Let’s put the bad news right up front:
Sound seems simple, but it’s actually one of the most difficult parts of typical video production to understand and get right. This is partly because we so often underestimate its importance in the overall scheme of things.
To underscore this reality I have a simple demonstration I do in every seminar I teach on sound-related topics.
First, I instruct the class to look around and get comfortable that they are in a safe and secure environment. Then I ask them all to close their eyes for a moment.
When all eyes are closed, I loudly announce. “My name is Bill Davis. I live in Scottsdale, Arizona and I’ve been making videos professionally for more than 20 years.”
Next, I ask them to open their eyes, and I SILENTLY mouth the words “I’ve been married to my wife Linda for more than twenty-five years and I have one son named Mike.”
Confronting their puzzled glances I quickly say, “OK, you’ve just experienced the SOUND without the PICTURE—followed by the PICTURE without the SOUND. Which gave YOU more useful information?”
The point of the exercise is to acknowledge that quite often sound is MORE important than the picture.
Sound information might be in the form of dialog, narration, or even the scene-setting background of the location, but make no mistake, SOUND is often doing the communications “heavy lifting” in movies and on TV.