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Topic: Laws of Physics Donít Apply to the Hollywood Sound

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  1. #1
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    Laws of Physics Donít Apply to the Hollywood Sound

    In Hollywood, filmmakers don't always follow the laws of physics. Especially when it comes to sound. Hollywood is known to deal with props and makeup and audio and sound is no different. Neatorama had a report about laws of physics that don't apply to Hollywood.

    Exploding Cars (cars usually don't explode unless gas is mixed with 93% air); Radioactivity is illuminated (like in the Simpsons); Shotgun Blasts and Kung Fu Kicks Make Targets Fly across the Room (bad physics); Falling Objects Suspending in Mid Air Momentarily (only in Wile E. Coyote cartoons); Exploding Artillery Shells that Blow Straight Up and Sparking bullets - are a few of them.

    Some that deal with sound are:

    Sound that Moves at the Speed of Light
    "Hollywood always gets this one wrong. On film, thunder doesnít follow lightning (as in real life, because sound is slower); they occur simultaneously. Similarly, a distant volcano erupts, and the blast is heard immediately rather than five seconds later for each mile. Explosions on the battlefield go boom right away, no matter how far away spectators are. Even a small thing, like the crack of a baseball playerís bat, is simultaneous with ball contact, unlike at a real game."

    The Sounds of Science
    "All across the silver screen, youíll catch people screaming as their car flies in slow motion across the gap in the bridge. The problem, though, is that their voices donít change. In reality, if you slow down motion by a factor of two, the frequency of all sounds should drop by an octave. Women will sound like men, and men will sound like Henry Kissinger. Sound is an oscillation of the air. Middle C, for example, is 256 vibrations per second. If time is slowed down, there are fewer cycles per second, and the resulting sound is lower in pitch."

    Sound Travels in Space
    "This is the granddaddy of all scientific complaints about space movies. For instance, in space the hero shouldnít be able to shout out instructions to the other astronauts from a spot several yards away. The movie Aliens corrected this misimpression with its tagline: ďIn space, nobody can hear you scream.Ē And itís true. Sound is the vibration of air, and itís sensed when the air makes your eardrums vibrate. But try to forget this rule as soon as possible; itíll wreck a good many movies for you."

  2. #2

    Re: Laws of Physics Donít Apply to the Hollywood Sound

    One ponders, then, why Henry Kissinger sounds like... Henry Kissinger.

  3. #3

    Re: Laws of Physics Donít Apply to the Hollywood Sound

    There'd be little point in going to the theater if all I saw was a reflection of reality. Defying the laws of physics is much more interesting! Also, unfortunately in real life when you're being chased by bad guys you don't hear any exciting music.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  4. #4
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    Re: Laws of Physics Donít Apply to the Hollywood Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    One ponders, then, why Henry Kissinger sounds like... Henry Kissinger.
    Perhaps because he doesn't listen?

  5. #5

    Re: Laws of Physics Don’t Apply to the Hollywood Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanHannifin
    Also, unfortunately in real life when you're being chased by bad guys you don't hear any exciting music.
    Isn't that something to be thankful for?
    The thrill of the chase mixed with compelling action music could be fatal in real life!!!
    When I am being chased by the bad guys I play Mozart Adagios to help me keep calm.

    And if I play Stravinsky sometimes they get confused and shoot each other!

  6. #6

    Re: Laws of Physics Donít Apply to the Hollywood Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by BenBotkin
    Isn't that something to be thankful for?

    When I am being chased by the bad guys I play Mozart Adagios to help me keep calm.
    If they did that in a film, use Mozart Adagios for exciting chase scenes, it would probably be one of the best films in the world.

    I hate it when I hear ominous music in real life... makes me fear a plot twist is on the way... I wonder if it will have a surprise ending...
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  7. #7

    Re: Laws of Physics Don’t Apply to the Hollywood Sound

    Yeah, and the bad guys have to listen to dark, disschordant, depressing music all the time.
    No wonder they lead such tragic, demented lives!

  8. #8

    Re: Laws of Physics Donít Apply to the Hollywood Sound

    This just supports the theory that music and sound in picture aren't about reality. They're about emotions.

    Oh here's another: when two people fall in love, a large string section rarely shows up to play a sweeping melody.

  9. #9

    Re: Laws of Physics Donít Apply to the Hollywood Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst

    Oh here's another: when two people fall in love, a large string section rarely shows up to play a sweeping melody.
    Uhmm. That happened to me, at least.

    Ok, so I fell in love with Allison during a symphony concert!

    It was a strange love theme, to be sure! "Believe, O My Heart!" (Mahler's 2, finale)

    Jerry
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    My Website!
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    http://www.mylegacyfilm.com


  10. #10

    Re: Laws of Physics Donít Apply to the Hollywood Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    Sound Travels in Space
    "This is the granddaddy of all scientific complaints about space movies. For instance, in space the hero shouldnít be able to shout out instructions to the other astronauts from a spot several yards away. The movie Aliens corrected this misimpression with its tagline: ďIn space, nobody can hear you scream.Ē And itís true. Sound is the vibration of air, and itís sensed when the air makes your eardrums vibrate. But try to forget this rule as soon as possible; itíll wreck a good many movies for you."
    Space films are just a nightmare all round. The one that really annoys me is that earthbound aerodynamics are always applied to ship design. The sleeker and more compact the ship, the more agile. Since there is negligible gravity and no air resistance in open space, a brick should be just as agile as an X-wing. It annoys me how massive explosions in space are, despite the complete lack of an oxygen source. And it annoys me that large ships that have been shot always start to fall 'downwards,' as though gravity has suddenly been turned on.

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