Part 3: Beyond the frame · Project 13: Non-diegetic sound

Exercise: Abstract image sequence

For this exercise, you are to choose a short piece of music and listen to it a number of times, making a note of the emotions and feelings you experience whilst listening. Then find images for these thoughts and feelings and record them. Edit a video sequence with the music and images.

I chose a part of the sound track from the film Out of Africa called Have you got a story for me? Maybe this wasn’t the best choice of music for this exercise because I know the track very well and was fairly sure that it would trigger an emotional response from myself. What I didn’t realize until listening to it, was that the music created a narrative for me and as hard as I tried to link abstract images to the music, the narrative intruded. So, I gave into the narrative and filmed it.

After I had finished I began to wonder if I was going to have a copyright issue with using this music. After a bit of research on the GOV.UK site under Exceptions to copyright, I came to the conclusion that for the non-commercial and private study purposes it is possible to use part of a soundtrack. The guidance says that you must be ‘genuinely studying and that you respect the fair dealing clause.

As part of this exercise is to ask other students to comment on how they interpret the sequence I will not write up my own intentions and what I was hoping to achieve.

Here is the sequence:


While I was still worrying about the copyright issue, I set the sequence to another track that was available on the internet as ‘free use’. This track is called Friday Morning by Kevin MacLeod, a composer based in New York who is very well known (and liked) for making his music available for others to use in their films. Trying to reverse engineer the music was extremely difficult and it took ages to find something that worked reasonably well with the images. In the end, doing this type of exercise proved the point that it is more effective to have the music in mind preferably before filming and definitely before editing, not after. The sequence is below and as you will see, although the music is fine in its own right, it doesn’t work nearly as well as the original sequence.



For Sound Exercise 001, an extract from the sound track Out of Africa (Have you got a story for me?), composed and conducted by John Barry was used for student purposes. MCA Records, Incorporated. 1985.

For Sound Exercise 01, an except from the music Friday Night by Kevin McLeod was used under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (

2 thoughts on “Exercise: Abstract image sequence

  1. What a moving film, I really enjoyed it and thought it was very powerful. I wrote about it on my latest blog entry (sorry I’m running out of battery and internet data) What I didn’t mention on my analysis was that I loved the cameo role of the spider escaping the flowers, it makes me smile everytime. I guess it didn’t realise it was going to be a star that day 😀

    1. Thanks Chloe, music can be so powerful. You made me laugh because I thought exactly the same thing about the spider when I saw it – I didn’t realize at the time that he was in the shot! Actually, the shot through the kitchen window, I ended up liking so much that I wrote it into my assignment 3, which hopefully I will post later today.

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