Built in the multimodal authoring platform Scalar, Audiovisualities: A Database of Sound Effects is a teaching tool being piloted by AV Lab Co-Director Jacqueline Waeber. The database is an extension of Prof. Waeber’s current research project on the early sound film in France (i.e. from the late 1920s to the late 1930s). Rather than focusing exclusively on French films from that period, the database includes (for now) American movies as well, and intend to continue its geographical, and chronological expansion, to show that contemporary cinema is still heavily indebted to practices going back to the 1930s. In so doing, students will be better able to understand how certain sound practices that were essentially experimented by French cinema from the 1920s-1930s, did impact on other national cinemas—and how French cinema was as well influenced by other cinematographic cultures.
Using film scholar Michel Chion’s glossary of cinematic sound effects as a guide, students are tasked with creating entries on particular techniques and illustrating them with clips they find in assigned films. In addition to members of Prof. Waeber’s Spring ’14 Sound, Music, and Moving Image seminar, a group of students in Guo-Juin Hong’s Fall ’13 1st-year Seminar have also contributed to the database.