Frontline Club Workshop: Sound in Documentary

Friday, 16 February 2018
10 AM – 5 PM

Frontline Club

Fiction filmmakers acknowledge that at least half the meaning of a scene, and often more, comes from the soundtrack. But the documentary soundtrack is often ignored, left as a technical aspect of post-production or caught up in debates about the differences between different styles of documentary production – observational, single-shooter, personal essay, reality, current affairs, and so on. So clearly there is a feeling that sound for something that has its basis in real life events must be different than that for fiction filmmaking. So, how should the documentary filmmaker work with sound?

Taught by Larry Sider.


The School of Sound Debrief: Twelve Takeaway Thoughts from Piers Plowright

After the long buildup, the 12th School of Sound has now past. We’d like to thank all those who took part – the audience, the technical team and, most of all, the wonderful speakers who triggered all sorts of ideas, insights and visions over the four days.

We loved meeting as many people as we could, over 200 from around the world. Please keep in touch.

And here are Piers Plowright’s Twelve Takeaway Thoughts summing up the presentations: (more)

Neil Brand joins ‘Hearing Voices in the Noise’

The renown silent film accompanist, Neil Brand, will join Mark Underwood for his presentation Hearing Voices in the Noise, exploring the phenomena of audio hallucination, and its possible connections to the way we perceive sound and moving image.

Neil Brand has been a silent film accompanist for over 30 years, regularly in London at the Barbican and BFI National Film Theatres, throughout the UK and at film festivals and special events around the world, where he has inaugurated the School of Music and Image to teach up-and-coming young pianists about silent film accompaniment.

Walter Murch and Annabelle Pangborn in closing session

It has been 90 years since The Jazz Singer and the advent of sync sound in films. On a lesser note, it’s 19 years since the first School of Sound. It feels like a good time to take stock.

Walter Murch and Annabelle Pangborn close this year’s School with a discussion looking back and forward, rebooting the discussion about sound in the arts and media. Where have over 60 years of high tech sound work taken us? What has changed in the way we communicate through sound? What have we gained and lost? Has technology and the creation of ‘sound design’ changed audiences? Do they think or perceive differently? Should we change the way we teach the art, craft and theory of sound?


Mark Underwood presents Hearing Voices in the Noise

Hearing Voices in the Noise: A short seminar exploring the phenomena of audio hallucination, and its possible connections to the way we perceive sound and moving image. Mark explores our innate desire to make sense of our audio and visual world; to seek order from chaos, to find the familiar in the unfamiliar, safety in the unsettling, and patterns in random information.

What is real, anyway? The depiction of nature in an age of hyperreality

As part of April’s School of Sound, Stephen Deutsch introduces and chairs this session on sound in documentary, focusing on the representation of nature.

Nature is depicted in a variety of ways, from ‘fly-on-the-wall’ programmes such as Naturewatch to Hollywood-treatment, big-budget, blockbuster series such as Planet Earth.

It is also depicted in exhibitions, often mute, in films about locations and people, and through sound alone. Each type aims to present the natural world, and especially wildlife, in an engaging and truthful manner, but the range of styles employed makes one wonder what ‘truthful’ means in some of these contexts.

The panel includes Stephen Deutsch, Honor Beddard, Mike Gunton and Gideon Koppel. [more]