, I thought the first story (frozen monster) had great sound effects, but I thought there could have been better dialogue and a more developed storyline.  I really liked the plot of the second story (possessed technology), but thought that the sounds were very old-fashioned, and kind of repetitive.  Overall, the effects of both stories added to the overall sense of atmosphere and place.