Reed, Luke (2014) Empowering Film Sound Practice: Countering visual hegemony and industrial ideology with reference to the short-film ‘Fade’. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis examines the possible marginalisation of sound practices in contemporary mainstream film and television, the fundamental reason for which amounts to a dominant, delineating visual culture (a visual hegemony) that is proliferated within filmmaking practice via ideological and technological means. Evidence for the discussion consists of historical and anecdotal accounts. The discussion is framed by broader concepts of ideology and industrial structures by philosophers: Antonio Gramsci, Dick Hebdige, Louis Althusser and Theodore Adorno. The central contention is that due to the belief that sound is ‘passive’ and a ‘secular’ sphere of film production; it is frequently underrepresented and provided as a ‘sweetener’ to make the visual elements more tangible. The term secular here refers to sounds often segregated and subordinate position in comparison to metaphorical ‘deification’ of visual practices.
My assertion is that this ideology, reinforced by industrial constraints, can belittle the expressive power that sound offers. The practical work builds from this a philosophy that empowers the soundtrack in production and reception, by exploiting the subjective, emotive and sensorial nature of sound to create an aesthetic that demands further engagement from the receiver. This is achieved by engendering experimentation and discourse between picture and sound edits. Ultimately this is framed by a guerrilla filmmaking process of film production and a subsequent exploitation of the freedoms of workflow during postproduction that working as an auteur affords.

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