Listening to Mirrors

Audio plays a huge role in storytelling.  It is used in film and video to portray what is going on in scenes as well as the emotion that is occurring within them. In noir, audio depicts moments of hostility, intense moments between characters, gunshots, jazz music, screams, crying, footsteps, the vernacular of the period, and more. It sets the tone and creates a mood.

Sound can do many things of the story. For example It can drive it. In some shows movies etc., the only thing you might get to experience is audio. They might leave out the visual aspect. This could be because they want you to guess what happened, or because they want you to assume that one thing happened instead of what actually happened.

Audio can impact mood by creating feelings of sadness, joy, anger, passion, and more. It can be included to sway your opinion in a argument. The crying of a child can make you feel sad or as if you need to come for that child. Audio can also create an atmosphere. It can include music that sexualizes a character, music that mystifies a character, for music that makes you feel like the characters dangerous even to you in the audience.

Audio has the ability to greatly change the direction and the meaning of a movie, TV show, or radio show. It can change a character from bad to good or good to bad. It can change a scene from one of sadness to one of joy. Audio is just as important as the visual aspects of storytelling.

In “Phone Call from Stranger, audio plays an important role because without the audio track, you wouldn’t know he was using an alias to travel (2:30-2:40)

In the movie Chinatown, which is on Netflix, Gittes wouldn’t be able to tell the story that sets him up for an awkward meeting with Mrs. Mulwray if there was no audio. This story happens around 18:00. You also wouldn’t be able to hear the worried tone in his friend who is trying to convince him to shut up! Another Instance in this movie where audio is important is in the use of the side effects of the water that is being drained from the reservoir. If it weren’t for the sound effects it would be harder to tell what is going on in the dark and it would also not seem as dangerous for Gittes when he gets flooded by it. In this example the audio provokes a feeling of panic over him being swept away by the water.



In the opening shot of touch of evil, the street music almost seems happy go lucky. It makes you think that nothing bad will be happening anytime soon and this movie could actually maybe turn into a romantic comedy aside from the bomb in the man’s car. In the No-restored version of the opening, the theme music makes the scene a million times better. The music in this version has lower tones and more ominous sounds, as if some trouble is going on behind something, and that danger and mystery will ensue. And, in fact, this is exactly what is happening with the bomb hidden in the back of the car, and I can only assume some danger and mystery will follow with finding out who did it.

In this opening shot, they also use the audio of a bomb instead of showing the beginning of an actual explosion. They’re using the audio in this manner to cover-up their inability to actually have a scene of a car blowing up with people in it. (If you want to rewatch what I mean, skip to this part of the video and check it out! it happens at about 3:25-3:30)



 In The Ambience of film noir- soundscapes, design, and mood, Hanson reiterates the idea that noir is a tone and a mood, not a genre. She states that the soundtrack of something is dependent upon the time period It is developed in. Each time period has its own set of new sounds and new music that are relevant to it. This is because as technology developed, new opportunities for the improvement of both visual and audio effects developed. Because these developed at the same time, a lot of similarities developed between the two processes. Just like iconography is an important aspect of filmography, sonography is just as important. These two aspects even parallel each other.In a moment of intensity for example, you might see quick changes of scene and fast movements of light, and as this is going on you will hear loud quick high-pitched music or sounds that accompany these visuals.

Hanson also includes a reflection on silent movies and the use of music & sounds that accompany them. She focuses on how music can be used to accompany drama.

I though the most Interesting part of this article was the idea of soundscapes. It is very interesting the way they describe the idea of soundscape and the different parts. The soundscape has a keynote, signal sounds and sound marks. The biggest part of the soundscape is the keynote which lays out a kind of background or foreground for the other sounds to be added on to in order to construct the soundscapes.

The nuances of a TV show or movie are determined both by image and sound, neither one of them is alone.  The telephone is a simple image that requires a lot of sound in order to make the scene work. A character can be on a telephone but unless you can hear the other side, you don’t know what’s going on in the conversation. Here, having that sound is a very important aspect.

Progress in the use of audio can be seen in the works that include layers, specific timing, and other organizational qualities not relate the sounds to the music and image that are screening in the project.

A large and frequent aspect of noir is the setting and mood of nightclubs and the singers within them. As Hanson states, the noir night club is a scene where glamour and crime often fuse. These clubs also include the possibility of intense moments, where one wrong move by one person could lead to arguments, brawls, and even someone getting shot. For all of these moods and opportunities, the sound engineer has to be able to create an appropriate soundscape. He has to be able to choose the right range of sounds to depict the tone that is meant to be portrayed in these scenes.

Another aspect I find particularly interesting about this article is how sound creates the idea of spacial arrangement in a movie, TV show, or radio show. You can you sound effects, music, or the voices of people in order to arrange the characters and the scene that is occurring. Hanson takes this idea further by explaining the inclusion of surround-sound in the film noir. She mentions how you can use it to hear sounds coming from different places while they are all occurring at the same time. It creates a more realistic feeling for the listener, and this more realistic feeling can increase the intensity of the mood and tone that is being set.


 in The Lux Radio Theater- Double Indemnity, audio is obviously important as it is the entire story. Because of this the writer had to be creative with the voices and the sound effects. A big aspect I noticed right in the beginning was the use of stressed voices; low, slow, ominous sort of background music that turns into intense quick sounds; as well as a key choice of words (murder, accident, mistake). All of these things came together to create the mood/tone of noir within this piece of work.

This radio show it reminded me a lot of “the post man always rings twice” because they photos include affairs as well as insurance as main points in their plots. They also both have the idea of two, a double indemnity and the post man ringing two times.

Something that I noticed on a personal aspect with this radio show was that it was hard for me for me to focus. Because it was solely in audio aspect I found my eyes, and therefore my mind wandering frequently. In order to get myself to even listen to the whole thing I had to close my eyes and lay down. The next thing I had to do was take a couple breaks. This unit a lot harder to try to do the live tweeting, because I just couldn’t focus. So I stuck to listening post haste. I know this will come back to bite me in the butt since I didn’t end up tweeting but, it’s better than not having listened at all.

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