Executive Summary Pre-Production

This specific blog was made to provide an overall insight into my pre-production stage of my soundscape project, thus far. Each blog contains specific areas of the project that are needed to be addressed before any physical work i.e. location recording, can be carried out; such as the initiation of the script, research into the appropriate equipment and apparatuses needed to carry out during the soundscape phase for data collection, additional preparation material needed for user testing phase (soundscape phase) i.e. ‘Participation Information Sheet’, audio asset list and finally, case studies for specific sound designs and techniques. The case studies made are the integral posts as it contains analysed sound designs and techniques which I will be using within my soundscape to elicit the emotional arousal of fear, ultimately, to test the effectiveness of the studied sound designs and techniques.

The case studies of Cat People, The Birds and Blair Witch Project has given me adequate information needed to initiate creation of sound designs and to start compiling a list of audio asset for my project. Experiencing aforementioned films in its entirety, as opposed to small snippets, has given me greater context into its effectiveness from the sound designs and techniques employed from each movie. Written notes and key points were taken during each movie, the notes taken were than used to analyse the specific sound designs and techniques used. For the Lewton Bus effect, I had found the effectiveness of this technique was also from the long period of silence (without the use of music) to build tension. This, in effect, had set the mood while simultaneously acclimatise audiences of this silence. This lack of audio is then shattered by a loud bus engine sound, effectively bringing the technique to a close with a twist; the Lewton Bus effect is known to be the first movie to use this jump scare technique, where the supposed threat is something quite ordinary. The nonlinear sounds are indeed, consistent and ubiquitous across all three films, where sounds that have rapid frequency jumps, nonstandard harmonies and instruments or voice range that go beyond its normal range. The birds sound effect in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, had effectively used a trautonium to produce those unforgettable nonlinear bird noises.

However, further case studies are required to view techniques such as the Lewton Bus effect from Cat People and the use of nonlinear sounds in different horror movies to widen utilisation of these techniques and designs, in terms of a different approach to building tension before employing the Lewton Bus effect. As good as the nonlinear sounds from the trautonium made for the bird noises in The Birds, very little material was extracted from movie except for the bird noises itself, from a view point of a sound designer. Hence, the lack of writing produced for this case study.

To conclude, the amount of time I had wasted at the start of the academic year is also another major issue that I am slowly correcting. For whatever reason, I had failed to find the motivation needed at the start of the academic year and in truth, I should have taken a year out and as a breather. This subsequently caused the lack of time issue to complete certain tasks to the best of my ability for my pre-production portfolio. However, I plan on using my time during the Christmas holiday period to do more case studies and look for additional sound designs and techniques so that I will have a wider range in my pallet during the production stage of this project.

In hindsight, the script for my soundscape should of been top priority as it determines on the time for it to take to acquiring voice actors – in character fitting and quantity, and audio assets – to create an audio list and also to obtain sounds. Which will take a considerable amount of time to acquire these assets. However, I believe the quality of the script will ultimately affect the use of the studied sound designs and techniques so therefore, the wait will be worth it. I will continue to create and obtain the audio assets listed within my ‘Soundscape Audio Assets List’ in the main time.

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