This recording is done during a stay at Dagali Hotel. Within the first half minute I can be heard leaving the room. At 2’45" a bus or trailer pass by. The sound disappears abruptly, maybe the car pass the corner of the house so that it can no longer be heard. Someone knocks on a door (3’45) and a larger car pass again at 6’14". The rest of the time the room is left to itself, and the only sound present is the noise of the ventilation system, filtered by the acoustics and resonances of the room itself. In sound design this kind of recordings are known as “room tones”, and they are useful for a number of reasons.
If a dialogue need to be cut and edited, room tone recordings done at the same location and with the same equipment can help smooth out and mask cuts and discontinuities, giving the edited dialogue a natural sense of continuity and flow.
Additionally, if noise need to be removed from other recordings, it is useful to have a sample of the background noise alone, in order to sample the acoustic “fingerprint” of the noise to be removed.
Room tones are recordings of silence or nothingness, and I find them haunting. The sound designer Michal Taylor equals room tone to emotional tone1. Room tones can serve as a sound bed or audio backdrop that ‘grounds’ other audio events. Used this way they help to create an affective and immersive atmosphere and sense of place.
This is the first of two room tone recordings I do this day.
1 Michael Taylor (2012): Room Tone = Emotional Tone: The Importance of Hearing Ambience. Designing Sound. Available online: http://designingsound.org/2012/11/room-tone-emotional-tone-the-importance-of-hearing-ambience/. Last accessed 2017-08-20.