The Undersea World of the Sound Department: the Construction of Sonic Conventions in Sub-aqua Screen Environments

Article


Chapman, D. 2016. The Undersea World of the Sound Department: the Construction of Sonic Conventions in Sub-aqua Screen Environments. The New Soundtrack. 6 (2), pp. 143-157.
AuthorsChapman, D.
Abstract

The availability of new underwater cameras and sub-aqua diving gear in the immediate post-war era opened up exciting possibilities for both narrative and documentary filmmakers. While the visual elements of this new world could now be more easily captured on film, the sound elements of the sub-aqua environment remained more elusive. What did, or should, this undersea world sound like? This article examines the use of sound in the sub-aqua scenes of both fictional and documentary films in the 1950s and asks questions about the methods used in the sonification of these worlds. Comparing the operation of underwater sound and human hearing with the production and post-production strategies used by filmmakers, I seek to identify the emergence of a sound convention and its implications for issues of cinematic realism. Central to this convention is the manipulation of sonic frequencies. The sound strategies adopted also raise questions about the malleability of viewer perspective and sound-image relationship in terms of a realist mode of address. Linked to this is the use of sound to enhance audience experience on an affective level. As well as underpinning cinematic realism, these new sound environments offered fresh experiences to audiences seeking new reasons to visit the cinema in an era of widening forms of entertainment.

KeywordsFilm sound; Sound Frequency; Sub-aqua sound; Hans Hass; Jacques Cousteau; Diving Films
JournalThe New Soundtrack
Journal citation6 (2), pp. 143-157
ISSN2042-8855
2042-8863
Year2016
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.3366/sound.2016.0088
Publication dates
Print01 Aug 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Jun 2016
Accepted07 Mar 2016
Copyright information© 2016 Edinburgh University Press. This is a manuscript accepted for publication in The New Soundtrack. The version of record can be found at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/sound.2016.0088
LicenseAll rights reserved
Permalink -

https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/84zzq

  • 10
    total views
  • 65
    total downloads
  • 5
    views this month
  • 11
    downloads this month

Related outputs

Art as Problematic Waste: Video Tryptich
Chapman, D. and Hyvärinen, A. Art as Problematic Waste: Video Tryptich. Turun Taidehalli, Turku, Finland
Meaning of Failed Action: Insurrection 1946
Chapman, D., Sundaram. V, Rajadhyaksha,A and Vitali, V. Meaning of Failed Action: Insurrection 1946. Mumbai, IN
Chance Encounters: Serendipity and the Use of Music in the Films of Jean Cocteau and Harry Smith
Chapman, D. 2009. Chance Encounters: Serendipity and the Use of Music in the Films of Jean Cocteau and Harry Smith. The Soundtrack. 2 (1), pp. 5-18.
Falkland: a sonic investigation of place
Chapman, D. and Wilson, Louise K 2010. Falkland: a sonic investigation of place. Journal of Media Practice. 11 (3), pp. 231-242.
The caress of the audible: Re-sounding Falkland
Chapman, D. and Wilson, Louise K. 2011. The caress of the audible: Re-sounding Falkland. Social Semiotics. 21 (4), pp. 517-529.
Context-Based Sound and the Ecological Theory of Perception
Chapman, D. 2017. Context-Based Sound and the Ecological Theory of Perception. Organised Sound. 22 (1), pp. 42-50.
Microphones in a Landscape: Sound, Place And the Ecological Model of Perception
Chapman, D. 2014. Microphones in a Landscape: Sound, Place And the Ecological Model of Perception. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Arts and Digital Industries