Noir is a complex and diabolical entity. Nothing is ever done without an ulterior motive. Which is fitting considering the femme fatale feature that seems to always trap the lead man like a wiggling fly in a black widows web. I knew all of the shadows and angles had purpose, but it leaves nothing to chance. While I anticipate that these videos and readings were meant to be done first, I am almost glad that I waited until the end to reflect on them. It makes all of the frustrations and breakdowns seem more appropriate and purposeful. I like being able to look back at the audio I have created and realize that in some way or another, it tells a story, that the way I merged and layered sounds serves a function. While it may be hard to believe that taking the lyrics out of a Backstreet Boys song has some hidden goal, it does show the process of the song. It shows how it was made, what instruments were used. In one way or another, it shows what audio can do. That is what I got from Hanson’s reading. It all has a determination. Every edit or layer is there for a reason. It doesn’t seem to ever just be because it sounds good, although that is always a perk.
Hanson states “Sound frequently takes on a defining or delineating role in relation to setting” (p. 289). As an english major, I have spent years talking about plots, settings, rising actions, etcetera. While sound is thrown in there, it has never held such a dominating role. One would think that creating your own sounds when you read can help establish a mood or ambience but with noir, the craft that goes behind each car honk or foot step is so deliberate. It is placed there for the sole purpose to illicit a certain response whether the audience knows it or not. Dominique Nasta uses the phrase “setting the pace of the heartbeat” (p.288). The sounds in noir are all combined or silenced in ways that force the audience, willing or unwilling, to capture their mood.
The idea that the presence of an office can immediately signify a certain emotion is fascinating. Noir is really more then a genre, it is a craft that seems to constantly change and manipulate its presence.
Honestly, I really didn’t notice that much of a difference between the two videos. It went completely over my head. Until I read “The Ambience of Film Noir- Soundscapes, Design and Mood” I didn’t fully appreciate the differences. I went back and watched each one twice, then would pause one at a certain point and go find that same point in the other one. It amazed me how I could miss something so vital. I think it is because of how subtle the changes are, well they don’t seem subtle now. However, I remember being surprised when the car blew up in the first video, which seems a little dumb considering it starts off with someone placing a bomb on the car. Yet in the second one, something bad seemed more likely. Then I realized that the music was different; therefore, the whole mood was different. The first one was a little more cheery and easy going. There was more of a connection to the pedestrians and less of a focus on the car. While in the second one, the music remained the constant ominous song throughout. I was less drawn to what was happening outside of the couple walking and the couple in the car driving. It really is a craft that just changing one detail can alter the entire scene.
Sound has such an impact on how we perceive certain events. Noir really plays on that emotion.