Time to face the music

An image of Pro Tools at work. It goes hand in hand with AVID Media Composer

Sound in film cannot be underestimated. Sound effects within films add to the realism of the images going on screen. In essence sound effects help us accept what we see in films, whether those sound effects are created by said action or not.

Sound effects and dialogue are important in order to give a world substance. They are diegetic – come from the world we are trying to create, and are recognised by the characters in that world. We know that when an explosion goes off in a film, the characters react not just to the sight of it, but also the sound. Non-diegetic sound however, is different. It’s the music and such that is added to the story in order to emphasise the emotional and energetic aspects of the film.

Music can fill us with anything. For example, Gary Jules’s Mad World lends a sense of helplessness and depressive-ness for the film Donnie Darko. Likewise, the music for Resident Evil (the film) is full of energetic rock tracks, mirroring Alice’s ability and tendency to kick ass. Even the scene in Kick Ass, with the Banana Splits by The Dickies underscores both the energy that Hit Girl shows, along with her younger age.

Some films have an orchestra. I only have a guy that can play the triangle (me). Badly at that!

Overall, a soundtrack to a film is vitally important to a film. It’s one of the last things to be edited and if done right, can really invoke a lot of energy into a film. It’s the icing on a cake. This is no lie.

The rights to music though, have to be properly dealt with. Say for example the BNP using Kaiser Chief’s I Predict a Riot for one of their promotional videos. There’s always ways to get music for your films though, and still be able to show them publicly – such as do the music yourself, find a friend and corner work with them to get a suitable piece of music, or you could always purchase the rights from music sites, such as Jamendo.


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