UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Undergraduate

Spring 2017

140 - 001 | CCN: 15175

Special Topics in Film: Sound

Mark Berger,

4 Units

 This course will explore the nature, evolution, use, and abuse of sound in cinema. From the first silent films, which weren’t presented in silence at all, to current “ride” films, the relation between sound and image will be analyzed in detail. While there is a high degree of visual sophistication in audiences and academic analysis, there is an almost equal naiveté when it comes to sound. Starting with the physics of sound, the neurophysiology of hearing, and how our perception influences our emotional reactions, we will consider the three main categories of film sound - dialogue, music, effects - from the perspectives of the writer, the director, and the audience, looking at the artistic and technical factors that guide and constrain the creative process, as well as how changes in presentation have affected audience response. Examples will be shown from foreign and domestic feature, documentary, and animated films. There will be several guest lectures by film professionals currently working on the soundtracks of their films. At the end of the course, students should be able to bring an increased sophistication and depth to their real-time understanding of how sound contributes to (or diminishes!) the filmic experience.