Masterclasses of Sound (Incl. Aesthetica Film Festival)



Today I have been to two masterclasses on sound, courtesy of the university and the Aesthetica Film Festival in York ( ) given by two sound practitioners – firstly a man called Jerry who is a friend of my tutor’s who works on video games and secondly Joakim Sundström who was the main sound editor for films such as Filth and Seven Psychopaths. The second one was an official masterclass part of York’s very own film festival and had I not been part of the university, I would have had to pay £8.

My first session was something set up by my tutor specifically for the sound people on the course and it was in fact really interesting. Jerry talked a lot about sound effects, I assume because at the beginning he asked for topic suggestions and that was mine. He gave us advice on sound editing on particular and how to subtly add effects. The biggest message I took away from this session was that you’re goal as a sound designer is to be invisible; you’ve done a good job so long as nobody notices the sound because it’s supposed to be seamless and believable. Sound is the first thing that will take an audience straight out of a story. For example, blurred and out of focus shots are not great, nor are they ideal, but it doesn’t destroy the believability for the audience. Fuzzy or muffled sound, however, is instantly noticeable and will ruin everything for the viewer. He then came with us to the Aesthetica masterclass at York Theatre Royal.

It was late starting and when we finally got in – all six of us from YSJ amongst a crowd of paying peoples – we sat down and listened to him being interviewed by his friend on the stage. It was definitely interesting and all that, it was just a tad…dry. I mean, it’s great to listen to an actual industry professional, someone who’s BAFTA winning and is earning money by doing something that he loves. I was really interesting how he showed us the different layers of audio on a film; he loaded up his editing software and separated the dialogue from the FX from the music and it was pretty cool. However when he showed us the clip with all the sounds together, it felt disjointed because I’d already seen it with the sounds split up. And I think something was wrong with the sound levels. Ironic.

It has been a really interesting day and I have learnt a lot, more techniques on how to use sound to your advantage than the technical side of it with the rules. I am just so tired…but after a nice carvery I’m sitting with lovely peoples watching Juno. Not quite academic research, but sure :)

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