Audio mixing: deaf character

itarumaa

Member
So, basically in my movie the main character loses his hearing. This happens in the end of the film, so the whole movie he is not deaf. He is also the only character on the screen when he goes deaf.

How could I achieve this in audio mixing? I have dialogue, audio effects (for instance singing birds) and music mixed at together. Should I just use only music after the character loses his hearing or could there be a better way to do this?

I have a audio mixing person hired for this job so I think he can do this, as long as I would have some kind of idea to tell him.
 
So, basically in my movie the main character loses his hearing. This happens in the end of the film, so the whole movie he is not deaf. He is also the only character on the screen when he goes deaf.

How could I achieve this in audio mixing? I have dialogue, audio effects (for instance singing birds) and music mixed at together. Should I just use only music after the character loses his hearing or could there be a better way to do this?

I have a audio mixing person hired for this job so I think he can do this, as long as I would have some kind of idea to tell him.
You tell him "My protagonist becomes deaf at the 00:00:00:00 (insert your time code) mark of the film; he will be the only character seen from then on until the credits." That's his job, isn't it? He should have plenty of ideas. If you don't trust him to do the job why hire him in the first place?


There are a number of tools available - EQ, reverbs, compression and the like. Which ones are used and when they are used will be determined by your script, your visuals, your editing - there are just too many variables. I don't even know if your "movie" is three minutes of three hours. Does the deafness come on suddenly/traumatically or is it gradual? All these and a thousand other things go into the hows and whys of choosing specific sounds effects (or lack thereof) and mixing/rerecording styles.


BTW - this should have been discussed during preproduction.
 

itarumaa

Member
Hi, yes we are having discussions with my mixing engineer what to do. The idea of the scene is based on movie called "Ichi the Killer" and in that movie when the man takes his own hearing there is complete silence after that. But in the next cut there is audio again, since there is another person on the scene.

In my film (feature, 70 mins) the main character is alone, kind of. The reason for this is that the protagonist has been having nightmares where his twin brother is haunting him (audio only) and wants to stop the agony by taking his own hearing. The main character has a twin brother who is present at 2/3 scenes where there are no hearing. However, the brother only exists in main characters head, so he has been imagining this brother of his the whole movie.

And then in the end of the scene 3 when the main character does not hear (anymore), he is looking the nature (in the forest) when he suddenly hears footsteps of his brother (in his head). Then we reveal to the audience that he has been imaging his twin brother all the time and that the twin brother is actually already dead.
 
A very different scenario than originally described. Having it all take place in his head puts an entirely different spin on how I would personally approach the sound design. The specific approach would, for me, depend upon the story/plot/character details - anything from muted sounds to hyper-stylized sounds or a combination thereof.

That's all you're going to get without a consultants fee….:D
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff member
Admin
However with stylized audio you risk giving away the twist. You'd have to play it just right, like Sixth Sense... don't give it away, but after, it is obvious. Little hints that don't register as hints until second watch.
 
However with stylized audio you risk giving away the twist. You'd have to play it just right, like Sixth Sense... don't give it away, but after, it is obvious. Little hints that don't register as hints until second watch.

But of course!!!! That's the subtle art of sound design.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff member
Admin
That's what the big bucks are for!!!! :D

itarumaa that consultation fee would be worth it.
 

sfoster

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
you really risk the film becoming less engaging with the audience if you get rid of all the sound... the character is deaf but your audience isn't.

You could reserve certain effects for POV shots to help the audience identify with the character and then have other wide shots with all of the sounds put in.

Have you seen The Artist? That film was great and played with the concept of absent Foley.

And i'd like to make a personal request.. when the character loses their hearing please do not use a high pitch ringing noise.
Do something more original and less annoying.
 

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