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Occult AestheticsSynchronization in Sound Film$
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K.J. Donnelly

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199773497

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199773497.001.0001

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The Lock of Synchronization

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
Occult Aesthetics

K. J. Donnelly

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines the book’s overall position, which is that synchronization is the essence of audiovisual culture although it must not be registered consciously in order to remain effective. Precisely synchronized sound and image, perceived as a whole, is the normality of film, but asynchrony appears as a regular and essential dynamic element, which on occasion is exploited for disturbing effects. Most films are premised upon the illusion of being a recording of reality (what Rick Altman has called “the fundamental lie” of sound and image appearing as one). This effect is geared around so-called synch points, moments when sound and image are matched precisely to render this primary audiovisual effect. This process relies upon fundamental human perception characteristics, and as such, this book explicates its adoption of a Gestalt-inspired approach to account for the seemingly believable unity between sound and image at the heart of sound cinema.

Keywords:   Synch point, illusion, audiovisual, Gestalt, sound

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