The Interplay of sound and image

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Sound and image are two pieces that are made to go together, just like peanut butter and jelly. Sound allows the audience to grasp a sense of what is taking place, the emotions being felt, and the ideas being thought. Where the image, allows us to really get a firsthand experience of the moment. The two have to work together in order to be successful. There cannot be an image of a wooded area supported by the audio of cars honking. That just does not work. In the examples shown for the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, the audience can match the image being displayed with the audio they are listening to for a better understanding of what the image is about. An image allows the audience an open-ended imagination of what is taking place, but the audio narrows the mind to a certain reality of what is actually taking place.

See Spot Run

In the documentary See Set Run. by Laurie J. Mills, the audience is shown a glimpse of the life and start of one parkour/free-running team. The title is a creative play on the main character’s, Michael Kanakan, nickname. The documentary shows images of Michael and his teammate, ‘Jet’, speaking about and attempting parkour. Michael describes parkour as the ability to move from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible, whether that entails going over or under an object in one’s own path. The best shot of the documentary, is a series of photos taken as ‘Jet’ attempts a move up the side of a wall while Michael is watching him with much anticipation. While the images are being shown, we hear Michael speaking in the background of the motivation he gets from watching ‘Jet’ perform difficult tricks, which enables him to push himself to reach an equal level. The documentary does a fantastic job throughout of using sound with appropriate imagery in order for the audience to understand what is taking place. A simple but effective audio used multiple times was the sound of feet on concrete while someone is in the act of parkour. Mills does a great job of capturing the essence of an activity which is popular, without being understood.


In the documentary Trash, by Jennifer Formuziewich and Cait Wilson, the audience is brought into the daily lives of a sanitation worker in Portland, Oregon. This documentary was put together really well, and used so many great aspects to keep the audience engaged and interested throughout the whole story. The way the story opened and closed with moving images of the garbage truck driving up in front of trash and being thrown in the back of the truck, to the end when it was being driven away down the street was a fantastic way to open and close in a unique way. The most interesting aspect of this documentary was it kept the attention of the audience throughout, even though it was not an interesting topic. The beginning was a great way to show the different characters (employees) who work for the team, while listening to them introduce themselves and listen to a short background on their lives. Another aspect of the documentary that was able to drive the video, was the idea a garbage man just picks up trash and moves on. However, we are able to learn there is so much more to their job. Garbage men know individuals based on the trash they throw away, and we can see them posing for pictures with items bringing humor and light to their jobs.



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