Creating and designing the contemporary soundtrack: A case study

Damian Candusso

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Sound is a very powerful tool in contributing to film narrative, beyond merely supporting the visuals. Sound and vision in the context of film provide an audience with varying levels of meaning. In contemporary cinema, there has been a shift in thinking, and the audience is becoming increasingly aware of digital surround sound (DSS) and contemporary production practices. Despite this understanding of the modern soundtrack and the possibilities offered through surround sound and high-quality sound reproduction, Kerins points out that sound could be further explored in terms of aiding narrative. While advancements in technology have led to the narrative burden of film being shared by the soundtrack through voices, sound effects and music, the technology of digital surround allows sound editors, sound designers and sound mixers even greater flexibility for soundtrack creation. Although the general public may not have a thorough understanding of sound literacies, cinema goers not only expect to hear clear dialogues, sound effects and music, but they often also expect to be immersed in the surround sound and to feel the physical sensation of low-frequency effects (LFE). In this chapter I draw from personal insight into the soundtrack creation for both live action and animated film using The LEGO Movie (2014) and The Great Gatsby (2013) as case studies. This chapter explores the roles of screen sound, discussing not only the technology but also the use of the sound space to heighten immersion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave handbook of screen production
EditorsCraig Batty, Marsha Berry, Kath Dooley, Bettina Frankham, Susan Kerrigan
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783030217440
ISBN (Print)9783030217433
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Nov 2019

Publication series

NameThe Palgrave Handbook of Screen Production


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