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Sounds of Silence by Gordon Hampton

In our busy lives we often forget to stop and listen to the wonderful sounds our ancestors heard everyday. Our lives are now filled with the constant hum of a car going by or the constant drum of airplanes overhead among other noises. In the video package “Sounds of Silence” Gordon Hampton encourages people to experience nature and all of its magnificent sounds. Hampton shows though, that even where he wishes his square inch of silence is, he can’t escape the sounds of an industrialized nation.
The package begins with quick detailed shots showing scenes of a city. Accompanying these shots are sound bites and the quick cuts between the clips makes the viewer feel as though the entire sequence is chaotic. These fast shots in the beginning serve to compress time in an effective manner as the entire sequence only takes a few seconds total, but there are several clips in the sequence. The cuts then become slower as the sequences become more focused on nature in an effort to highlight the tranquility and peaceful sounds of the natural world. The shots however, are still faster than what a normal video would be and it’s because the creator is simply using the visuals to allow the viewer to recognize what the sounds are. Throughout the entire package, the focus is entirely on the sound bites and the video clips serve only to make the sounds recognizable to the viewer. By doing these short clips and then making the clips longer when Hampton is talking, the viewer is able to see everything through Hampton’s point of view. Also, because the focus on sound rather than sight per say, the video is very unique because normally the focus of videos is on the actual images rather than the sound bites.
Surprisingly, there were only a few wide sho...

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...ce, after the character is introduced, transitions are added to add a sense of flowing and a more calm atmosphere. The clips are also longer and the shots wider which only add to this sense of tranquility. By the end of the piece though, the viewer is sympathetic to Hampton and also somewhat amazed that he regained his hearing. The viewer is sympathetic because Hampton is trying to listen and record natural sounds when an airplane flies over and ruins it for him. Without the shot of the airplane flying over and being able to see Hampton’s expression though this scene would not be able to evoke the same emotions. After that sequence, the final one brings the audience back to a sense of tranquility because of the ocean waves on crashing in on the beach and the slightly brighter light used to signify a new beginning for Hampton, who is doing what he truly loves to do.

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