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Sound Exercise for The Prestige

by Paul Cote

1. Listen to the clip with your eyes closed – in other words, ignore the image.  Describe what you hear.  How is the audio mix layered – between speech, music, and sound effect, what can you hear the most clearly?  Does that layer change over the course of the scene? 


2.  Now listen again, this time while watching the images.   How does your perception of the sound changed when it’s juxtaposed against the images?  Is the sound fully synchronous with the images?  Explain.


3.   Identify one instance of each of the following and explain your reasoning. 

External Diegetic Sound

Internal Diegetic Sound

Non-diegetic Sound


4.  Are there any sounds that blur the boundary between these diegetic categories?  Why or why not?


5.  Look back at your answers to the previous questions and think about the impact that these sound choices have on the film.  Now, imagine that you were writing a paper on the use of sound in this scene.  Write a hypothetical thesis statement – an argument about the way these sound choices contribute to the overall meaning of the sequence.  

Prestige - Sound Exercise

This clip accompanies an exercise on film sound for beginning film students.

from The Prestige (2006)
Creator: Christopher Nolan
Distributor: Touchstone Pictures
Posted by Paul Cote