by Author Square Pegs Arts

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Square Pegs Arts Music Programme - Sound Design 2021

Before the restrictions of lockdown were upon us, we had orginially planned an exciting compositon workshop based around creating music and sound effects for television and film. This was going to entail groups of youg participants working together to produce the soundtrack for a short clip of footage with no exisiting sound, and perform it live accompanying the footage in a cinema screening. 

The pandemic meant that we couldn't run this in the way we had intended but we were determined to deliver the workshop in some capacity and so we decided to offer it is a 5-week course of workshops, meeting on sundays over Zoom. 

Each week foussed on a different element of sound design. 

In week 1 we researched how important music and sound is to film or television and had discussions on the pshcological effects it can have on the viewer. We looked at famous pieces such as Jaws and Star Wars and talked about the various choices made by the composer. We also had a look at what it was like if the 'wrong' music was played over the footage and how much of a difference it made to the scene. 

In week 2 we all shared some information that we'd researched about film composers and soundtracks. We also looked at our silent clips for the first time and worked in our groups to create a timeline/sound map of the scene. One group had a scene from a horror film and the other group had an animated car-chase scene. We made notes of everything that happened in the clip and at what time before then discussing what sounds would be needed for each occurance. Our task was then to go away and collect sounds from our surroundings that we might be able to use in the clips. This could be music we played on instruments or sounds made with everyday objects. We recorded them on our phones and sent them to the session leaders to put together. 

Week 3 was a very practicial session and we played games and created group soundscapes using just our vocies. We also experimented with turning our screen off on Zoom and making sounds with something near us and getting the others to guess what it was. This was really interesting because we discovered that objects could really sound like other things and this gave us lots of ideas for our own clips. 

In Week 4 we used music software via the share function on zoom to physically start building the soundtracks to our clips. We dicussed where the sounds should go and had lots of fun playing with certain effects such as reverbs, delays and even playing the sounds backwards to create some interesting sounds for the clips. We halped make the decisions and planned out the scenes so that our group leaders would have everything they need to complete the soundtracks after the session. 

In week 5 we came together to reflect on what we enjoyed and what we learned from the process and watched the two scenes in their completed state for the first time. Everyone was thrilled with the results.