It's funny how even the question to find the most silent place there is can be difficult. At first I thought I'd go to the living room where there were no people, only to realise how much sound is actually coming from outside. There are birds, there's traffic and even the rustling of the leaves from the trees is a bit noisy! So I checked my closets and basement which was the quietest place I could find. But even there there are sounds of machines running, high pitch noises from the air ventilation system and noises coming from other rooms. When it is silent, I become much more aware of the sounds I am making myself. I can hear myself breathing, scratching my skin and tones in my ears.
We often have electricity cuts. Whenever this happens I am aware of the silence it creates, and how relaxing this is. As if a blanket of quietness falls over you, I can feel my brain relax in a certain way. When natural sounds have the overtone, there seems to be an inward, contemplative effect on the brain. I'm thinking how I can incorporate that in my films as well.
One of the sequence of Project 2 is where somebody is knocking on the door and the door is opened. These are the sounds that you might hear:
- Walking towards the door
- Sound of an arm moving up and touching of materials
- Knocking on door
- Ongoing silent sounds while waiting for the door to open
- Sound of breathing or coughing, or anything from the person waiting
- Sound of steps coming towards the door, maybe sounds of doors opening and closing behind the door
- Sound of turning of locks and doorknobs.
- Sound of opening door
- Sound of spoken greetings and more steps.
Thinking about the quality of sound is a totally new concept for me and I had to take some effort to come up with proper vocabulary to express it. First of all, I'd like to make a difference between high pitch noise and low, deep noises. In general, the high pitch noises make me think of bright colours, active sudden movements, like in the gym and electricity flashes. Low deep noises remind me more of threats, brown and grey, thick and slow. Low, loud noises remind me of thunder, danger and a vast quantity of something. Volume is in my opinion directly related to sound, the bigger the volume of something, the lower and darker.
It's a good exercise to connect other senses with hearing. It's all part of a feeling, atmosphere that you sense. In making a movie I can see how all should work together or contrast in such a way that it has a surprising effect.
Sounds with a flavour/smell:
- Butter melting in a pan, something that is grilling on the barbecue, fire that is distinguished, opening of a bottle.
Sounds with a colour:
- Balloons popping, the sound of painting, writing, colouring
- Crying, laughing, giggling, silence, thunder and lighting, sirenes
- The sound of tires screeching, ice-skates on ice, the falling of glass, nails on a black board, eraser on paper