Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Notes from Symposium: Perspectives on Sound Design (University of York Friday 5 July 2013)

Some of my notes from a symposium I attended in the summer on sound design in films. The speakers included Dr Patrick Susini, Larry Sider, Prof. Davide Rocchesso, Dr Gianluca Sergi, Neil Hillman and Andy Farnell. It was the first time I had ever been to an academic event that only included male speakers, even though it was organized by a woman.

We must break this restricted circle of pure sounds and conquer the infinite variety of noise-sounds (Luigi Russolo, The Art of Noises, 1913)

One hundred years ago futurist artist Luigi Russolo invented mechanical synthesizers, called Intonarumori, capable of producing and controlling noise-sounds.
This, together with the emergence of recording technology, marked the beginning of Sound Design.

Nowadays the term Sound Design is used in many domains: academic research, university courses, commercial websites, film credits, job descriptions, etc.
But what does it mean to ‘design sound’? How does it differ from music? What are the disciplines and skills involved?

This symposium brings together leading international academics, researchers and practitioners to discuss the definition and boundaries of the emergent field of sound design.

This is a unique opportunity to delve into the interdisciplinarity of the field and to gain an appreciation of the interconnections between different perspectives on sound design.

Larry Sider

Peter Sellers (Director) - "sound is about place, not space"

Sourced sound? - Sound Editor, Sound Design.

Track editing - composition, montage.

harmonizing with the image, same aesthetic color, push/pull audience into/out of the image.

"how does this effect the audience?

"Starts with reality, a door that opens and closes and squeaks, and you quickly go beyond that"

Sound is a way in to the film as image.

Sound design - "all the processes, all the conceptualizing, all the technology, that creates the bubble of their [the audience] own ideas, their own experience"

Listening sessions - play random bits of sound, (sound art, radio exerts, film sound).

Pauline Oliveros - deep listening?

don't romanticize the process, but it is like a magic.

sound and image - get them going the right way, it is an ecstasy (David Lynch)

sound must work with all the other elements of the film.

"are you going to noise it up now?" - the stage of production influences the nature of production.

Sound traditionally comes last.

if sound comes in last, its role is much more narrowly defined.

sound and editing can be done side by side -  feedback between both can then result.

syncronicity - the bottom line in any film project.

real life is synchronous - Peter Kabalko (Austrian film maker)

Apocalypse Now -  opening sound of helicopter in darkness, where am I? (Space not place).

remix, found film -  a form of alchemy

Egoless Programming

Davide Rocchesso

Basic Sonic interaction Design.

Design - always based on a loop, a continuous aeration that can be explicitly tested

SKETCH (represented) - hearing - EXPERIENCE

Sound and Music Computing: Research trends and some issues (Widmer et al. 2007)

* sounds as computational materials (Vallgårda and Sololer 2010)

family of basic design methods - rooted in design history, systematic perceptual training through hands-on activity (Bauhaus). exercises or problems with objectives and constraints, demonstrations and inter-subjectvities, action-perception loop, interactions gestalts (Svanaes 2000)

reduce interactions with elementary blocks that can be explained and experimented with.

Bauhaus -  combinations of art, science, technology

Moholy-Nagy - visions and emotions, time and space, multi-sensory qualities.

Albers - colors and emotions, Book on color interaction.

Experimental Phenomenology
- discovery supported by inter-observations. group agreement.
- pillars of experience outside the lab environment

Building abstract artifacts (Hallnäs and Redström 2011)

Closest analogue to paper and pencil with sound design is use of voice, by way of imitation.

interactions can be performed by rough prototypes.

Having a sound model is very important, because a model means perimeters and these can be manipulated.

Models - Friction, Crumpling, Rolling, Streaming, Breathing, Beating etc. set up model on inter-observational consensus, (this is 'rolling' sound).

Rhythmic Interaction - matching speed with accuracy and consistency with adaptability, sparing attention and effort (Dahl 2005). Virtuosity turns fatigue into joy of performing (Sennet 2008).

Entertainment - clapping (C. Erkut)

Sonic interactions with hand clap sounds (A. Jylhä and Cumhur, Erkut)

basic design exercise : cutting vegetables. (Rocchesso et al.)

models were often more effective that referent sounds (e.g. rolling marble on a grooved piece of wood). HOWEVER -  signification is limited and there is a need for judgement regarding how far you can take the referent.

models of emotion -  axes of action, arousal and valiance,

Clinical analysis - moves away from abstract design.

Gesture -

a) music gesture

b) manual gesture

c) audio feedback

azimuth (vertical) is useful for spatial judgements based in audio

horizontal is not useful or spatial judgements based in audio

Sound Design Toolkit (Rocchesso).

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