Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Edit Room #3

"I think the image of the eyes facing forward and the ears facing sideways is metaphorically indicative of how we confront visual reality as opposed to aural reality. The visual seems to be direct and confrontational: You look at what's in front of you, and what's in front is seen and apprehended with a measure of intellect and emotion. And it's seen all at once, in a single grasp--let's call that the front door. The visual material knocks on the front door, and when somebody knocks on the front door, you sort of adjust your clothing, go to the door, take a deep breath, say, "Who's there?" and open the door. Whatever meeting occurs will have an element of formality to it, because it's somebody who came to the front door.
Sound tends to come in the back door, or sometimes even sneak in through the windows or through the floorboards. Remember, the ears point out the side of your head and take in a 360-degree spherical field. And while you're busy answering the front door, sound is sneaking in the back door. It's in the house as much as anyone who came in through the front door, but you're not as aware of it, and so its presence is more of a conditional presence--it tends to condition the things you are consciously aware of. The strange thing is that you take the emotional treatment that sound is giving, and you allow that to actually change how you see the image: You see a different image when it has been emotionally conditioned by the sound. So sometimes you will swear that you actually saw something that never, ever happened on the screen or in the soundtrack, but is the unique combination of the two inside your head.
Also, for some reason that I don't fully understand, I am very emotionally moved by the space around a sound. I almost think that sometimes I am recording space with a sound in it, rather than sound in a space."
Walter Murch in conversation with Tom Kenny

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