A shift of sound design

Whittington notes a shift in sound design from sound which was focused on representing reality toward one which focused on experimentation. One progression of sound design can be viewed through the progression of the science fiction genre. This in itself is an explanation to Whittington’s point of sound moving from realistic to artificial, because one convention of science fiction is its unrealistic quality. Sound design began to shift also because of  filmmakers such as Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, who wished to escape the confinements of the sound unions so they could truly obtain the freedom to experiment in postproduction. Additionally, this notion of experimentation in sound design was grasped from the French New Wave movement and with the advent of the “portable camera, sound technology, as well as low-light film stocks” which “made film production easier, faster, and more mobile” (Whittington 59-60), in France, filmmakers were even more likely to experiment with sound design. This shift is also due to the concept of sound and aesthetic relationship and that “Sound would no longer simply accompany the image. Rather, it would challenge it for primacy” (Whittington 68). The notion of sound montage and the experimentation of “image-sound relations” forced filmgoers to “assume more aggressive reading strategies in terms of narrative comprehension and visceral intents” (Whittington 57). Hollywood soon became interested in upgrading sound technology and with the advent of “multitrack recording, portable technologies, and new re-recording and ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) technologies”  eventually led filmmakers to “unprecedented refinements in cinema sound” (Whittington 69). Today sound design has moved even farther away from realism, which can be seen most evidently in action summer blockbusters. Films like the Transformers films or Cowboys & Aliens (2011) highlights the element of spectacle with huge explosion, and of course to accompany these images there must be larger than life sound design.

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