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  • Making Music at a Party Sound like Music at a Party

  • Adam Lewis

    August 22, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Hi there,

    I am editing together a party scene in a short film and wondered if any of you guys had a technique for making the music sound diagetic, as I always find just layering the music on the timeline underneath the conversations never sounds like its occupying space in the room, but rather just sounding, well, like its just been layered on the timeline….

    Thanks in advance!

  • Mark Raudonis

    August 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Learned a new term today: Diagetic.

    Diegetic sound
    Sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film:

    voices of characters
    sounds made by objects in the story
    music represented as coming from instruments in the story space ( = source music)
    Diegetic sound is any sound presented as originated from source within the film’s world
    Digetic sound can be either on screen or off screen depending on whatever its source is within the frame or outside the frame.

    Another term for diegetic sound is actual sound

    Diegesis is a Greek word for “recounted story”
    The film’s diegesis is the total world of the story action

    to Non-diegetic sound

    Non-diegetic sound

    Sound whose source is neither visible on the screen nor has been implied to be present in the action:

    narrator’s commentary
    sound effects which is added for the dramatic effect
    mood music
    Non-diegetic sound is represented as coming from the a source outside story space.
    The distinction between diegetic or non-diegetic sound depends on our understanding of the conventions of film viewing and listening. We know of that certain sounds are represented as coming from the story world, while others are represented as coming from outside the space of the story events. A play with diegetic and non-diegetic conventions can be used to create ambiguity (horror), or to surprise the audience (comedy).

    Another term for non-diegetic sound is commentary sound.

    to Diegetic sound

    How to create this? Uh… it’s called EQ, Reverb, and volume, mixed in with a bit of “room tone”. Spatial location using your 5.1 mix also helps. If you want to go old school, try actually recording the music played back on set from a boom box. That will give you a reference point to try to match in the mix.

    Good luck.


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