A little thoughts about Sound effect in Animation
No one doubted that sound recording would be a natural extension of the cinematic experience. But animated film was a different matter. Would the synchronization of sound and animation, even if it were practical, work? More importantly, would the audience buy the illusion of animated characters making noises?
It had already been done, however. A few years earlier, Max and Dave Fleischer had released seven short films using Lee DeForrest’s “Sound on Film” process. In 1928, In order to test if the idea would work for them, Walt Disney set up a special screening of the then silent Steamboat Willie strictly for studio employees and their wives. They set up a bed sheet with a microphone behind it and began playing the music themselves as the film played. The film was published at November 18th . These seven minutes long animation is the first animated film played with sound effect. The sound effects are key to the timing and comedy of the film, although the character’s voices are pretty terrible.
If the sound effects are so significant to an animation，what are sound effects actually are？A sound effect or an audio effect is a sound recorded and presented to make a specific storytelling or creative point without the use of dialogue or music. The content of sound effect has huge range which contains all the sound in natural world and the transformations of them.
The Importance of sound effect in Animation
Early film makers hold scepticism to the value of sound effect. In their view, film is essentially visual arts. The function of sound effect as well as superficial accompany with musical instruments. However, human can hardly communicate with each other only through visual information. Stories and emotions in particular moments can be shared easier by using sound. Later directors like Eisenstein and RenéClair developed the relationship between image and sound. This makes sound effect become art of creative not just technique of copy. Now sound effect is considered as an important part of film. Jean Renoir wrote this in his autobiography Ma Vie et Mes Films “ I delightedly welcome it, I see all use of sound immediately. The purpose of all artistic creation, after all, is the knowledge about human. Sound is the best method to show personality, isn’t it?”
Realism of Animation Sound Effect
Sound is one of most significant information source of humankind. All kinds of sounds can transmit certain implications. An essential feature of animation sound effect is realistically emulates the system’s environment. The animation The New Door Bell (1986) is an experiment of director Arda on sound effect. There is no dialogue and music but instead of a large number of sound effect. The story is about a guy who set up a new musical door bell expect someone press it. Minimalism was used in the visual style of the film. Different space has been played as square in different colors. Viewpoint of audiences was fixed by limited camera movement. As a result, sound is particularly important in this film. Audiences need more information other than the limited visual elements. For example, the traffic noise we hearted in master room implies the street space outside of the frame. The motor bike sound from far and near, and go upstairs footstep sound imply the information which is someone will appears in the screen. Characters appears from sound then transfer to the image in screen. This is a good example of synchronization between sound and image. These sound effect offer special information, expand the visual space in the film.
Subjective treatment of sound effect
Along with the growing knowledge of sound used in animation, people are paying more attention to Subjective treatment of sound effect. Exaggeration is often used to express the mental space. For example In action movie, the timer sound of a time bomb was supposed tiny and regular. However, this sound often speed up and become louder and louder to express nervous emotion. The sound of dramatic heart beating is work on the same principle. Other subjective treatment includes repeat, metaphor and of course silence. Repeat is a method which plays the certain sound element in certain section again and again to guide audience image. The repeat always has deep meaning. Metaphor is used to appose unconnected thing to produce symbolic meaning. Silence is an active technique of expression. Directors use silence to express emotions like fear, disturbance and loneliness. Silence also can be used to express contrast with sound to intensity the impact of the art.