We begin a guide of sonorous design, a chain of articles dedicated to exploring notions, processes and reflections concerning the sound design, for cinema, for video games, etc. In the first delivery, we will devote ourselves to give a basic introduction to the sonorous dimension and his niche in the audio-visual studding, for in later deliveries to stop in concrete processes, roles, technical matters and theory, already taking as a base at some possibilities of the sound so much for yes same, since in relation.

It does not exceed to clarify that it is not a question of a guide orientated to other processes that, though they are born in mind in the sonorous design, they are not of our competition, since it is for example the synthesis, which, though it does part of many processes of sonorous design, is secondary with regard to the recording of field, sound edition of the environment, recording object, etc. The synthesis does departs also from the process and surely in many works, it will prevail with regard to other elements, but it will not be our approach only to think about this " creating sounds ", that represents only a link of an inexhaustible chain of scout. In addition, already our friend Paul us has come to do a ground delivery on synthesis.

The shade dancer

In his test Sound Design: The Dancing Shadow, Walter Murch, the person in charge of the term sound design, which we know as design of sound, alert:

The metaphorical use of the sound is one of the most fruitful, flexible and economic means: on having chosen carefully what to eliminate, and then to add sounds that to the first scout seems to be a bit strange with the image that he accompanies, the filmmaker can open a perceptive emptiness in which the mind of the hearer inevitably will will to rush. A result, the movie becomes "more "dimensional". Between more dimensional be, more impact will have on the spectator, between more that it seems to speak to every spectator individually, and between more the sound could turn in a representation of the mental conditions of the principal personage, including the "song" that Stephen Spender was called the area base of the poetry: " a rhythm, a dance, a force, a passion that cannot fill with words

Better it could not have said it: the sound design is based on a metaphorical approach of the sound, this where it is carried, meaningfully, simultaneously strategic and poetically located in such a way that not simply there sounds, but he deceives, that moves the internal jurisdiction, the thought, the worry. Though it is true that the sound designer meets wrapped in the whole series of technological incidents - while so much it is a discipline that has in his core the process of the interpretation of instruments / objects, recording and others-, when we speak about sonorous design we us do not send to a mere training of the tool, but first of all, a conscience of his use, application and creative consequence that is conceived both in his autonomy and in the need to be integrated to a series of processes of another nature.

The sound design is because of it´s a both a process of the technology, and a way of scout and training in the appeal to the sonorous thing and, from there, his integration with the rest of the audiovisual work. In this respect, the sound designer does not conceive merely sound effects that refill materially those hollows that the visual thing leaves, but an autonomous element that, while it is recognized as such, it begins to compose in a dialogue with other areas of the perception. In fact, the sonorous design originally includes not alone sound effects, but also the music, the dialog and even, which does not sound, because since already we saw, the silence can design as part of the sonorous sequence.

The word design did ostentation at the time with the possibility of conceiving not merely sonorous forms, effects or structures of the same ones that complement a series of visual and narrative processes that already are present in the work. Not, the word I design it indicates precisely that processes are conceived in the sonorous space always concerning a series of intentions, needs or situations of a central work. Always the most important thing in a movie: the history, the emotion, which wants to show, to open or to attract.

By this it is not called simply an edition of sound, assembly, mixture, recording, but design, provided that to design implies bearing in mind the context before which we will place the sound, but simultaneously the need to recognize in the sound a possibility of constructing the context. Hereby, it is not to design sound, but to design across the sound, to design with the sound, because in the last instance we must say that the sound designer is not the one who constructs the sounds for the movie, but the one who constructs the movie from the sound. Those who design had to be at the time, so skillful in the art of creating the sounds, since in the recognition of what these sounds say, do feel, etc.

