FLASH™ ART - Critical Interactive Multimedia

The Rikesh Files: Sound

SOUND DESIGN

by Jane Knowles Marshall

Though we might think of film as an essentially visual experience, we really cannot afford to underestimate the importance of film sound. A meaningful sound track is often as complicated as the image on the screen. The entire sound track is comprised of three essential ingredients: 

These three tracks must be mixed and balanced so as to produce the necessary emphases which in turn create desired effects. Topics which essentially refer to the three previously mentioned tracks are discussed below. They include dialogue, synchronous and asynchronous sound, and music.

DIALOGUE

Dialogue authenticates the speaker as an individual or a real person rather than the imaginary creation of a story teller. As is the case with stage drama, dialogue serves to tell the story and expresses feelings and motivations of characters as well. Often with film characterization the audience perceives little or no difference between the character and the actor. Thus, for example, Humphrey Bogart is Sam Spade; film personality and life personality seem to merge. Perhaps this is the case because the very texture of a performer's voice supplies an element of character.

SYNCHRONOUS AND ASYNCHRONOUS FX

Synchronous sound effects are those sounds which are synchronized or matched with what is viewed. For example, if the film portrays a character playing the piano, the sounds of the piano are projected. Synchronous sounds contribute to the realism of film and also help to create a particular atmosphere.

Asynchronous sound effects are not matched with a visible source of the sound on screen. Such sounds are included so as to provide an appropriate emotional nuance, and they may also add to the realism of the film.

MUSIC

Background music is used to add emotion and rhythm to a film. Usually not meant to be noticeable, it often provides a tone or an emotional attitude toward the story and/or the characters  epicted. In addition, background music often foreshadows a change in mood. For example, dissonant music may be used in film to indicate an approaching (but not yet visible) menace or disaster. Background music may aid viewer understanding by linking scenes.


This is an excerpt from America in Film and Fiction
original URL: http://130.132.143.21/ynhti/curriculum/units/1988/4/88.04.04.x.html




Here are some sites with a lot of free, downloadable sounds:

www.findsounds.com

www.flashkit.com/soundfx
www.flashkit.com/loops
sounds in .mp3 format, a little junky. Some sounds are scratchy, categorized by their use i.e.  sound loops (musical bits, they're ok, by genre) or sound fx (menu, button, slide or "swoooosh" sounds, categorized by subject)

www.moviesounds.com
sound bytes from well-known to cult movies in .mp3 format

www.webplaces.com/html/sounds.htm
some really good sounds in .au format, categorized by subject

www.cartoonsounds.com
sounds from your favorite cartoons, good sound fx, some quirky sounds you will find, most in .wav format

www.stonewashed.net/sfx.html
free sound fx in .mp3 format

www.partnersinrhyme.com/contents/contentssfx.html
royalty-free sounds, good quality sounds most in .wav format

www.koumis.com/soundfx.htm
Some good sound fx, a lot of sci-fi type sounds.

www.ljudo.com
Ljudo gives free access to more than 1200 sound effects in .wav and .mp3 formats. Pick a language and use the search engine for any type of sound you want.

www.a1freesoundeffects.com
Audio downloads in WAV format. Different categories include, animal, people, radio, weather, cartoon. Also accepts requests for sounds.

www.freeaudioclips.com
Audio clips from movies, speeches, songs, some good loops.

www.sounddogs.com
152,289 sound effects, in .wav and .mp3 formats

more sound links:
www.top50wavsites.com/index.html
www.wavsource.com/
www.pcsounds.com/soundfx/Telephone%20Ring%202.wav
www.koumis.com/soundfx.htm
www.webcity.it/thewavfiles/sounds_e.html
www.a1freesoundeffects.com/cdsoundlist.htm
www.angelfire.com/ct3/smiley/wavs4u.html
www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Byte/8867/page9.html
www.a1freesoundeffects.com/household.html
classicfilm.about.com/library/blsounds.htm
www.nzabs.org.nz/files.htm
gallery.foolmoon.com/sounds.htm
www.barbneal.com/bugs.asp
www.pacdv.com/sounds/index.html
www.freebielist.com/wavsounds.htm

Links to Sound Design:

www.filmsound.org
A website devoted to sound design, if you are ever stuck this is the place to go.

www.sonify.org
Provides a lot tutorials for flash audio and optimizing sound for the web.

www.top50wavsites.com/index.html
www.wavsource.com/
www.pcsounds.com/soundfx/Telephone%20Ring%202.wav
www.koumis.com/soundfx.htm
www.webcity.it/thewavfiles/sounds_e.html
www.a1freesoundeffects.com/cdsoundlist.htm
www.angelfire.com/ct3/smiley/wavs4u.html
www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Byte/8867/page9.html
www.a1freesoundeffects.com/household.html
classicfilm.about.com/library/blsounds.htm
www.nzabs.org.nz/files.htm
gallery.foolmoon.com/sounds.htm
www.barbneal.com/bugs.asp
www.pacdv.com/sounds/index.html
www.freebielist.com/wavsounds.htm
www.wavhounds.com/
www.prankcallsunlimited.com/
www.slonet.org/~rloomis/index.html
www.horsepresence.com/shop/SoundsHome.html
sompage.fateback.com/somSound.html


Books:

Designing Web Audio by Josh Beggs and Dylan Thede.

Sound design: the Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema by David Sonnenschein.

Rich Media StudioLab: Video and Sound in Flash by Tia Aleo et al.

 

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