First T-Rex scene from Jurassic Park – Sound Design Analysis (Snippet)

Analysis of sound design in Jurassic Park – T Rex scene

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I have chosen to analyse the sound design of the first T-Rex scene from the first Jurassic Park primarily because the technical quality of the sound design in it mirrors my personal goals with this project, every sound in it is clear, crisp and deeply impacting. But also because I think it is a really interesting example of how often attention to detail and a less is more, keep it simple stupid approach can be extremely effective at creating the directed mood of a scene. As well as the fact that there are so many complex and unique sounds, from raw aggressive primal predatory animals, whimpering prey, electrical hiss, realistic panicking dialogue to extremely nuanced sounds such as the sound of the ripple in the cup of water.

From my research its also a really good example of how important post production sound design is, because the Dinosaurs in the film are fictional an illusion of what the might sound like must be created from existing sound sources.
In this scene the intended mood is at first pure suspense but with onscreen unawareness from the cast of the incredibly terrifying event that we the audience know is about to happen from the previous scenes subtext and the constantly building tension that comes to its climax when the T-Rex emerges and is replaced with sheer carnage and panic.
The beginning of the scene is a testament to the power of the statement “it’s quiet, too quiet”. The Calm before the terrible storm.

Let me begin by analyzing the location sound and removal of musical score. The scene starts with the Diagetic exaggerated pitter-patter of rain and booming thunder which reinforces attention to the extreme weather of the location and is obvious pathetic fallacy for the extremely dangerous event that is about to happen. But when the T-Rex appears and all hell breaks loose it also feels like a constant backdrop and contrast to the carnage of the car being flung, the screams of the children and the raw power, predatory aggression of the T-Rex that makes the scene feel all the more real and like its actually happening to the viewer. This intention is also why a soundtrack has been left out and there is no Un-diegetic musical score. The lack of music makes the scene feel less like a film, highlights the diegetic on screen sounds of the situation and puts the viewer in the scenario, which further allows the sheer terror to hit home.

With any film the viewer relates to the protagonists of the film and we the viewers are introduced, informed that the T-Rex is coming before the on screen characters are aware, through the use of off screen non-diegetic sound of the T-Rexs footsteps the stillness and bleating of the goat that is in sheer panic and knows that its about to be eaten as well as the exaggerated diegetic sound of the creaking of the electricity lines that tells us the viewer that they have no protection now and the T-Rex can leave its enclosure and attack them whenever it likes. This builds tension and makes us fear for the characters all the more as we know that they are going to be caught off guard and unprepared.

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Posted on February 20, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Moistly picked apart, I like the analysis of layers and their emphasis within this scene, and your thoughts into diagetic and non-diagetic sounds. Have you worked with/considered animation SFX, creating a world with purely non-diagetic audio?

    • Nice one bruvva like your use of the word moist unless thats a typo for mostly =P.
      Thanks man, its really just a snippet/teaser of the overall longer analysis.
      Nah, i havnt, but now that youve raised it, it does seem like it could be an interesting area to explore.

      Dont want to be a douche but the concept of Diegesis its not wether a sound is recorded from a real life source that is the desired sound at the point of filming or fabricated/manipulated to sound like what is desired, its what is real to the characters in the the film world or just to us viewers. So for example it still applies to animation. For example music coming from a jukebox in family guy etc is diegetic because it exists in the characters world, but soundtrack, music played over a scene that the characters do not hear is Non-Diegetic.

      Thanks for the positive feedback dude =)

  2. Haha moistly is never a typo! And zero doucheness dudeson, you’ve learned me something. You’re officially an educator. Feel proud.

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