Introduction to the Soundtrack
Subject is not scheduled Not scheduled
Name of lecturer(s)
Learning outcomes of the course unit
By the end of the course students will:
- be able to more clearly 'read' the soundtrack of a film
- use some of the same techniques within their own projects
Mode of study
Prerequisites and co-requisites
The course will focus on the fundamentals of using sound to furnish meaning for your film projects. We will follow the thread of production through the various elements that comprise a soundtrack, based on our time limitations and available tools.
We'll spend most of our time viewing/listening to primarily narrative feature films and analyzing their various approaches to constructing the soundspace. We will also read brief theoretical texts on the soundtrack and film music and see how today's technology has made much of older existing theory somewhat redundant. The course if focussed primarily on films from the last 20 years.
In many classes we will watch a single film, stopping and starting it and using it as a basis for both technical and aesthetic discussions: “how did they do this and why?”
The course will begin with a basic introduction including theory & elements of the soundtrack; how sound is represented in film through dialogue, narration, music, foley, ambient sound, sound effect/sound design. We will then introduce the technical elements used to shape the sound space including volume, reverberation and equalization.
We will use this basic understanding to deconstruct various filmmaker's goals and desires in choosing to make scenes sound a certain way. Classes includes precepts, tips and tricks: from conception to sound capture to edit to mix to output and mastering, applying what we've learned practically while building your own soundtracks, technically and aesthetically.
With provided readings, bibliography & URLs. No prior sound experience is necessary but you will be expected to focus closely on listening and hearing films.
Recommended or required reading
Audio-Vision, Michel Chion
Sound Theory, Sound Practice Rick Altman ed.
Audio Culture, Daniel Warner, Christof Cox, eds.
More readings at www.filmsound.org (particularly anything by Walter Murch)
Assessment methods and criteria
Class attendance & participation 20%
2 page analysis of any film watched in class 40%
3-5 page “sound script” text 40% (collaborative)
No schedule has been prepared for this course
The subject is a part of the following study plans
- Academy Preparation Program - Cinematography (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Animated Film (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Directing (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Documentary (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Editing (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Photography (optional subject)
- Academy Preparation Program - Screenwriting (optional subject)