Hi and welcome to Parallel Worlds. This is the long-listen for the week. There are two audio stories for you to listen to - for rights reasons I’ve just linked to them in the notes of this podcast, but they’re both freely available to listen to and both fully transcribed. Both articles are about the production of fake digetic sounds – or Foley – for film and TV.
The first is an audio long-read from the Guardian, which profiles master Foley recordist Skip Lievsay. Lievsay is an artist who has produced the sounds you might not have noticed – but that helped create the worlds you enjoyed – in films such as No Country for Old Men, Roma, many of the Coen Brothers’ films, and many more you’d recognise. The article is a fascinating insight into the methods and history behind Foley, as well as the particular techniques and in-jokes that Lievsay weaves into his work. The article is called ‘Rain is sizzling bacon, cars are lions roaring: the art of sound in movies’. I hope you enjoy it.
The second article is from design podcast 99 Percent Invisible. It’s about the creation of the sounds you hear in wildlife documentaries. Listen here. Much of the sound you hear on wildlife documentaries is recreated in and out of studios, and this article interviews Chris Watson, who has recorded audio for many of David Attencorough’s documentaries. If you have the time to spare, the episode also has extra illustrative material on the 99% Invisible website, like YouTube clips of the videos they talk about.
Finally, if you have more time and are intrigued by this hidden world of sound production, I’ve put links to a few more articles you might enjoy in the show notes and on the website page for this episode. You’ll find all of this sound production knowledge increasingly useful as we shift towards the final project of this course, creating a narrative fictional work that jumps between the real world and a fictional one – the sound design you use can make a world of a difference (mind the pun). And if you want to leap out of the reflection week and try some sound production of your own, the ‘Resources’ page of the Parallel Worlds website has links to interesting guides and how-tos.
Thanks for listening – now use the links in the show notes to find the sound articles to listen to. Enjoy!
- Rain is sizzling bacon, cars are lions roaring: the art of sound in movies in the Guardian. Listen to the audio here, or read the text version here. If you like this article, you can subscribe to The Guardian Long Read here. Written by Jordan Kisner and read by Christopher Ragland; Produced by Simon Barnard.
- Sounds Natural from 99 Percent Invisible
99 Percent Invisible have more articles on sound design:
- The Sound of the Artificial World from 99 Percent Invisible
- Cartoon Sound Effects
- The Sizzle
Symphony of Sirens (Arseny Avraamov’s “conducting” of real sounds in the city)
- Using music with the Kitchen Sisters
- Sound design with Haley Shaw on transom.org
Plus there are a few more articles on this site’s Resources page!
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