Sunday, 12 August 2007

AA - week 03 sem 02 - sound scene

The selection I chose was from the movie 'Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone'. [1]

It starts with the train, the Hogwarts Express, pulling into Hogwarts station with the sounds of the train on the tracks and steam hissing. Music features bell noises which initially mix with the train noises (trains have bells) then turn into obvious melodic information.
There's a general murmur of voices and footsteps and door carriages as the students get off the train and mill about. With critical listening, the door noise in particular seem a bit exaggerated, and the footsteps a tad heavy.
All sounds are appropriately diegetic and continue to be so for the excerpt I chose.

The music swells and moves around and does interact with the visuals. In the next scene, the first years are travelling by boat, the music is big and swelly, there are two moments when Harry and Ron interact and comment 'wow', during these moments there are lulls in the musical arrangement.
Also as the students arrive at the castle the music changes into a more mysterious tune, with a much smaller ensemble. During this scene Draco Malfoy (Harry's antithesis) offers his friendship with a handshake, the music chooses this moment to return with appropriate drama.

It sounds as if a lot of the voice recordings were done on location, with some mildly hyper effects added, for example Professor McGonagall taps her fingers on a stone balustrade and makes quite a loud sound, but not excessively so, more of a quick zoom into the sound then away again- this features through out the film in other scenes.
It was also in this scene that Neville found his lost toad, through the introduction of a toad croaking, rather sweetly :) It didn't really sound like a toad, but I'm not a toad expert and could well have been appropriate.

There is a moment in the next scene; as the students enter the dining hall, they are again overawed and the music expresses such. There is no ambient noise, until just before Hermione says something, the ambience fades in so her voice is accompanied with footsteps and robes swishing (and music), and when she has finished the ambience fades out.

Overall the sound is done very well, with good diegetic sounds and some nicely managed micro sounds. There are some moments, as with the carriage doors, that they've exaggerated the sounds a bit too much. And I feel, as with most movies, the music is overdone and could do with switching off :)

[1] Dir. Chris Columbus. Motion Picture. Warner Bros, 2001.

Haines, Christian. Creative Computing week 01 lecture. University of Adelaide, 07 August 2007.

Knowles Marshall, Jane . 1988, An Introduction to Film Sound 2006. (11 August 2007).

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