More subtly, offscreen sound is used to withhold the "Prestige," or the payoff, of each man's greatest trick. (Originally, the word prestige meant "illusion," especially one that dazzles the eyes.) Alfred's first, minimal version of the Transported Man is shown only in part. We see the setup with Robert watching avidly and Cutter elsewhere in the audience, skeptical. But we don't see the Prestige phase of the trick. Nolan keeps the camera on Cutter while we hear the second door open and the bouncing ball being caught by the duplicate Alfred. Nolan thereby makes the trick itself vague, to be revealed in full later. Conveying the illusion through offscreen sound also emphasizes the contrasting reactions of Cutter, who is unimpressed, and Robert, who considers it "the greatest magic trick I’ve ever seen." [more inside]
Sound of Cinema - British Sci-Fi from the BFI Days of Fear and Wonder - BBC Radio 3 talks to film composer Stephen Price about The Shape of Things to Come, Alien, Gravity, and other science fiction soundtracks.
Director and/or star of many of the greatest films ever made including The Great Dictator (2:05:16) [Globe scene and the eternally goosebump providing Final speech], The Immigrant (20:01), The Gold Rush (1:11:49), City Lights (1:22:40), Modern Times (1:27:01), and Monsieur Verdoux (1:59:03), Charlie Chaplin's movies have entered the public domain in most countries. Below the fold is an annotated list of all 82 of his official short and feature films in chronological order, as well as several more, with links to where you can watch them; it's not like you had work to do right? [more inside]
Jack Foley was the first Foley Artist. A Foley Artist's job is to physically create the subtler sound effects for most of the action in a film — usually, everything but the dialogue. Sometimes that involves smearing peanut butter on someone's face and recording the sound of a cow licking it off. • Here's the split-screen classic short, Track Stars: The Unseen Heroes of Movie Sound, and its Doppleganger, plus a similar tribute, replacing the sounds on a 1962 public domain film. • A couple of Porn Foley parodies [NSFW of course] and a murder-filled parody • Here's the process in detail for marking, recording, and editing Foley for 35mm film: Part 1 (excerpted), Part 2 • Technically, Foley only covers sounds you can tailor-make in the recording studio; other sounds (engines, explosions, etc) are the domain of the Sound FX person. If you don't have your own means, though, Sounddogs.com has an extensive collection of samples.
The Soundworks Collection gives a behind-the-scenes look into the work of talented sound teams working on feature films, soundtrack scoring, and video games with a compilation of exclusive interviews, awards shows / event panel coverage and sound stage / studio room videos. Vimeo Channel. YouTube Channel. [more inside]
Canadian horror flick Pontypool (trailer) is a modern zombie tale quite unlike any other. Loosely based on a dense, complicated novel by Tony Burgess and inspired by Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, it tells the story of Grant Mazzy, a grumbling yet likable radio host (played by veteran character actor Stephen McHattie) whose penchant for philosophical ramblings gets him booted from Toronto to the sleepy winter pastures of Pontypool, Ontario. One bleak morning, as the outspoken Mazzy chafes against no-nonsense producer Sydney Briar, disturbing news begins rolling in of a series of bizarre and violent incidents sweeping the town. Trapped in their church basement broadcasting booth, Mazzy, Briar, and intern Laurel-Ann Drummond struggle to understand the odd nature of the crisis and warn the wider world before it's too late. But this is no ordinary virus, and they find their efforts may be causing far more harm than good. You can watch the film on YouTube horror channel Dead By Dawn (1 2 3 4 5 6 7), but if you're pressed for time you can also experience it in its more logical form: as a one-hour BBC radio drama voiced by the original cast. And after the credits, make sure not to miss the film's playful non-sequitur coda.
Ben Burtt... heard the name? Well if you've ever watched a Star Wars film you've heard what he does. [more inside]
Edward Samuel's Illustrated History of Copyright A fascinating illustrated historical tour, looking at how different technologies have shaped how we think about copyright and intellectual property.
Did the roof of the Pantheon influence Copernicus? Are the planets of the solar system aligned in accordance with a nearly-forgotten hypothesis known (unfairly) as Bode's Law? A fascinating wide-ranging discussion on BLDGBLOG with Walter Murch, the visionary editor and sound designer for such films as The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, THX1138, and many others. [Murch's film work has previously been discussed here and here.]
Len Lye: New Zealander Len Lye was a restless maverick - a pioneer of films without cameras (drawing directly onto the celluloid) and kinetic art (CD available through Atoll, sound samples here and here), and he was also quite handy with poems and inks. More about his Windwand and recently installed Waterwhirler on Flickr. Coralised open directory of short Waterwhirler movies here.
Don't know ADR from THX? Filmsound.org is for you. Check out their cliches section, and much more besides.
Videohelper.com sells music and sound effects to film/video producers. Here's their FAQ. It's the most fun FAQ I've ever read when I wasn't even trying to have fun. Though they are a serious business, their entire site is in this style. I want to work there!