This is the MOST important aspect of filmmaking.

I've seen student films that have great stories but terrible sound, cinematography, production design or other.

It ends up as a movie with great potential, rather than a great movie.

Perhaps it is better said that a movie is nothing without a great story, but a great story is nothing without the creative and technical expertise surrounding it to bring it to life as a coherent, tangible movie experience.
 
Sound is definitely a major issue for many films out there made by those who are just starting in their career. I can watch a movie that may have some bad shots in terms of quality or effects but if the sound is terrible as well it is unbearable.

I think some amateur filmmakers don't give the sound aspect of production and post-production the respect it deserves. It may be because they don't care or don't have the knowledge about how to record good quality audio but it's something that needs great attention to make it work.
 
You could call the ability to complete the project the most important part since an incomplete story isn't really worth watching? It all depends on your point of view and area of expertise.

But right now, I have the view that storytelling is the most important part of filmmaking. Without storytelling it's just a bunch of incoherent pictures and sounds. The ability to tell a compelling story that people want to see has to be something I'd consider the most important creative part of filmmaking.

It's not that I consider other areas unimportant.

I find a problem with the question. It's rather subjective. Filmmaking tends to be a creative endeavor. If we're talking show business, that's a different topic (in my opinion) all together. If we're talking show business, then I believe the answer becomes money.
 
Sorry Alcove, didn't mean to call you out specifically in any negative way, "Sound is 50%" is one of the big quotes on the board BECAUSE you give great advice on a regular basis! (Which I totally appreciate and am grateful, for what it's worth.)

Just starting the dialogue, it's easy for a beginner to get so focused on any individual aspect of his movie when it would do him a lot better to focus on building the team instead of mastering every area of preproduction, production and postproduction himself.

I do think it's possible to make a passably entertaining movie in which not every aspect of production is solid.

Right on man! You can have an enjoyable movie lacking in a few areas for sure. Many are. Some of my favorite movies aren't technically superior to anything or award winning or critically acclaimed, they just struck a chord with me or I watched them with the right friends to make them great to me, and in my experience, me alone haha.


Disagree. You can have bad sound and out of focus images, but if the audience is cheering and clapping when the credits roll you've succeeded.

The problem is, I don't think there would be any audience left at the end of the credits to cheer if the the sound is bad and image is out of focus. I've been in screenings where the movie itself was fine but it was screened wrong. One was out of focus and people left to complain or get there money back, another wasn't playing center channel audio so all the dialogue was muddy and being played out of whatever other speaker it was partially panned to. EVERYBODY left. Granted, they were both the theater's problem but how many average joe's know the difference? Everyone expects professionalism, as they should.

Marketing.

I'll give you that for sure, putting butts in seats is important if you want to make a career out of filmmaking. I wouldn't say any part of marketing makes the movie "great" and if you want to really succeed and outshine the rest, you need a solid feature... that's marketed well enough for people to see it :)
 
I think some amateur filmmakers don't give the sound aspect of production and post-production the respect it deserves. It may be because they don't care or don't have the knowledge about how to record good quality audio but it's something that needs great attention to make it work.

It's because they haven't been told/taught any better. The biggest issue is that they don't know how to really listen, and they tend to hear it as they want it to be, not as it really is.
 
If I hear one more god damn time that visuals are not important as long as the audio is good I will honestly tear someone apart .
 
There isn't a great movie that has a stellar script but looks like it was shot with a potato.

Paul, you just created a new genre! :lol: Spud Cinema? I've got my shooter locked and loaded...

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Lights! Potato! Annnnnd... action! :director:
 
If I hear one more god damn time that visuals are not important as long as the audio is good I will honestly tear someone apart .

No one has ever suggested that. If you really have been paying attention what has been said is this - it doesn't matter how beautifully your film has been shot if the audio is poor. If the audience cannot understand the dialog they cannot connect with the characters nor follow the plot.

This whole thread has pointed out that filmmaking is a completely integrated art form. Audio is probably the most frequently neglected technical and misunderstood aspect by indie filmmakers.
 
Originally Posted By Alcove Audio
Audio is probably the most frequently neglected technical and misunderstood aspect by indie filmmakers.

So much so that I think it should be one of the very first aspects that needs to be focused on early in the pre-production phase. After all, a lot of attention and time is spent on audio by major studios and professionals and there's a reason - it's a very important aspect of a film that needs some time to work on to get it right.
 
If I hear one more god damn time that visuals are not important as long as the audio is good I will honestly tear someone apart .

You're a Film Riot fan, right? I've seen a Monday Challenge entry from you, and comments on their videos from you. Okay...

Poor visuals are forgivable, poor audio is not.

~ Ryan Connolly

To be honest, I have to agree. Visuals are important, VERY important (at least to me), but I've seen good films with poor visuals that were pretty good. I can't think of one film I've liked that has had poor audio. If you can name one, I would like to know because none come to mind.
 
To be honest, I have to agree. Visuals are important, VERY important (at least to me), but I've seen good films with poor visuals that were pretty good. I can't think of one film I've liked that has had poor audio. If you can name one, I would like to know because none come to mind.

I've seen plenty of independent no budget, or student films that have stunning visuals and poor audio. They might even be good films.

As far as I'm concerned, a film is only going to be average unless it has both great audio and great visuals, or at least technically competent visuals that look like an actual film, and not like someone who's only ever used Potatoes for shooting has shot it.

I think it really depends on how you classify 'poor' - many independent low budget and student films I've seen have sound and visuals that I would classify as poor, but are completely listenable or watchable. It just separates the men from the boys, if you will, in as much as average or mediocre sound or visuals is a tell-tale sign that it's been done by an amateur.

