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AMBIENT SOUND

Definition of Term

  • A concise (1 sentence) definition 

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Summary

  • Ambient sound (AKA ambient audio, ambience, atmosphere, atmos or background noise) means the background sounds which are present in a scene or location. Common ambient sounds include wind, water, birds, crowds, office noises, traffic, etc.
    Ambient sound is very important in video and film work. It performs a number of functions including:
    • Providing audio continuity between shots.
    • Preventing an unnatural silence when no other sound is present.
    • Establishing or reinforcing the mood.
    There are several types of ambient sound used in film production. Their exact names and meanings may vary but these are some common definitions:
    • Matching ambient sound: Any ambient sound recorded to match the ambient sound of a scene.
    • Wild sound: Background noise with distinct sounds, i.e. more than ambient sound, which is not synchronised with the main vision. Example: Children playing in a playground.
    • Buzz track: A general term for ambient sound.
    • **Room tone**: The sound of an empty room, or a room in which all the actors are standing silently.
    Next: How to record ambient sound

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