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Sound spheres: A model of psychoacoustic space in audiovisual media

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storycon.org H2'ed 5/31/12
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I Am -- I've still got a little tickle in my throat from a cold and have to cough a couple times, take a drink of water. I talk to a guard who needs some information about a prisoner.

I Touch -- I'm typing on the computer, making some notes with a pen on paper. When I lean back, my chair squeaks. I set a cup of water on the desk.

I See -- The guard talks to me. The phone rings.

I Know -- I hear the footsteps of the guards and several doors and bolts, knowing where they are even though I don't see them. I can hear what seems like an air conditioning hum. More unusual is the sound of a cricket inside the station, which I look for but can't locate.

I Don't Know -- I don't hear any sound I can't recognize.

NOTE: The cricket sound generated a lively discussion about the nature of having a living being inside a high security building that can't be located. Furthermore, the cricket most likely has the ability to come and go with little restrictions, a very unique skill in contrast to all the people there in their fixed roles and pre-determined locations. We considered that this cricket sound could become a sonic story element, representing a "ghost in the machine", rebellious, free, unbound by the rules of that place.

 

Example 3 -- Apartment

In my room resting, waiting from my cousins to come visit.

I Think -- Not aware of anything inside my head.          

I Am -- I hear my breathing.

I Touch -- My pen makes a noise on the paper. My footsteps.

I See -- The cat scratches the sofa. After getting up, I see the neighbor kids.

I Know -- There are some kids voices outside. At first I think it might be my cousins arriving who I am expecting, but then I get up and see that it's the neighbors having a party.

I Don't Know -- I don't hear any sound I can't recognize.

NOTE:   In this case, the I Know sphere was correctly identifying kids sounds, but incorrectly assuming one specific source (cousins). The movement from I Know to I See sphere revealed the mistaken assumption and the correct source (neighbors). This example illustrates a powerful audio storytelling technique, leading the audience toward an incorrect assumption through a built-in expectation (either within the film story itself or from the typical cultural references), and then revealing the true nature of the sound source in the visuals.

 

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