Ambient Audio vs Artificial Audio

Classifying ambient and artificial audio. Ambient audio is audio of the scene being shown, one that is associated to it. Artificial is audio that is added to the scene afterwards and not directly linked.

An example of this from my last blog post about Guillaume Néry, if you notice whenever Néry swims through the water there’s a underwater whooshing sound. That most likely is added afterwards and classifies as artificial audio, even though it interprets the sound and matches very accurately. To capture the ambient equivalent would require a silly amount of gear at the time, camera, hydrophone and audio capture device all being worked at once. From the audio it sounds very clear, almost too clear, there’s no water current or noise from the operator which makes me believe it is artificial.

Not to say artificial audio is unethical, it is a simpler way of portraying a scene and isn’t used in an over-dramatic fashion. Many of us didn’t realise that Blue Planet 2 incorporates many scenes with artificial audio as linked below. As said in their article “Sound travels far and fast underwater” and by creating artificial audio that’s clean improves the viewer experience. “When we looked into recording sound at the bottom of the Mariana Trench for example, scientists told us that sound pollution from ship traffic can even reach all the way down there”.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/34j4WPCGZnFJvj2Xq9NGK7M/creating-an-underwater-soundscape

I’ve linked below two audio artists and designers who create unnatural underwater audio and music through objects and water droplets. Listening to these two and the other clips they’ve recorded, I’ve been tempted to created artificial audio for the more peculiar video shots in mine. I feel that using natural audio would remove the sense of being in another world, it would anchor the viewer to a certain scene they’re familiar with. But if I create strange artificial audio, that supports a strange environment, that could create a very different reception when viewed. With the short film I don’t plan on using this audio for the whole film, but introduce it after the scene has been set through a natural experience.

Tomoko Sauvage – Pacific Pacific https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28AVsP5-iCk

Nathan Moody, Underwater bowed metal https://soundcloud.com/noisejockey/bowed-wok-lid-underwater

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