Unit 1 LO 2.2

Unit 4 LO1.2 and LO2,2


  • Diegetic sound

Diegetic sound  is the sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film for example, the voices of characters in motion pictures or the sounds made by objects in the story and music represented as coming from instruments in the story space. Sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film. In any cases Diegetic sound is any sound presented as originated from source within the film’s world, it can be either on screen or off screen depending on whatever it’s source is within the frame or outside the frame.

  • Non Diegetic sound

Non Diegetic sound is the opposite of Diegetic sound. It is neither visible on the screen or has been implied to be present in the action. For example there is the narrator’s commentary in a motion picture or the sound effects which is added for the dramatic effect and mood music.

But also Non Diegetic sound is represented as coming from a source outside it’s own story space and it’s distinction between diegetic or non diegetic sound depends on the understanding of conventions from film viewing and listening.  Certain sounds are representing as coming from the world of stories, meanwhile others are represented as coming from outside of narrative events. an experiment with diegetic and non diegetic conventions can be used to create mystery, ambiguity and the unknown, a great example of that would be Thrillers and Horrors in order to surprise it’s audience. And in other terms for non diegetic sound is commentary sound.

  • Off screen sound

Off Screen sound is a from of editing trick in which  you have one location whether it’s interior or exterior where in you have a scene in which for example in a house  a child is playing with his toys and the child’s father is watching TV downstairs but instead of hearing the child actually playing with his toys we hear the TV that the father is watching.

  • Voice over

Voice over in Movies, video games, radio or I TV shows. Tend to be a form of narration or a description in the visual story told b one of the main protagonists or from a genuine storyteller explaining mostly the premise or a situation a movie. Like henry Hill in Scorsese’s Goodfellas or The main protagonist in Double indemnity.

  • Thought voice-over

Thought voice over or Interior monologue is the thinking of words during voice over, it’s what is going through the mind of a character through words in a movie.

  • Ambient sound

Ambient sound is the soundtrack going on behind the main characters for example when 2 characters are talking at a café, an example of ambient sound would be what we hear going around the 2 characters talking in the café like the other customers around them or the noise of other people walking in and out. And other examples of Ambient sound would be if a protagonist in a film is chasing down an antagonist in a nightclub the ambient sound would be the techno music playing and the people cheering or shouting.

  • Special sound effects

Special effects in movies are commonly used when a sequence requires a stunt that cannot be done in real life by doing the impossible in movies SFX is used by computer techniques. SFX are illusions or visual tricks they are here to simulate the virtual world in visual storytelling.  But in the case of special sound effects they artificially created or enhanced sounds it is the sound for the visual special effects.


Investigating the relationship between sound and visual images.


Europa (1991) Directed by Lars Von Trier

The clip below is the opening sequence of the film.

Europa is a German noir war thriller set at the aftermath of Germany after WW2. About an American trying to bring a sense of kindness as sleeping car  conductor but gets enrolled with a Nazi terrorist conspiracy.

In the opening sequence of the film the sound that is used is ambient sound of a train driving through Railtracks. And a violin score playing. The Voice over isn’t thought voice over. but instead it is a voice guiding the main protagonist to do the mission of the what is yet to come. An example would be like in a video game telling the main player to guide him on his objectives.

The voice over in Europa is a guide and the voice is told by Max Von Sydow.

The camera position in the opening sequence is on extreme close up with the railway tracks. It’s shot in black and white. It’s one long shot and the audio was recorded in different locations the shot was filmed without a microphone and pointed down on while the cameraman was on a moving train. Then recorded either the same tracks or found sound footage of general railway tracks.

Lars Von Trier films tend to use minimal special effects, he is one of the co founders of the dogme 95 movement in which it is all gritty handheld realistic perspectives and environments. So with his scenes they tend to involve close up shots and intense melodrama while the atmosphere is drenched in dread. And his soundtracks for movies contain a lot of classical music. So in the case of Europa, it is one of his most ambitious films to date that resembles Schindler’s list. But the opening sequence is incredibly simple in comparison to what is yet to come in the feature. The voice over is a told with a serious dreamy hypnotic tone in order for the first shot of the film to be immensely hypnotic. This is an influence that Von Trier took from Powell, Tarkovsky and Bergman.




2) The built of atmosphere

Europa starts off with a very dreamlike tone while recording the sound for the railway tracks Von Trier used and the colour of shadowy black and white to provide the atmospheric quality.

The only narrative device used in the sequence is The voice by Max Von Sydow telling the main character revealed later to relax as he is about to enter the world of Germany at the end of the war and to relax before the film slowly pulls us ( the audience) and the character   this is an atmospheric method to hypnotize the audience.

The rhythm that is provided is slow in pacing and tense in tone it is a setup of an art house film the colour of black and white the dreamy trippy vibe and quality of the shot and the dialogue of voice over is as a form of relaxation exercise is to suck the audience in the film and then slowly building the rest of the film while tense violin plays in the background.

3) The background piece music.

The background music is violin’s bringing a tense mood while the sound of rail tracks deliver a dream like tone in the same time. However with Max Von Sydow’s voice over guide the minute he says I will now count from 1 to 10 , I say 1. The music get’s more intense as it goes along until the voice reaches up to 10 and instead of the music getting more intense it becomes more somewhat melancholic.

And the minute the voice says 10 this is exactly the right moment to slowly cut to the next scene while the music slowly changes tone and instead of hearing railway tracks we hear rain drops.

The Music is a perfect piece of calm tension dreamlike quality slowly building into something maybe sinister that may happen. And suits the visual look because while the music is intense and the railway tracks are dark and grey and the audience is left in an unknown territory except for a voice.

The End.

References :

Movie Posters.2038.net | Posters for movieid-58: Europa (1991) by Lars von Trier (2017) Movieposters.2038.net. Available at: http://movieposters.2038.net/movieid-58 (Accessed: 2 March 2017).

Europa-Trier (2017) YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2usvKfgBjGo (Accessed: 2 March 2017).

Trier, L. (2017) Lars von Trier, IMDb. Available at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001885/ (Accessed: 2 March 2017).



Michael Powell (2017) En.wikipedia.org. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Powell (Accessed: 2 March 2017).


Andrei Tarkovsky (2017) MUBI. Available at: https://mubi.com/cast/andrei-tarkovsky (Accessed: 2 March 2017).


20 Classic Ingmar Bergman Quotes about Storytelling | Industrial Scripts® (2017) Industrial Scripts®, Screenwriting and Screenplay Consultants. Available at: https://screenplayscripts.com/ingmar-bergman-quotes/ (Accessed: 2 March 2017).