We are used to expect more than reality

by Susana Alarcon


I will use a not very good example to make my point, but, I kind of new it and had thought about it with fight scenes.

I used to attend to box in my country (Mexico) and hmm, yes, you can hear the punch if you are close enough, but of course that the sound, its qualities and amplification, have nothing to do of what we see and expect in a movie.

Oh other example, UFC ! Now they have microphones really close to the action and I’m sure they are super amplified to be transmitted so the audience can hear the punch. But still, not as “punchy” as in movies.

In movies, we expect a fake amplified reality, is that cinema and sound evolution’s fault? What will happen with our reality if we keep expecting more and more immersion in an exaggerated reality, will it become boring?




Hitchcock and Psyco

by Susana Alarcon

Though I know now that Hitchcock didn’t want a score in the shower scene and the sound team (ok, more because Bernard Herman) anyway put a selection of horror style strings composition, and, it worked out awesome. I think the outcome of Mr. Hitchcock’s idea description could had worked as well… let’s read:

We should hear water gurgling down the drain of the bathtub, especially when we go closer it… during the murder, the sound of the shower should be continuous and monotonous, only broken by the screams of Marion.”

I think I still think in the power of our mind and the idea of creating tension with real and hyper real sounds, force reality and let our imagination work.

Other point:

I think that for sure, the good implementation of the sounds in Hitchcock’s movies has a lot to do with his descriptions of sounds and feeling, after all he was the mind creating the world. As he said, ‘To describe a sound effect accurately, one has to imagine its equivalent in dialogue.’

SFX, what are you hearing?

by Susana Alarcon


This week we made a little experiment in recording sounds of interesting sounding objects. Particularly for me, it was a very entertaining and successful learning experience. I guess that I had never been in the situation of trying to record sounds and then trying to search new meanings for them. What we hear may not be exactly the way we see it, or what we hear can trick our mind and adapt to other views.

Is a good thing to remember that anyway the possibility to manipulate the recordings opens an infinite variable game.

Creativity in creation of sound

I guess that the word “designer” also implies a creative side of sound creation. If we take the flow of a “design”, creativity can rule most of the process from exploration, to ideation and also prototyping.

Examples of creativity seen and good to point out:

King Kong: lions roar slowed down

Dog walking: press on nails glued on to gloves

Mammoth footsteps in Ice Age: dropping a log into a pit of dirt

Bats: Umbrella!

Horses: Coconut halves

Snow walking: Salt in a bucket

Earthquake: Wooden cracking slowed down

Ripping body: Cabbage cut with a machete…. and so on

sounds and SFX as words in language

by Susana Alarcon


The sound effects are a manipulated language;  each sound film demands the creation of its own “soundlibrary” (vocabulary) with unique definitions, tense, intention, pronunciation and accent. Is also like if every single world that is created had its own history, traditions and storytelling style.

I could understand this way why is it so important to create a unique version of sounds that appear in a movie; even if it’s a good translation, sometimes the words in one language don’t exactly describe what you mean in another.