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Shehryar Khan


Performances are typically associated with religious ceremonies and performative arts such as theater, dance, and music. All of these performances share characteristics in common such as rituals and traditions on one hand and play and creativity on the other. Theater and music both make use of sound in performative ways. Film sound mixing, which is the process of adjusting the fundamental properties of recorded sounds to create an immersive cinematic experience, also shares some of these performative qualities. However, film sound mixing has not been the subject of much study in the context of performance.

This research studies film sound mixing through the lens of performance. Performance is observed in the light of theories ranging from the time of classical antiquity to the twentieth century. Mixing is also seen through its evolution from early talkies to high-production modern filmmaking, delineating its performative aspects. By combining these theoretical ideas, we have hypothesized five traits of performative mixing, namely, collaboration, control, layers, experimentation, and flow. A survey has been conducted with content analysis to evaluate the performativity of film sound mixing and to get insights into its performative aspects. We have concluded that console mixing, digital recording, and limited use of automation result in the most performativity. Furthermore, age, experience, and use of linear mixing, has been observed to be correlated with a more performative perspective on mixing.