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Krisana Polyotha

Sounds in Media

Making Waves, Directed by Midge Costin (2019)

So I was watching ‘Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound’ and this is what was going through my brain…

In the beginning, it was talking about how we can hear before we can see scientifically; this shows how vital sounds are to the human mind. Before video became mainstream, radio was in a league of its own, and it was so popular it created a genre called pop music in the 1960s. The 70s was the rise of TV, and then the 80s was the complete golden age of cinema. A different form of media simultaneously competes and relying on each other to enhance their performance. Will home cinema compete with commercial chains, as the TV now starts to create sounds from different screen parts, just like cinema’s screen, Dolby already launched their tiny home cinema speakers. The Chinese companies are producing their tech that can compete with big companies with the quality, while they can control the price by making something cheaper. So, home cinema might come to your living room sooner than later.

On the other hand, what I’ve found fascinating is if the sound was being ignored at the early cinema stage and tend to look down on quite a lot. Does that mean we will be able to feel, smell and taste in the future? Especially how they have to compete with home cinema due to the pandemic. There is already 4D cinema out there in Museums. For example, the room turns cold when showing a wintery environment, hot when you’re staring at the sun, etc. Could this be the future of the entire feel experience? And how will this collaborate with the rise of the video games and smartphones era? Will our phones catch up with other media experiences, and will cinema enhance their performance to compete with online streaming services? Video games now have technology like VR to give a next-level perception, and it makes the bendy 3D games monitor a yesterday project. I still believe technology will be an essential part of the revolution of media. Look at the top 4 companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, for example. They might be top tech companies, but they are running the media industry more than you think.

Also, this documentary gave me the perspective that a top-quality film would be a film that looks good for a deaf man and sound good for a blind man. But then one would be a radio show, and the other would not have much of a difference to the video you’re scrolling on a social media platform where it doesn’t rely on sound because you’re probably using it while you’re sitting in your workplace or school. So, filmmaking is the involvement of a variety of art forms. They say people who create music are the artist. Yes, they’re the artist of sound. But artists are people who can play with your emotions. Therefore, it should be more familiar to describes filmmakers.

In conclusion, this documentary made me think about the future of sound and cinema more than ever. Does that mean we’re going to hear sounds from the ground and the ceiling? Are we going to have VR in the cinema instead of 3D glasses? Is plain leather sofa just going to turn into history? While the future sofa has a built-in speaker that will create a vibration in sync with what you see on TV. Sound can change so much within a decade because of the technology that keeps developing from one to another. Cinema is still looking for a way to compete with TV. But don’t forget that those two are now competing with computers and smartphones. Oh, do you remember the radio? It is still here with you, but your favourite station is now a website and an app. Sound has been that quiet friend you have, while your vision is shining. Maybe it’s okay to be overlooked because the story tends to become more interesting when it has that element of surprise.

2 comments on “Sounds in Media

  1. Roy Hanney says:

    So much I want to say, you put your finger on some really crucial debates which are right now being played out both in industry and academia. Can we really predict how things will turn out? Surely that would be a redundant exercise, or example when SMS capability was added to mobile phones the designers just put it in because they could, they didn’t think it would get sued and then look at what happened. VR is an interesting example because as it stands it is a fairly solitary experience whereas going to a 2D cinema is a social experience. Listening to the soundscape of a movie is different from a radio drama because, well because, they are different. And would you listen to audio scapes as podcasts, is this the only way to experience audio? Mobile audio experiences have become very popular at arts festivals and offer something that sits between immersive theatre and sonic arts. Is that an area that will grow do you think? Perhaps the only thing you can say is that we live in exciting, if challenging times.


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