The Sound of Filmmaking


By/Por: Leah Bergman

The audience gasped as Creed and Colan pounded blow upon blow. A loud crack thundered through the theater, and I had to look away as the shivers went up my spine.  It was an intense and bloody fight scene.  What I did not realize at first was the role sound played in creating this emotional moment.

Photo of Glenn Kiser final

Glenn Kiser, Director of Dolby Institute

Glenn Kiser, Director of Dolby Institute, learned the importance of sound in filmmaking when he worked on the 1992 horror film “Candyman.”  He said, “The director {Bernard Rose} told me something very interesting.  He said, ‘People make a classic mistake when they go to a scary movie and the scene gets really intense; they cover their eyes.  That’s the last thing you should do.  You are still hearing the track and you are making images up in your head that are even more horrific than what’s on screen.  If you are scared, you should cover up your ears.’”

As I watched a clip from Creed where each sound element was isolated, I was able to experience first-hand the truth of this statement.  I found it nearly impossible to watch when I was hearing the impact of the punches; however, when the only sound was music, I could watch without flinching. The sounds were then layered one by one back into the clip, and the overwhelming emotional impact sound had became clear.

When I asked Kiser his goal for the Dolby Institute, he said, “Getting story tellers to think about sound even at the beginning of the script writing process and understanding what a powerful tool it can be for story tellers.” He continued with, “Younger filmmakers are focused on dialogue because they tend to write and direct lower budget films.”  This is why Dolby Institute offers free seminars, videos, and other resources for filmmakers so they will realize that sound is “an amazing tool.”

Ryan Cooglar, Director and writer of the award winning film “Creed”, summed it up best by saying, “Sound is filmmaking.”



© 2016 Leah Bergman

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