It is worth a sorrow in this point reminding what Walter Murch conceived as the role of the sound designer and how it differs from a labor of mere assembly or mixture:

" The term " sound designer " talks to us of return Apocalypse Now when it was trying to conceive what had made I really in the movie. Provided that Francis (Coppola) had wanted to do the movie in this quadraphonic format, which had not been done before, seemed to need of my part an analysis of the design of the movie in a three-dimensional space of the sound. I thought: " Well, if a designer of interiors can join an architectural space and decorate it of interesting form, it is similar to what I am doing in the theatre. I am taking the three-dimensional space of the theatre and am decorating it with sound "

It continues, then Murch speaks precisely that for many this started dealing as if the sound designer simply out the one who designs interesting sounds. Nevertheless, Murch stresses that the important thing is the " contained emotional fort " that the sounds can manage to have once cocktails, task that constitutes, as, the technical, fundamental process with the sonorous thing and is for this that, unlike whom they record or mix, " the sound designer usually is employed at a class of sonorous laboratory ", though it clarifies that the one who mixes or records, can fulfill equating the role of sonorous designer.

Maybe this it is the concrete role of the sound designer: to make the dream of the sounds, evoke, drive, express, take form, affect. It is to play the role of invisible illusionists, shades dancers, secret but radically importantly. It is so simple as to put in the position of the spectator: it must not be thinking about artificial sounds mounted in the work; it must be affected, delivered, in conflict, hopefully, needy, thoughtfully, caught, immersed in what it experiments, integrally, as a history.

The own dimension of the sound

The first reflection would be this ours: the fact of admitting that, though obviously the sound has to interact with other elements of the work (since it it is the visual one), it tells nevertheless with an own dimension that it is in fact totally necessary to be able to differ before others. It is fundamental, because if we do not recognize the value that has the sound and that one that reaches in yes same, we will not be able to demand sonorous space from him to other areas of the work (since we will see forward), a royal dialog will not be possible with other elements in the audiovisual contract, which is where finally it is decided and where the sense of the sound is evaluated really, in his interaction with the rest either

The sonorous dimension possesses obviously his own language, so much in technical terms relating to the sonorous tools, as characteristics that are important in the sound at the moment of conceiving the complete work. The sound is the life to the movement, directs the emotions, establishes meetings possibilities in the mind of the spectator, generates tension and easing, makes us feel countless things, not only because in yes same it reaches, but because of having joined the network that represents the work, it expands at the time that all that expands with what relates.

To expose more widely some possibilities of the role of a sonorous designer, we will take the list that there offers the acquaintance sound designer Randy Thom, the director of the famous house of sonorous creation Skywalker Sound. As it comments, the sound, though it does not have to limit itself to these tasks, includes:

To suggest a state of mind, to evoke a feeling

To mark the step

To indicate geographical lease

To indicate a historical period

To clarify the script

To connect ideas, prominent figures, places, images or moments that of another form would be disconnected

To raise or to diminish the realism

To raise or to diminish the ambiguity

To call the attention to the detail or to remove to this one

Indicating changes in the time

To smooth abrupt changes between captures or scenes, which might not smooth Emphasize otherwise a transition for dramatic effect

Describe an acoustic space

To startle and to calm the action

To exaggerate or to happen

The dimension of the sound in the audiovisual contract

So much for a movie, since for a video game, a collaborative process is needed always, where one relies on an equipment that it represents the multiplicity of elements. The interesting thing is that every part does his, but without never forgetting that there are other elements with which to interact. It is probably this were to the art of directing cinema, in the aptitude to support cohesion and dynamics between the different elements that join the work. In case of the sound, the question takes root always in having present that so much the sound has to subordinate to other aspects of the work, but also, how the sound has to affect the movie as such.

This is something that the acquaintance sound designer Randy Thom already said there in 1999 in his test " Designing to movie for sound " where it expresses the need to open space for the sound not as merely complement, but as an element that on having had his own dimension, can influence the movie of radical form, demanding him even, to be designed, from a beginning, since sonorous:

" The sound, musical or of any other nature, has value when it does part of the continuous one, when it changes across the time, has dynamics, and resounds with another sound and other sensory experiences. "

Though in this delivery we will not detain to explore how one can give this and of what way the roles and stages of the sound interact with other areas of the work, it performs supreme importance, bear in mind, so much for the motives of the guide who scarcely begins, since in the process of every one-, the fact of recognizing the sound not as an attaché, but as a prop, completely that appears.


Miguel Isaza

Michael is an investigator who relates the philosophy, the art, the design and the technology of the sound. It lives in Medellin (Colombia) and is a founder of several projects related to the sonorous thing, as Ether Lab, Sonic Field and Designing Sound.

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