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'Reality' in documentary sound

A few articles recently have got me thinking about the public perception of sound as representing 'reality' - particularly in documentary and news context. The big hoo-har at UK BBC and ITV stations in recent months about 'fake' competition results and phone-in scandals has led to a bit of a media witch hunt to find example examples of 'fakeness'. Here's one about sound being dubbed onto a news broadcast - ironically probably originally intended to make the situation represented more 'real'. I read an article some time ago about a filmaker choosing to leave in clipped distortions of explosions in a film because it also made it seem more 'real' as we have become used to that sound through war reporting bulletins.

There seems to be at least some awareness that the notion that 'the camera never lies' is deeply flawed but not as much about the manipulation of audio. The fact that our hearing (or rather listening) mechanisms give us a completely subjective experience of the world and that a recorded soundtrack must be one persons interpretation of this is not as much discussed but has great implications for the choices a 'reality' (news / documentary) film maker must make.

Somebody should write an interesting article about this sometime :)

(There's some nice discussion of using documentary sources for the soundtrack of 'The Kite Runner' here.)
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