If you're talking 'poor' as in unwatchable - I won't be watching a film that's completely over-exposed or out of focus, even if the sound design is incredible. Conversely, I would be happy watching some absolutely stunning visuals even if there were no sound. I'm sure the 'soundies' around here would be happier to listen to a stunning sound design and mix even if there was a totally black screen.
A general audience is probably going to enjoy neither, or both only a little - and neither will be seen as great movies, only perhaps great exercises into sound or visual design.
 
A general audience is probably going to enjoy neither, or both only a little

And isn't the general audience our reason for making films? We have to live up to their technical expectations, otherwise it's all just creative masturbation - all we satisfy is ourselves.
 
I'm mainly talking opinions. What you think of as good may be poor to me, and what I think of as poor may be good to you. Just want to get that out of the way.

I've seen plenty of independent no budget, or student films that have stunning visuals and poor audio. They might even be good films.

I have not yet seen any films that I've enjoyed (aside from experimental efforts like Festen

As far as I'm concerned, a film is only going to be average unless it has both great audio and great visuals, or at least technically competent visuals that look like an actual film, and not like someone who's only ever used Potatoes for shooting has shot it.

A general audience is probably going to enjoy neither, or both only a little - and neither will be seen as great movies, only perhaps great exercises into sound or visual design.

I agree. It all comes down to what the audience thinks.
 
And isn't the general audience our reason for making films? We have to live up to their technical expectations, otherwise it's all just creative masturbation - all we satisfy is ourselves.

That's exactly right.

A general audience has been conditioned by the high budget films they generally see to expect a certain level of technical expertise in the films they watch and enjoy.
If we don't at least fulfil a general populous's technical expectations, then we can't hope for much more than being relegated to a bargain bin, or self-distribution options.
 
You can have bad sound and out of focus images, but if the audience is cheering and clapping when the credits roll you've succeeded.

Ah... While this statement appears entirely logical, it is in practise a non-sequitur logical fallacy, a quite common fallacy amongst indie filmmakers. If the sound fails to meet the technical standards required by the festival/distributor/broadcaster, regardless of how good the film is overall, the audience will not cheer and clap when the end credits roll because there will be NO audience, not because they all "walk out", but because they cannot "walk in" in the first place!

So it's settled, sound must be the most important aspect of filmmaking. Well, no! You can have great sound but if the legalities; copyrights, clearances, etc., are not in order, your film cannot be distributed and again, no audience! But, even with great sound, sorted legalities and therefore a distributable film, without marketing no one will be enticed to pay to see the film. Again, no audience!

I mention this simply because many indie filmmakers are essentially hobbyists, even though they may aspire to be something else. I don't mean this in the derogatory sense, I mean they tend to make films primarily for themselves, focusing on their own filmmaking interests, and in so doing, avoid (as much as possible) those aspects of filmmaking they consider to be uncreative/uninteresting. Fully understanding market forces/expectations AND technical demands (and applying that understanding) is both uncreative and uninteresting to the vast majority of filmmakers and is therefore the most fundamental difference between hobbyist and professional filmmakers. Fortunately, platforms like YouTube and provincial film festivals have virtually no minimum technical standards or market expectations and therefore provide an outlet for hobbyist filmmakers.

The OP, and most subsequent contributors to this thread, don't appear to be talking in hobbyist films terms but in professional/commercial film terms or at least, potentially commercially viable film terms. In which case, the first, most fundamental and therefore "MOST important aspect of filmmaking" is finding out what the commercial demands/expectations are and identifying the resources which will realistically enable those expectations and demands to be met. All the other aspects of filmmaking, the aspects which determine if a film is actually any good or not, ultimately require people (audiences) to make that determination, which of course is impossible if they never get to see it!

G
 
Anyone who tells me that ONE thing is the key to film making instantly goes on my idiot list. They always have an agenda (usually related directly to that ONE thing) and that's why they cannot be trusted.

That's not to say you shouldn't have respect for people and their craft & Skills.

There is no single thing that makes good music, no single thing that makes great literature or art works. All these things are the perfect balance between the theoretical and the practical, the tangible and the je ne c'est qui. Film is no different.

There's no single important thing, no blue print, no shortcuts to making good art.

Happy Xmas!!
 
No one has ever suggested that. If you really have been paying attention what has been said is this - it doesn't matter how beautifully your film has been shot if the audio is poor. If the audience cannot understand the dialog they cannot connect with the characters nor follow the plot.

This whole thread has pointed out that filmmaking is a completely integrated art form. Audio is probably the most frequently neglected technical and misunderstood aspect by indie filmmakers.


Unfortunately , a lot of people suggested that. I have read the whole topic and I do agree with you . However I do not agree with the people who agree with you ,outside myself of course . Make sense ?

It's because of your '' sound is 50% of the experience " some people on this forum started to always talk about how visuals are not important . Are you sure ?

You think you can forget poor visuals Chimp?Can you?

If it wasn't for the one point perspective shots in Kubrick's films maybe they wouldn't have the same impact on me.

If it wasnt for the absolutely beautiful steadicam work in There will be blood I wouldn't love the movie as much.

If it wasnt for all the suspenseful dolly shots I wouldn't be terrified from certain horror films.

And if it wasn't for the extaordinary jibs and helicopter shots in Lord of the Rings I wouldn't be so in love with the Middle Earth!

Sound is amazing. I love sound . I love using sound and music and the lack of it to create certain emotions. But stop talking about how visuals are not important and you can always forget and forgive about visuals .

I can also forgive bad acting in a student short film , but I will never take it seriously and I will be pulled out of the film .
 
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