Intrigued by our new brief The Sound Edit: Wildlife but unsure where to begin? We asked filmmaker, photographer and Ideas Fund Shorts winner Munir Malik to give us a rundown of how he'd approach it…
We've teamed up with the British Library to launch a new sound-led brief for filmmakers, animators and photographers. The Sound Edit: Wildlife gives you the chance to write a treatment for a film or multimedia photostory using rare wildlife sounds from the British Library Sound Collection – and there are cash prizes for the best ideas.
To help you get started, we asked filmmaker, photographer and Ideas Fund Shorts winner Munir Malik for some pointers.
Step one: listen to the sounds at home and in different locations
Listen to the sounds and think about how they make you feel. What visuals – still, moving, animated or graphic – do they bring to mind?
Observe the different locations you find yourself in day-to-day – on the bus, at school or college, in the park or at a shopping centre, to name a few – and think about how the sounds you hear add to what you see.
For example: on a bus you might see a couple laugh and then kiss or traffic lights or sirens flash on a rain-splattered bus window. What do you hear? How do external sounds sync with the audio you are listening to?
Step two: watch films, online videos or multimedia photostories
Get inspiration from others who have used similar sounds, but remember to keep the sounds provided in the brief in mind.
When watching a film, video or multimedia photostory, question the choices made by its creators. Ask yourself: how have they used the sound and does it work? This will give you an idea of how best to approach your own project.
For example: one of the sound editors for Prometheus recorded her parrot and played around with the sound to create an alien, otherworldly sound.
In Inception, Edith Piaf’s Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien was slowed down and sped up to create the soundtrack for the film depending on what depth of dream they were in.
Horror films often use sounds of animals under threat or attacking to manipulate the audience, tapping into deep instinctive human fears.
Step three: play around with the sounds
Reverse them, slow them down, layer them and add sounds – see what you can create!
Step four: keep notes of all your ideas
Note all ideas at all stages in the process. Sometimes good ideas emerge out from not-so-strong ones or combinations of different ideas. Committing them to paper will help other ideas come through. Even if you just write one line or a word at this point, it all helps.
Step five: collect visual reference points for you ideas
Any visual references can be very helpful when working on a project from an audio perspective. Even if you don't entirely know what you want to do, looking at other people’s work and deciding what you like and what you don't like will help you find your path through this.
Step six: decide on one idea
Think: what is your idea? Are you trying to convey a message, tell a story or express a mood or feeling? Try to write this down in a short sentence and/or make a moodboard. This will ensure that what you are trying to communicate using the sounds will be clearly visible in your final work.
Interested? Apply for The Sound Edit: Wildlife.
Image: Sound waves: low pitch by tjmwatson on a CC BY 2.0license.
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