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Listening without sound

In this activity you will show the visuals of a film to your class, without the sound. The following three steps will help the class to:

  • Discuss their impressions of the film;
  • Explore the different elements of the picture further using expressive language;
  • Consider what kind of soundtrack the film might have.

You will need:

  • Access to this site or a download of the clips.
  • A screen to show the film to the class.
  • Speakers for playing the final version.

Choose one of these film clips to use with your class.

Part 1 - play the film to the class, without the sound.

  • What do the class know, think and feel about this film? And why?
  • What kind of film is it? Is it live action or animation? What genre is it?
  • What is the mood of the film? How does it make you feel?
  • Who do they imagine the main character to be? And what other kinds of characters come into the story?
  • Where does the story takes place?
  • What sorts of things happen in the story? Are there moments of tension, humour, relief, excitement, sadness...?
  • When do these things occur in the story?
  • Does it have a happy ending?

Part 2 - exploring further with expressive language.

Play the film again, stopping it at particular points to highlight particular bits.

Ask the class to describe in writing different aspects of the picture at that point. For example, 'the colours were like a summer's day', or, 'the man seemed to tower over us'.

And what was the effect on them? 'Her coat is red like Little Red Riding Hood so I thought something bad might happen to her.' 'I jumped out of my seat when the big, angry face suddenly appeared.'

Consider the use of: colour and light; movement on screen; the angles from which different characters and things are seen; facial expressions and actions of characters; pace and pattern of shots.

Read aloud and share.

Part 3 - what might the soundtrack be like for this film?

  • With the class working together again, write on the board the kinds of music, sound effects and dialogue that they would expect to hear in this film.
  • Would the music be fast, slow, happy, sad, dramatic, dreamy?
  • Can they name specific instruments that might be used?
  • What kind of sound effects would there be? Whooshes, bangs, pings, scrapes?
  • And how much speech? Between whom? What about?

You can choose to watch the film with its soundtrack now or do the Sound For Effect exercise.