Post Film, Let’s Play: Sound, Design & the Digital Pipeline

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Scott-James, Kahra (2018) Post Film, Let’s Play: Sound, Design & the Digital Pipeline. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The moving image creation process is commonly understood as having three distinct phases, preproduction, production and postproduction. Preproduction and production are largely focused on the image, while sound design is considered part of the postproduction phase. The absence of attention to sound in preproduction has a negative effect on postproduction, which can limit a films distribution prospects, therefore a filmmaker’s career opportunities. Despite digital transformation, competition and the impact of economics, the convention of picture first and sound second is still the prevailing mode of production, especially in the case of independent film. Film is often described as a collaborative art form, however many filmmakers leave any serious consideration until postproduction, which is too late in the production cycle for any real collaboration. While rare, when film directors employ sound and image collaboratively the result tends to be innovative and successful films, however this is rarely discussed. Historically, sound has been described as an add-on, an afterthought, therefore secondary to the picture. Film scholars continue to privilege the image. Film analysis favors image over sound, reception over production and theory over practice. Film is audio-visual, yet film education is visually-centric, an ongoing imbalance that stifles meaningful collaboration and hinders opportunities for re-thinking production processes. Fundamentally there is a major imbalance between sound and image, across industry and education, particularly in early stage project development. Sound is an afterthought because sound design is considered something that happens after visuals in the production process. Once a film has been shot or animated, sound can only react to pictures, not interact.

Additional Information

The exegesis is attached and the creative component is available at the website. Access details for the website is provided in the thesis.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords sound design; film; moving image; filmmakers; sound; exegesis; thesis by publication
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