Making Waves - The Art of Cinematic Sound

Sound is a constitutive dimension of film, yet often it is overshadowed by the cinematic images and neglected by the film industry. This disregard is all the more surprising if one considers the fact that our first experience of the outside world in the mother’s womb is mediated through sound - the heartbeat, voices, noises - which helps to explain why sound is essential for the psychophysical effect film has on us. With numerous clips and subtly edited examples, Midge Costin takes us on an instructive and entertaining journey through the history of sound in film. Costin, holder of the prestigious chair for sound design (given by George Lucas) at USC, musters director giants such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ang Lee, Robert Redford, David Lynch, and Sofia Coppola as well as Hollywood’s leading sound designers to share their firsthand experience. This knowledgeable and entertaining film shows how technical and artistic developments in sound and the changing ways of storytelling have always been intimately related.

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Midge Costin

Producer and director Midge Costin is the Kay Rose Chair in the Art of Sound Editing, endowed by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Her film credits span 25 years and include Oscar-nominated Crimson Tide and Armageddon, as well as John Waters’ Cry-Baby, David Wolper’s Imagine, Amy Heckerling’s Look Who’s Talking Too, Kenneth Branagh’s Dead Again, and Michael Bay’s The Rock. Costin worked her way up editing sound on action-adventure films at a time when very few women were cutting FX in Hollywood. As a passionate teacher and advocate for the creative use of sound in the cinematic arts, she has traveled internationally to lecture on sound design and her experiences as a sound editor in Hollywood. She is a past Board member of the MPSE (Motion Picture Sound Editors), and is a long-standing member of the Editors Guild. Costin directed the documentary short "Almost Home", which had a PBS premiere in 1990. She received her B.A. from Smith College in Art History, and her Masters in Cinema Production from the University of Southern California. "Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound" is her documentary feature debut.