Sound in Space

Alfonso Cuaron, the director of Gravity, the newly released movie that brings us yet another step closer to giving us the feeling of being in space, given the camera’s POV and 3D tells us in the October edition of Wired how Cuaron fought hard, at every step of the way in the production process, to make the experience of being in space quite realistic. Explosions, for example, occur in silence given there is no atmosphere out there to transmit sound waves. (Though a loud explosion can be heard in the trailer!) Yet, Mr. Cuaron tells us that complete fidelity is impossible when making the movie make-believe: “I thought about keeping everything in absolute silence. And then I realized that [without music] I was just going to annoy the audience.”

This is quite similar to some of Stanley Kubrick’s decision in 2001: A Space Odissey. In that movie as the spacecraft Discovery One approaches Jupiter, a certain amount of movement can be perceived as the craft moves through space –especially when HAL commits his first dark deed. In actuality speed of Discovery would have been too slow for any apparent movement of the stars to be discerned (in a few minutes at least). Stanley Kubrick, as Alfonso. Cuaron, decided, correctly, that a certain amount of fiction is necessary, perplexingly, to create an appearance of reality.

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