Monday, September 27, 2010


Where would we be without sound effects and background music?

I've been watching episodes from the original Outer Limits and find the ideas and themes very interesting. The special effects are cheesy and the endings are sometimes sellouts but the plots/ideas themselves are great.

One thing I notice is that every special effect or use of an electronic device has to have a very weird sound. You know the type - what you typically hear in the old sci-fi movies. The guy flips the switch and right away you hear all kinds of buzzing or an eerie vibrating pitch that fills the room. But is that really the case? I don't think most things make that much sound. Is it that in the absence of sound that us humans feel we have to fill in the vacuum somehow?

Today's hard drives are generally quieter than the ones from earlier days when you could hear a lot of tapping or ticking from the discs being read. Since today's drives are quieter, how many of you sit there and fill in the ticks yourself? Or start making your own sound effects when you push the button to boot up your computer?

I think we all tend to feel uncomfortable with silence and thus like to fill in the gap with some noise. That's why people like to leave their televisions on even if no one is watching them. If I'm not mistaken, many of the episodes of MASH did not have a laugh track, which made it seem strange. I bet it also made some people wonder if something was supposed to be funny or not since there was no cue provided for them. If today's cars are too noise-proof, do we make sounds of revving engines?

That's your assignment for today - add your own sound effects to everything you do (or add a music soundtrack). You don't have to actually make this audible if you don't want those around you thinking you're crazy, but just do it in your mind.

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