Saturday, January 14, 2012

More Than a Soundtrack

          Workshopping with filmmaker Cathy Cook in preparation for our upcoming project was inspiring. I do not often work with film in my personal art, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to learn from someone who's art is majorly in film. Cathy Cook used several of her films as examples of how we can incorporate sound into our upcoming video projects. She discussed an early film of hers, June Brides, and how she made many of the sound effects using nothing more than her own mouth. She also used films that she found relevant to our upcoming project that she did not work on or create. 
Cathy Cook
(UMBC Profile)

          I found it very helpful that Cathy Cook outlined how to go about using found sound without impeding on copyrights. She pointed out various websites with non-copyrighted sounds, as well as a few sites that required a minor fee. I was familiar with what a storyboard is and how it is used, but Cathy Cook showed a website dedicated to storyboards that contains several examples on how they look and are used when translated into film. Because this will be a collaborative project, my classmates and I are creating videos, while other students compose soundtracks. Cathy recommended using a scratch track initially. I was very familiar with most of the film terminology she used, but I had never heard of a scratch track. A scratch track is made up of temporary music or sound that mimics the finished product and is replaced in the final version. Cathy's suggestions for working collaboratively and using sound effectively in films will be very useful in the development of this upcoming project.  



  1. Cook's mention of found sound was intriguing. We definitely have a world of sound recordings available to us today on the internet, but I think using Cook's methods of simply recording sounds by yourself and looping them can be a great way to immerse yourself in the auditory experience of filmmaking.

  2. I found Cook's use of sound really interesting as well. But I thought that Cook's work really related to the photo series you did last term. Her pieces are dreamlike and evoke this sort of psychological shift from reality to some sort of liminal mental state. If you ever shoot in color, maybe you would consider using some of the distorted palettes Cathy features in her pieces.

  3. I found that really revealing too, how she explained that some of the sound effects used in her earlier films were self-made, and simply processed to seem more realistic. It makes you think, though, about how effects such as that were achieved before film became entirely digitalized. Nowadays we can just go online and find a sound clip, as Cook showed us, but before then everything was much more do-it-yourself.

  4. I'm really glad she brought up the aspect of issues with copy writing. I think that lots of times students don't realize the magnitude that is involved when you are creating this type of work and they don't go through these steps to insure that their project is well insured. I think this sort of insight really makes someone's project go from class project to professional material.

  5. Perhaps the imagination could go more wild when there weren't the digital resources. Making the sound of thunder by banging on sheet metal and so on. On the other hand, Cook pointed out how easy sound is compared to what it was and that young artists could USE THAT to their advantage and take projects further intellectually or otherwise.