Types of Sound in Film
Sound in film refers to everything we hear in a movie including words, sound effects and music. According to Walker (2016), it can be defined in a very wide range and could be divided into a variety of components such as dialogue, music and sound effects. Sound is also essential for film to create mood in the film, telling us the location or time of a certain scene. The types of sound in film is divided into two which is diegetic and non-diegetic (refer to Figure 1 in Appendix 1). Diegetic sound are all those audio elements that come from sources inside the film or on screen. Meanwhile, non-diegetic sound refers to all those audio elements that come from outside of the fictional world we see on the screen.
The diegetic word originated from the Greek word “diegesis” that means recounted story or narrative style story telling. Diegetic sound can also be defined as the actual sound from the movie itself (Thom,1999). Technically, diegetic sound is whose source is visible on the screen or implied to be present by the action in the film. There are few examples of diegetic sound which is voices of the characters which is the dialogue or narration we can actually hear in the movie, sounds made by the objects visible in the screen, and also the music represented as coming from instruments in the story space. Diegetic sound can be either on screen or off screen depending on its source within the frame or outside the frame. Hence, diegetic sound may sound real but in reality, they did not have to be directly recorded because sometimes sound effects might be the better choice to go with in your film (Tom, 2018) .
According to Nozaic (2006) , non-diegetic sound is a sound that does not happen as a feature of the activity and can’t be heard by the film’s characters and can be heard by the audience. Non-diegetic sound, which incorporates music or voiceover, is largely dictated by important decisions and can significantly affect the tone of a film. Non-diegetic sounds consists of impersonal narration, music and sound effects. Impersonal narration in film is a story which is told by a voice which does not have a place with a character in the fiction, or to any storyteller incorporated with the fiction. Next is music, a non-diegetic music in a film is for the most part referred to as the score or soundtrack that are added into the film externally to give the film a state of mind and emotion. The term score is instrumental ambient melodies that are produced by a group of orchestra, while soundtrack is the lyrical music that are being used in the film itself. The music is accompanying the scene however it is not originating from the genuine scene in camera. Sound effects in non-diegetic sound is a sound that is included after the shooting stops (post-production) . Sound effects can likewise be called as foley effects. Foley effects are named after a sound designer from the United States whom is Jack Foley. For instance , sounds like foot steps, ceramics clunking, paper folding, punches hitting, glass breaking, garments stirring, doors opening and slamming were recorded and made in a studio to improve the current ambient sounds in the scene.
Last but not least, the importance. Sound plays an important role in each and every movies. Sound make everything looks realistic so that audiences are not confused. The sound and actions also need to be synchronized otherwise unbelievable. In order to make the scene looks lively, asynchronous sound effect plays an important role too. According to Jane (1988), asynchronous sound effect are not matched with a visible source of the sound on screen. Such sounds are included so as to provide an appropriate emotional nuance, and they may also add to the realism of the film. Asynchronous sound effect can characterize the narrative style of certain movies. For example, a film maker opt to include the background sound of an ambulance’s siren while the foreground sound and image portrays a car crash. The asynchronous ambulance siren tell the audience what happen during the scene; at the same time the sound of the ambulance siren adds the to the realism of the film by acknowledging the film’s urban city setting. Sound also conveys time information accurately than visuals. When a film maker want to set the movie during a cowboy era, the sound of guns and galloping horses are added to make it more relevant instead of using other sound effect. Such sounds give the audience the information about what really happening during that era. If the sound and the visuals are not sync and relevant to that movie setting, audiences will not paying any attention to that movie as it create an absurd style of narration.
In conclusion, sounds reflect the physical reality of the scene, immerses the listener into the world, which makes the environment inside the film comes alive.
Barrance T. (n.a). Filmaking : use sound to tell your story. Retrieved November 4, 2018 from https://learnaboutfilm.com/film-language/sound/
Marshall, J. K. (1988). Introduction to Film Sound. Retrieved November 7, 2018, from http://filmsound.org/marshall/
Nozaic C. (2006). An introduction to audio post-production for film. (Unpublished degree’s thesis). University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa.
Shaquilla A. (2015). Understanding (Diegetic and Non-Diegetic Sound). Retrieved November 4, 2018 from https://www.sothetheorygoes.com/sound/
Thom R. (1999). Designing a movie for sound. Retrieved November 4, 2018 from http://www.filmsound.org/articles/designing_for_sound.htm
Walker A. (2016). Sound production for film. Retrieved November 4, 2018 from https://www.sothetheorygoes.com/diegetic-and-non-diegetic-sound/