Foley Sounds: Matsuo Ohno & Ben Birtt

With the use of sound heavily predominant in Phonar I thought this would abe a good chance to talk about a film I saw at Zipangu Fest 2012 a month ago.

‘The Echo of Astro Boy’s footsteps’ – Masanori Tominaga 2010

Whilst recording the sounds of a cabbage (don’t ask) as part of this weeks workshop we were also shown a short clip from a documentary about Disney & Pixar’s Wall-E. This video really showed me how important every component of sound is, especially when paired up with visual imagery, as the viewer we can be swayed either way by the tone, duration and there aspects of one sound. This is all happening subconsciously.

This video reminded me of one I had seen at Zipangu Fest a month or so ago. The Echo of Astro Boy’s footsteps is an exploration of sound in anime and focuses on the life of one individual in particular, Matsuo Ohno, the creator of the iconic Astro Boy’s footsteps. The thing that was different in Matsuo’s work is the use of feedback. When learning about sound design in last weeks workshop we were told that feedback is a no go, and never to use it. Matsuo Ohno’s work however prides itself on using unconventional techniques to create futuristic sound influenced by the idea of space. Which demonstrates how creative we should be when making sounds, they don’t have to directly reflect the sounds of a physical object to still portray a message.

Both Matsuo Ohno & Ben Burtt create something called Foley Sound. This is sound which is created rather than found. Using objects to create the perfect sound for the scene, it’s very controlled, and there is no sound to start with, the sound designer builds up layers of sound to directly position the audience and to play with their emotions and perspective. As photographers we do this is a very similar way, we use light, colour, composition and context to place our audience, what’s interesting to explore is the combinations of both sound and images, which is what I will be doing as part of Phonar this week.

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