Reflecting on the Audio

Whenever I watch a movie, specifically a suspenseful one, I always look forward to the audio/soundtrack. I have always felt that the backtrack of a movie is the most important part. Have you ever watched a really important scene in a movie with no track behind the words? It’s not nearly as captivating to watch.

You can’t tell me you felt the same way watching the version with music and without music.

So why does audio impact viewer’s perception? Well in this specific video (obviously not assigned but I thought it was a good example), the audio is placed so that it is most intense over the “scarier” parts of the film. Not only is the placement of the audio important, but the type of music played. In most “horror” or “suspense” films, loud and intense music is used. I always find that this type of music gets my heart racing and pumping to find out what is going to happen next. Most importantly, the layering of different types of audio is what takes the cake, and has the most impact. Yes, using intense music is important, but it doesn’t compare to the layering of sound effects along with the backtrack. In this Psycho clip, the sounds of the knife slicing into the victim layered on top of the backtrack bring the full effect of the on screen murder to life. Without these different sounds, would you feel the suspense?


900-moon-landingIn “Moon Graffiti”, I was especially drawn to the sound effects. Obviously, this was not an audio clipping taken straight from the original moon mission. Instead, it is a recording of a new story, made to sound like an original space mission. I think they did a really great job of conveying it as an original mission clipping. This was done in two ways. Firstly, the tone in which they conveyed their story made you believe that they were currently living it. But what really made it seem like a real mission was the fact that the appropriate sound effects were as real as they could get. Appropriate radio, breathing, walking, etc, sounds were used that made it seem like the astronauts were truly in space. Without all of these added sound effects, it would have just sounded like two men talking over the phone.


I think that “Last Laugh” from Tales of the Crypt would be really interesting brought to life! I decided to further analyze pages 2 and 3.

Sound effects could be added:

  • When the doctor washes his hands in the sink
  • Doctor puts on his coat
  • Ernie removes shirt
  • Doctor uses stethoscope
  • Dial/ringing on the telephone
  • Old woman goes outside to check street lamp
  • Doctor puts away stethoscope
  • Doctor uses blood pressure bag
  • Laying items on train tracks

I think adding any of these sounds in would help the listener feel more immersed in the story. Just hearing the spoken lines feels like you’re being talked to. However, when you add in sounds from all of the movements and actions, it feels like you’re listening to a movie, and brings you in.


The radio show this week was really interesting! I tuned in on Thursday night’s show. The first story was harder to follow for me personally. It was obviously an older recording, which was really cool to listen to. It gave it more of an eery effect. You could also hear tons of background noise, which gave it more of a “real” effect. However, on the other hand, because the recording was of lower quality I found it hard to understand and pay attention to. Regardless, I always enjoy a good Jack the Ripper story! I really enjoyed the second recording playing. This one was definitely a more modern recording, and was easier to follow. I didn’t hear quite as much going on in the background, this story was centered more around the main character’s dialogue. I really enjoyed the storyline, and I was surprised on how I got tripped up by the twist in events! You can check out my live tweets on my Twitter!

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