How important is the sound actually in films?
It is fascinating to observe that even among the professionals, the various trades follow an apparently unspoken hierarchy. The people from the picture, for example the cameraman, the stunt crew or the prop master, enjoy a higher status compared to the sound engineer on the set. Even amateurs find working on the camera more fascinating than working on the boom.
This perception does not change in postproduction either. The special FX people from the CGI and 3D sector have a better reputation than the sound engineer in the studio. In all making-of videos the work is shown on the set in front of the greenbox or on the computer in the 3D department.
Very rarely is anything reported from audio editing. So you might get the idea that the sound actually doesn’t contribute as much to the overall work as the elaborate work on the picture. A weighting of 70/30 perhaps?
If you have now come to the same conclusion, I would like to ask you the following question: “You buy CDs or streams of music without a picture, but how many films have you watched without sound?
You buy CDs or stream music without pictures, but how many movies have you watched without sound?
At the latest after this question it is clear: A film without sound simply doesn’t work. And it goes even further, the sound can replace complex film recordings and tell parts of the story.
But one after the other. When we look at the two senses in detail, we notice the following. I can close my eyes when I have had enough, or don’t want to see something. It’s a conscious decision to turn off the light in the evening and close my eyes when I want peace and quiet and go to sleep. In this way I exclude the visual stimuli of the environment. So our brain no longer has to process the visual impulses and can concentrate on other things.
It doesn’t work on our ears, I’m afraid. We cannot close our ears and “lock out” our surroundings or turn off the sound. The ears are always set to receive and so it is up to the brain to filter what is important and what is not. The brain does all the work. When my children are absorbed in the game and I call them, nothing happens at all. No twitching. No reaction.
There is plenty of literature that says that in this case you shouldn’t just call, but go up to the children and tap them to get them out of the game, then you can hear again. 🙂
This mechanism works unconsciously when hearing. Since the ears are set 100% to reception around the clock, a lot is filtered out even in adults in everyday life and only little information is allowed for conscious perception.
And this is also the magic of the sound, which is used in the film and opens a complete channel to the viewer, in which you can “cheat” something.