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Film sound effects

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themoog
519048.  Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:55 am Reply with quote

Why does every rural night scene in a drama have to be accompanied by a fox or owl calling? I am often out at night in the country and you don't hear them all the damn time. The owl was even used in Ballykissangel despite being a Tawny Owl, a species which doesn't occur anywhere on the Island of Ireland.


Last edited by themoog on Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:44 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Lordwarkworth
519066.  Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:34 am Reply with quote

themoog wrote:
Why does every rural night scene in a drama have to be accompanied by a fox or owl calling? I am often out at night in the country and you don't hear them all the damn time. The owl was even used in Ballykissangel despite being a Tawny Owl, a species which don't occur anywhere on the Island of Ireland.


Purely I fear to help reinforce the fact that yes this is countryside, if you can remember, and it has animals in it.

Or that maybe the sound designers were ill equipped to render the outdoors naturally. It is a great point because in a visual medium surely imagery is the lead in scene setting? Not so. In a "cut to" scenario the audio usually leads the visual.

Say there is a scene in a library, folk talking and library-like noises etc. One character might erupt with the line "Bally Hell! It's in Salisbury Plain!"[cut to Salisbury Plain] the editor/sound chap or both would lead the next scene on Salisbury plain with audio of that environ, a fraction before the visual of that very scene. Unfortunately that may involve unnecessary animal noises and, as you quite rightly point out, incorrect ones.

It is considered good punctuation and helps the mind travel with the narrative. Otherwise great clunking cuts of the Russ Meyer variety find there way in and are most unwelcome and wholly noticeable. I am of the same mind as you themoog but I am afraid, nay terrified, that we may have to live with this one!

Oh and full marks for your Ornithological savoir faire! I had no idea. Quite Interesting.

 
scubascooby
519103.  Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:31 am Reply with quote

I remember seeing an item about foley recording. There were two nice ladies doing the sounds for Excalibur or something like that. Chopping up cabbages with meat cleavers to simulate sword wounding sounds.

I also saw the Tardis "grind" recreated, showing them using a rusty mortice key being dragged along the internals of an old piano.

I've also noticed that doors in films often make the wrong noise.

Cars and helicopters seldom make the correct noises. They always seem to dub helicopters with the noise of a Bell 47

 
Lordwarkworth
519124.  Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:03 pm Reply with quote

scubascooby wrote:
They always seem to dub helicopters with the noise of a Bell 47


Now that is knowledge!

 
mckeonj
519322.  Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:04 pm Reply with quote

Another authentic sound track which still crops up occasionally in movies is the 'Air raid on London', with warning sirens, ack-ack fire, approaching aircraft, bombs exploding, masonry falling, running footsteps, all-clear siren. All of these were recorded during actual raids at the time. I have the set of discs, published by EMI.

 
Ion Zone
519324.  Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:07 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Oh poor lamb, you suffered that movie too? I bet, like me you witnessed the God awful entreaty that was the "Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within" hmn?


Actually I only saw the 'behind the scenes special' they were running when it was in the cinemas, I do that a lot. :} No idea what it's like.

Buffy's soundf effects are ocasionaly a bit distracting now, the lion roar for the vampires, for instance, and the standard heavy *pow* punching noise when her sister smcked somone across the face. :P

 
mckeonj
519326.  Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:09 pm Reply with quote

I recall that the terrifying sound of the hail of arrows in the 1944 Olivier 'Henry V' was made by a number of technicians armed with bamboo canes standing around a microphone and swishing their canes down in continuous sequence.

 
mckeonj
519331.  Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:14 pm Reply with quote

The only frogs that go 'rivet rivet' are those that inhabit the Hollywoodland Hills; but they are heard all over the world.
I got that from an earlier QI episode, so it must be true; also that an owl does not go 'to wit to woo'; rather that one goes 'to wit', and another goes 'to woo'.

 
Starfish13
519759.  Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:47 am Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:
The only frogs that go 'rivet rivet' are those that inhabit the Hollywoodland Hills; but they are heard all over the world.
I got that from an earlier QI episode, so it must be true; also that an owl does not go 'to wit to woo'; rather that one goes 'to wit', and another goes 'to woo'.


Haha, it takes a pair of tawny owls to make a 'to wit to woo'. The female calls 'Twit!' and the male 'Who?'. Barn owls go 'skreeeeeeeeaaaak'.

 
mckeonj
519785.  Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:48 am Reply with quote

In the real countryside at night, the most common sound is dogs and foxes barking, and a very occasional 'screeeech'.
Twilight has a very different sound texture, there are more human noises; particularly noticeable are blood-curdling screams from girls trying to get chased.

 
Neotenic
519792.  Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:00 am Reply with quote

The bark (or maybe yelp) of a fox is a very common sound where I live, in deepest, darkest North London. We have a family of them living in the dilapidated garages behind our house.

That, and the low rumble of police helicopters. Which maybe isn't quite so natural.

 
samivel
520043.  Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:30 pm Reply with quote

I often hear foxes at night as well. There's a small wood behind my house. We get helicopters too, but they're more likely to be the coastguard than the rozzers.

 
Southpaw
520101.  Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:20 am Reply with quote

A fox cry is a horrible sound. One was right in our back garden the other night, sounded like it was in the room.

There was a feature on Film 2009 this week on the work of Foley artists. I've always wanted to know how they make a 'laser' kind of noise, a la Star Wars, and now I know - they get a large slinky-like spring, suspend it, and tap it with a metal bar. You hear a similar sound occasionally from overhead train power cables.

The best movie sound I've heard in recent times is from the otherwise poor Star Wars: Episode II, where Obi Wan is being attacked in an asteroid field. The bad guys fire 'sonic mines' at him and they go off with the most satisfying sound, somewhere between a drainpipe vibrating and a whale doing a backflip. Check it out.

 
Lordwarkworth
520632.  Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:48 pm Reply with quote

Southpaw wrote:


There was a feature on Film 2009 this week on the work of Foley artists. I've always wanted to know how they make a 'laser' kind of noise, a la Star Wars, and now I know - they get a large slinky-like spring, suspend it, and tap it with a metal bar. You hear a similar sound occasionally from overhead train power cables.



Beat you to it Southpaw. Look above. Just like the Radiophonic chaps they used springs/piano strings The Stormtrooper rifle sounds are actually electric wires or telephone cables that are smacked. Incidentally the rifles themselves are reengineered WWII sten guns. The Pulse Rifles in Aliens are 20's era Thompson machine pistols. The link between the two films? Both contain reengineered MG42s. The larger Stormtrooper rifles are MG42s as are the Smart Guns in Aliens as modeled by Vasquez and Drake.

Jenette Goldstein who plays Vasquez, a Hispanic character, is actually of German/Jewish stock.

How they got the sounds for the Alien guns I have no idea. They are definitely not recorded in actuality. Perhaps they changed the pitch. The armourers would also have had to alter the firing rate for the Thompsons they used because, although it has a high cyclic rate, that depicted in the film is faster than the original gun. It also has a dull spitting noise when fired in its original form, a characteristic that it shares with the Garand rifle and M1 Carbine by Saginaw of the same era.

The trademark Pistol used by Han Solo in the Greedo sequence and throughout the series is a Mauser with a fluted muzzle.


Last edited by Lordwarkworth on Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:50 pm; edited 2 times in total

 
Lordwarkworth
520633.  Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:02 pm Reply with quote

Ooo, actually I think the Smart Guns may be MG3s and of the type currently used by the German Army of today.

 

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