LMW1 Era Proposal

This is an archive of Michael’s original LMW1 project proposal.

This project is a study in naturally occurring sonic textures in the Bay Area and the unique ways in which local sound enthusiasts and acoustic ecologists interact with the natural world through sound. This project also seeks to shed light on the role sound phenomena plays in the community (via outdoor sound installations) as well as the impact society has on nature and how we can observe and understand the information that is being communicated to us through sound.

The wildlife of the North Bay provides a rich diversity of sound sources. The crashing waves, a myriad of trees each tuned to their own key by the wind. Frogs, birds, small mammals as well as the variety of marine life.

Some of the man-made natural sound installations in the Bay area include the Wind Harp in South San Francisco and the Wave Organ in San Francisco’s Marina District. These are more “natural” sound installations as compared to some that require human interaction or electronics.

Key Terms::

Field Recording –

Field recording is the act of recording the natural world and is implemented in myriad forms of study such as in science (bioacoustics, animal communication, meteorology), religion, ethnomusicology (cultural studies through music and sound), sound therapy and entertainment.

The relationship of sound in our world is often taken for granted. As early as the 17th century, the relationship of sound and frequency has intrigued intellectual thinkers. Since the invention of recording tools acoustic ecologists have studied the shifting tones and textures of our planet, contemplating how the fundamentals of reality can be organized into frequencies, and ratios thereof, forming consonant and harmonic bonds.


“Biophony (aka the niche hypothesis) consists of the Greek prefix, bio, meaning life, and the suffix, phon, meaning sound. It specifically refers to the collective sound that vocalizing non-human animals create in each given environment. The term, which refers to one of three components of the soundscape (the others include geophony [non-biological natural sound] and anthrophony [human-induced noise]), was coined by Dr. Bernie Krause. The interrelationship of disciplines informed by natural soundscapes is called soundscape ecology, a further refinement of the older model and term, acoustic ecology.

The study of biophony focuses on the collective impact of all sounds emanating from natural biological origins in a given habitat. The realm of study is focused on the intricate relationships – competitive and/or cooperative – generally between non-human biological sound sources taking into account seasonal variability, weather, and time of day or night, and climate change. It explores new definitions of animal territory as defined by biophony, and addresses changes in density, diversity, and richness of animal populations.”



“The term anthrophony, consists of the Greek prefix, anthro, meaning human, and the suffix, phon, meaning sound. The term refers to all sound produced by humans, whether correlated, such as music, theatre, and language, or incoherent and uncorrelated such as random signals generated by electromechanical means.

The term was first used to describe certain soundscape phenomena recorded as part of a bioacoustic study in 2001-2002 commissioned by the National Park Service, and done in Sequoia/King’s Canyon National Park. Anthrophony is one of three terms used by Drs. Stuart Gage and Bernie Krause to define the general sources of human sounds/noise that occur within a soundscape.”



“Geophony, from the Greek prefix, geo, meaning earth-related, and phon, meaning sound, is one of three components of the soundscape that relates to the naturally occurring non-biological audio signal sources coming from different types of habitats, whether marine or terrestrial. Typically, these refer to wild, relatively undisturbed habitats. But geophony is not limited to that narrow definition since these audio sources can be experienced nearly everywhere the effects of wind and water are expressed. The term was first used by Drs. Stuart Gage and Bernie Krause to describe certain soundscape phenomena recorded as part of a bioacoustic study in 2001-2002 commissioned by the National Park Service, and done in Sequoia/King’s Canyon National Park. Geophony is one of three terms used to define the general sources of sound that occur within a soundscape.”


For further reading please research these other conscious investigators of sound:

Hans Cousto

Alan Lomax 

Bernie Krause

Lawrence Barker


Nature Hums is not your mom and poppa’s web-distributed nonfiction nature video. A non-deterministic revue of the Bay Area’s most exquisite biomes, Nature Hums is firmly rooted in experimental and poetic sensibilities. We hope to provide the viewer with an informed perspective from which to appreciate the vistas and soundscapes of Northern California, utilizing spectral analysis and advanced wildlife identification techniques to offer insight into the objective qualities of our expositions. We plan to use the strength of our media to carry the piece, offering factual voiceover as a supplement to the visceral showcases of Earth’s largely unadulterated majesty. The main goal of the piece is to instill an appreciation for active listening and natural ambience, ultimately guiding our audience to a sacred place of stillness and introspection.

Nature Hums Critique Notes

  • Talk about wind
  • Text narrative needs more of a storyline feel
  • Merced River spec. May need sample 2 so that the meadow lark is more available.
  • Sunset at the end
  • Text in After Effects- Line Effects
  • More shots in HMB
  • Use serifs. text.
  • Larger text
  • Possible panning sound w/ video pan
  • PBS- Voiceover
  • Re-approach the color of specs.
  • Animal circles of sound examples.

Nature Hums Critiques

Nature Hums:

Liked different atmospheres, didn’t like the text colors that much.

Noise soothing. Something needed to break up the noise. Keep blue screen .

Amazing cinematography. Need to streamline and make it more accessible.

Camera moves are similar. Continuous movement is nice touch.

Descriptions on screen are good and informative.

Lesser known areas get more attention.

Make sounds sound less similar. Make them sound more diverse.

More fade ins/outs.

Needs more drama/emotional connection

Same-y camera shots

Emotionally Manipulative, presenting one way, yet intending it as something else


Nature Hums Outline


  • Montage
  • Voice over from interviews
  • Introduce Concepts
  • Emphasize the importance of all field studies due to the transience of Natural Environments


  • Multiple locations.
  •            Introduce Locations
  •                   Acoustic Qualities of the Environment
  •                   Wildlife
  •                          How does the environment affect wildlife
  •                           How does each creature occupy different frequencies

Mid Day:



  • Voice over
  • Time-lapse (Sunset)


Story Elements

What’s the narrative spine of your piece?

The narrative spine of our piece is the transience of nature, recording as preservation and the importance of sound over sight.

What are your main characters? What are your plans for getting footage besides boring talking head shots?

Our main characters are the natural environments we will be exploring. Our human element will most likely be Dr. Krause and possibly field recordists Lawrence English or Jen Boyd, if all else fails.

How is conflict driving your story?

We will create conflict in our story by presenting to our audience nature recordings and revealing how the information within is both easy to understand and take for granted.

What kind of change do you wish to unfold within your piece?

We hope to unfold a change in our audience so that they may have a broader perspective of natural environments.

What’s the inciting incident and point of entry in your story?

The point of entry to our story is the dawn chorus. The inciting incident is the transience of nature and the idea of preserving the history of natural environments through field recordings.

What issues do you foresee having making your piece visually strong?

We hope to gather lots of footage of natural environments.


What’s this film about?


Core Concept

Nature Hums is an audio-visual study in soundscape ecology with a focus on Bay Area biomes. Our ultimate intention is to spark an interest and appreciation for nature through sound.


Nature Hums Trailer


I am hoping to interview Bernie Krause as my primary source. He and his wife requested that I read his book “The Great Animal Orchestra” in order to have a fruitful conversation (also to avoid redundancies).

Hopefully I will be able to meet with him by next Wednesday. It is still up in the air. I may have to reach out to some of my other sources such as Lawrence English.