Modern motion picture sound is extraordinarily sophisticated. Film-makers today could employ mixes of different sound elements. The complexity of modern film sound and its increasing importance in the artistic design of a film require a new creative member of the production team-- the sound designer. Sound design goes far beyond the routine technical challenges of getting audible sound and mixing effects and music with dialogue. Sound designers create a total sound environment that not only supports the images but extend their meanings in dynamic ways.
Sound design of a film builds a mix of realistic sound and synthetic sound.
Realistic sound derives form actual sources, such as footsteps, the human voice, or automobile engines, although a designer uses this to create a expressive effect.
Synthetic Sounds are invented and have no counter-part in actual life, but they easily link with images on screen and extend, in a totally convincing manner, the meaning of those images. For example, the voice of Steven Spielberg's character E.T. synthesized a mix of multiple sounds including animals as well as people.
World of Sound Design:There are three characteristics of sound in the audio environment--direct sound, reflected sound, ambient sound. Direct sound is the one that comes immediately from the source. It is spoken or recorded directly into the microphone and, therefore, usually conveys little environmental information. By contrast, reflected sound is the one that is reflected off surrounding surfaces in the environment to produce a slight reverberation. Hard surfaces such as glass or metal bounce sound quickly and effectively whereas softer surfaces, such as carpeting or cushioned furniture, are less effective.
Ambient sound refers to generalized noises in the recording environment. If shooting takes place out of doors, ambient sounds may include the airplane traveling overhead, cries of children playing in the distance, or the sound of wind in the trees. If a scene occurs in a empty room without any explicit sound, the soundtrack will not be dead or silent. Instead, it will carry room tone, the acoustical properties of the room itself. Room tone is a low level of ambient noise, amd it indicates that the audio environment created by sound design is never silent or dead.
Like film editing, film sound remains a somewhat misunderstood craft, partly because at its best it tends to be imperceptible. Mr. Lievsay, sound designer of No Country Old Man says, “I think a lot of people think the sound just comes out of the camera.” What actually happens is a labor-intensive process of editing and mixing that combines dialogue and sound recorded on location with effects that are added during post-production.
For a action film, designer had to create a range of sounds for the array of weapons used in the film. If they are making a period film based in 1950's or 1970's then it's a big challenge for a sound designer to get the right roar for the vehicle engines. The essence of sound design is you can’t record the sound. You have to take a lot of sounds and put them together. You just can't wait for a vehicle sound or a gunshot to record.
For most casual movie-goers, sound is often the least consciously noticed element of film structure, but its contribution to film cannot be overstated. The next time you watch a favorite movie on television, turn off the sound and see how impoverished the pictures become. Without sound , a movie loses much of its emotional impact.
Movie Sound Design - eHow.com