5. Forgotten anything?

Yes! And something very important, too. So far we have just looked at the pictures and therefore ignored the fact that a film is not only something to watch but also to listen to. This last section deals with the voices, sound effects and of course the music. Although these are essential topics I will discuss them only briefly.

The voices

The director surveys the work of the voice actors, keeps an eye on the right intonation etc. This is not too difficult, however, provided that the direction and the screenplay made a good job. The voice actors can feel it when the right atmosphere is present and act accordingly well.

In this context there is something which has not been mentioned before. So far only two cases have been considered, when the pictures alone build up the atmosphere or when they just have a supporting function. But the concept of increasing the effect of dialogues or other lines with pictures is also important and therefore often used. Here are two examples:

Lavinia and Ermengarde

"Now, what are we doing here, hmm?"

Sara saying goodbye

"Farewell, Lavinia."

The sound effects

This is the job of specialized sound-effects people. Generally this field is not paid too much attention to, although there are many oppurtunities. For example the a bit muffled acoustics inside of houses contrast well with a soft background noise outside. Or the night also has its own sounds. Steps can be equipped with slightly more reverb when they are farther away. Just think about it.

Usually sound effects are just no more than that: accompanying sound effects. But as shown on the previous page, there are cases where they can mediate information themselves.

The music

To use music in the right way is a very difficult topic. In many bigger productions there is an extra musical director to deal with it. Besides that the composer himself is playing or should at least play an important role. This is such a broad field that a whole section could be dedicated to it but I spare you and especially myself this effort. Many things depend on intuition and I could not present examples not so easily anymore, of course due to technical reasons (I would had to include some clips with sound ... no chance). Without examples the whole thing becomes too abstract and that is also unsatisfactory. Perhaps I am going to write something concerning this topic in the music section later, but that is another story.

Perhaps one example: in the last cited scene of the previous page, a short melody is played at the beginning. As the steps become audible and grow louder, the music becomes softer to the same degree. The music is being superseded by the sound of the steps so to speak. Interesting, is it not?

We have reached the end of our little journey now. I hope you enjoyed it. I recommend to everyone to watch and listen carefully, and also to watch out for the subtleties in the future, when you are watching an anime or a live-action film. It could be worth it! After all this I am proud to present you the answer to the ultimate

Question: How do I become a good director?

Answer: Watch "A Little Princess Sara". ^_^

Here you can go back to the main page of the home page.

  1. Some examples
  2. The three-dimensional dilemma
  3. To tell a story
  4. Parts of the whole
  5. Forgotten anything?

Back to the introduction
Taro Rehrl (e-mail), 1998-09-20, 2002-08-17