WEEK 5 SOUND

SOUND

In the following lecture I learnt how sound aids to communicate a story effectively and how different equipment aids to communicating in the best possible way. This is due to the way we hear sound in terms of frequencies. This is what I gathered from the lab session and outside sources to improve my understanding of this particular topic.

In film production different microphones are required in order to capture the highest quality of sound. However this is based on the scene. Such microphones include:

Omnidirectional Mic

Is a microphone that picks up sound from any direction equally. This means that wherever the speaker is at any point around where the mic is located, the omnidirectional mic will record whatever it manages to picks up. Omnidirectional mics are useful when needed to pick up ambient or sounds from the environment where the sounds are consistently on the move or coming from different direction as it provides a response of 20 – 18,000Hz for example this mic can be used for multiple speakers having a conversation in a newsroom, in which its vital that sound is captured from both speakers clearly. This microphone has the ability to pick up numerous sounds clearly. However due to the level of sound it picks up, unwanted sound can be amplified resulting in poor production.

The omnidirectional mic allows a greater flexibility in terms of the direction of sound it picks up, which is useful in applications where sounds needs to be picked up from different direction in a room. For example a group of singers.

Stereo Mic

Stereo Mic produce better spacial awareness by producing more realistic sound due the frequency response of 30- 20,000Hz . This is ideally used for radio recordings and TV.

Cardioid Mic

The Cardioid Mic is similar to microphones that are used in studios. A Cardioid Mic are microphones that picks up sound from the “front” and “sides” however not of high quality from rear. The microphone low-mass diaphragm ensures minimum sound distortion, as it exclusively picks up the desired sound requested by user due to the way it has been designed. in terms of frequency, the response ranges from 30 – 20,000Hz, which operates on battery and phantom power. The microphone is ideally used where sound needs to be picked from the “front” and “side” but excluding the “rear” side. An example where this mic may be used is for musical performance, where a singer is directly sings straight into the  front, and back ups are located at the side of the mic.  The microphone is also produced in smaller size known as the Lavalier Mic. However the frequency response is more sensitive as it starts from 40. The mic provides a sharp, clear sound regardless of the size, this is why its commonly used in interviews.

mics

Unidirectional Mic

A unidirectional Mic are microphone that picks up sound from a specific direction of the microphone. This basically means when the mic is used the user must speak clearly into the correct side for the recording to be successful.

This different compared to the omnidirectional Mic. The unidirectional Mic are mostly used in applications that sound targeted solely from the front of the mic and nowhere else. Therefore a singing group wouldn’t benefit from this mic as sounds from singers from the side won’t be picked up. As sound is only picked up from one direction therefore the “uni” part in the name.

In addition the settings within the unidirectional mic varies from “Normal” to “Tele”. “Normal” settings is appropriate for close up and medium distance recordings, Whilst “Tele” is used for long distance pickup. The unidirectional Mic frequency is of greater as its response starts from 70-18000Hz, compared to the omnidirectional mic response of 20 – 18000Hz.

Also known as Shotgun the unidirectional mic is specially designed for voice recordings with video cameras. An example where this Mic could be used is for a documentary that requires a great clarity of speech without any background noise. For example David Attenborough ‘Africa’ documentary is one that clearly would use this type of microphone.

unidirectional mic being used…

TASK

Zoom H4 Stereo Recorder

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The Zoom H4 is a digital handled recorder that captures sound. It has the ability to record in stereo(WAV or compressed MP3) or 4 track mode.

In this lesson we listened to a different level of sound frequency, in which we had to raise our hands up when we couldn’t hear the sound no more. This was the first part of the lessons and from there moved on to learning what sound is and the different types of mic as explained above.

For this week task we worked in Groups of 3, which we had to record and experiment with numerous sounds via our mobile phones or a Zoom H4 stereo recorder. We used a the Zoom H4 in order to capture different sounds around us. This was done in order to learn how to record and how editing one changes the mood or style of it for a film etc. Such sounds captured were:

  • footsteps
  • doors opening
  • toilet flushing
  • key rattling
  • hand dryer
  • water rushing from a sink

These sounds were edited individually using Logic pro. When editing I wanted to create not a happy, cheerful mood but wanting to tell a story from the different sound tracks and incorporating a darkish/ scary-ish feel. The following screenshot shows some of the editing steps i undertook to create the the short sound track.

This is the final product.

What I learnt

The sound workshop allowed me to learn about how we perceive sounds and how our frequency level differs from each other. In addition to this, I learnt about different microphones, where its commonly used and also their frequency responses.

WEEKLY READING

Sight Sound And Motion – Herbert Zettl

Chapter 15

In this chapter of the Sight Sound and motion book, the author focuses on sound this time round, in which Zettl gives a detailed explanation of what sound is.

Zettl defines sound as “sound and noise are both audible vibrations of air or other materials. The difference is the sound has communication purpose, whereas noise is simply random and unwanted”

Zettl speaks about the major aspects of five dimensional field. However I found two from the 5 more interesting these are literal and non-literal sounds.

  • Literal sounds = sounds that have a meaning, or a purpose e.g. someone talking or singing.
  • Non-Literal sounds = sounds that possess no meaning whatsoever, as this type of sound isn’t necessarily meant to convey a meaning compared to literal sound e.g. typing noise or background noise and so on.

When putting this up again the film production, it can be clearly said that sounds simply falls into two categories either literal or non-literal.

Other reading sources include

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