Sound v.s. Picture (RJFS Field Test)

Taught By:

Kevin Senzaki


RJFS puts sound and image to the test by filming one short two different ways, to see whether good sound or image has more of an impact on a viewer's experience of a movie.

Lesson Plan

In any film, both sound and image go hand-in-hand, working together to tell story. But we've noticed a pattern-- so much time and effort is spent towards camera, that sometimes on-set production sound winds up treated as an after-thought. More often than than that, a lot of film sets operate under the assumption that sound can be "fixed in post." So we created an experiment, and set out to answer the following questions:

  • How much does good-quality production audio really affect the audience's experience and immersion into the film?
  • Is good production audio necessary, when you are going to "fix it in post" anyway?
  • And, is sound or picture more impactful than the other when it comes to the audience's experience of the film?

We created one short, and filmed it in two different ways. The first version of the short was given a decent camera package and an on-board mic, so the main emphasis was good picture. The other version was given a limited camera package, with a boom, mixer and operator, so the main emphasis was good sound. Almost everything in the shorts (lighting, production design, the performances, the edit, and post sound) were all kept exactly the same.

So which ended up being more important-- good sound, or good picture? You tell us!!

Watch both of the shorts, and experience the differences yourself:

Camera Team and Sound Team (in the forum post, you can just post the videos straight without using a title link)

If you are distracted or pulled out of either of the films, pay attention to what caused it, how much of an effect it had, and for how long. Then, let us know what conclusions you came to, and why! We'll share our own ideas, too.