The sounds from the screen

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Sound, including music, dialogues, sound effects, ambient noise, background noise and soundtracks, has been an integral part of the movies since its arrival in this medium in the late 1920s. In fact, the first feature film originally presented as a talkie was ‘The Jazz Singer’, which premiered on October 6, 1927.

Madhu Apsara, the associate professor of the department of sound recording and design, at the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) said that sounds are crucial for a film so that they provide a feel of realism for the audiences. “Sounds and dialogues must perfectly sync with the actions in a cinema without any lag, and must resonate the way on-screen images look,” he added, further suggesting that sounds for better quality output is necessary wherever we feel the need.

The sound expert was delivering a lecture on the topic, ‘Sound and Music’ as part of the film appreciation session through the OTT platform at the 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India.

Apsara stated that being sensitive to sound is essential, especially to the natural and atmospheric sounds, as they add up to the narrative. He also emphasised on the need to check the microphone and ensure that not all sounds are put together, further noting that as required, sounds can be amplified as and where necessary.

“A sound recordist should pay attention to the recording equipment to yield better sound effects as each sound has an exclusive expression and no sound can be considered unworthy,” Apsara observed, stressing on the need for better sound design in order to achieve desired production effects.

Speaking further, Apsara maintained that it is not a good practice to mix all sounds together while editing. He also warned about the music, which can be conflicting with a situation or an occasion, stating that emotional movement is important and not the geography of the narrative at times.

“Experiencing the picture without missing the narrative is what matters,” Apsara said, opining that sound adds to the “tonality” or experience of the film as a whole.

“Each sound adds to the image,” he stated, pointing out that rhythm is important in Foley sound design, which is a unique sound effect technique that involves creating and performing everyday sounds for movies and television shows.