Speaker: Dr. Peter Rothbart

Where: Room 215 at the SET Building at Alfred State

When: Tuesday, September 17th

Who: Dr. Peter Rothbart

Topic: Film and Sound

The presentation was about how music and sound are used with films. Different uses of sound were discussed and the impact that it can have. What really caught my attention was the multiple uses and the way they intertwine with each other to create an effective film. Specifically, using sound or music that is the opposite of what the viewer expects stood out to me. For example, taking a brutal scene but giving it sorrowful music. It evokes different emotions in the viewer. Using sound to reveal evil thoughts or feelings of actors are two other uses but, Dr. Peter Rothbart pointed out, using music as a buffer when nothing is happening will not save a bad film no matter how great the music is. Until Dr. Rothbart shared his knowledge on sound and film, I hadn’t realized how many uses there were for music. The whole presentation gave me a new view on films and their sound. The way someone’s emotions and state of mind can be played with is amazing.

For example, a clip of an intro to a show was viewed that used various types of music. One was funky and made the show look like it would be a comedy. Another one made it seem a bit more serious; it appeared almost like a ‘slice of life’. And yet another made the show appear to be a drama. The impact of various sounds on people’s feelings is amazing.

He also pointed out that it is good to recognize when something is good, especially when it may not be a strong point. That way, as a producer, one can hire people that will be good at the job. But, as an artist, a certain distance needs to be kept from a piece of work, no matter how much it may be loved. That way, a producer or artist in general can make a better judgement about a piece of work.

Whenever I wish to create a film or video with music in it, Dr. Peter Rothbart’s knowledge that he shared will certainly come in handy. I’ll pay more attention to what pieces I am choosing and how I am placing them within a scene. Whether I want it to be part of a scene or as an intro or outro, what I have learned from Dr. Peter Rothbart is invaluable. I’ll certainly be more aware when creating my own pieces instead of just choosing something and throwing it in. I’ll likely make sure that the piece works within more than one context of how sound is used in film.

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