Two ideas- Sound and lighting


“It’s funny. On the outside, I was an honest man. Straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.” In the film “The Shawshank Redemption” directed by Frank Darabont the film shows the journey of Andy Dufrense a man who got framed for the murder of his wife and her lover, Andy was sent to Shawshank prison where he would sit out a life sentence. Along the way Andy gained respect from other in mates and the Warden which led to Andy having special roles amongst the prison. The idea of freedom outlines the plot through Andy Dufrense escaping from Shawshank Prison and the other in mates hope of being outside the walls. Sound and lighting outline two major scenes in the film, the first in which is situated on a rooftop where Andy and his work mates are drinking beers. The second scene was a music scene where Andy plays music over the speakers. The directors purpose in the film is to show what Andy goes through to overcome being in prison and making the most of freedom when he has it.


Sound and lighting are visible in the rooftop scene which sees Andy and his work mates complete a job of re-surfacing the rooftop. At the beginning of the scene we see a long shot of all the prisoners standing in the yard with bright blue sky in the background, we hear light harmonia music. They are standing here to apply for the new surface job, Andy and some men he knows well get the job and they start to re-surface the roof until Andy hears head guard Hadley talking about his financial situation, Andy steps in and Hadley uses an aggressive voice asking what he was talking about, Andy explains how he can help and Hadley’s voice changes to calm as Andy describes what he can do. At the beginning of this scene we hear country music but when the camera shows the guards, the music stops, at the same time the lighting is focused on the guards and there dark clothes and bricks. Sound and lighting relate here in the way of when the guards aren’t around there is relaxing music and bright colours but when they are around we only hear guards angry voices and see dark colours.  The directors purpose in this first example was to show how the guards look at the prisoners in the way of them always being hard and disrespectful, however when Andy does something to help Hadley he is shown some respect. Sound and lighting work together in this scene in the way of the prisoners feeling freedom as the sky is bright with lush green rolling hills in the background, the sound in this scene is harmonia music which also gives a hint of freedom because the prisoners are used to sounds like bars shutting and guards yelling, this music is relaxing and soothing for them. Later on in this scene we see all the prisoners drinking beers at 10:00 in the morning, we hear birds chirping and the guards sounding calm, the viewer also hears a sound in the way of Reds dialogue. This scene came about when Andy set up Hadley’s bank account up, Andy stated that for him to do this Hadley had to give himself and his co-workers 3 beers each. Whilst the men are drinking the beers the sun is rising in the background and the guards are standing away from the men giving them some space to talk. Yet again we hear harmonia music giving the in mates another feeling of freedom, in this scene there is no bars in sight meaning it doesn’t feel like prison for the workers. The viewers look at the prisoners as workers in the scene meaning they don’t feel like prisoners, this is important for the prisoners as it makes them feel normal. The overall purpose of the scene was to show what freedom does to the me.



Sound and lighting coincide to make an important scene which see’s Andy lock himself in the Warden’s office and play Italian lady opera through the speakers that riddle Shawshank prison. This scene occurs because Andy has been sent new books and records for the new Shawshank library and the Warden and a guard show him, They say he has to sort all the boxes before the warden comes back. At the first part of the scene we see Andy looking at the record like its something precious and he slowly takes it out of its case and starts playing it. In this scene the viewer can see the sun streaming through the blinds into the wardens office, here we see a moving shot of the office that Andy is in. Andy feels a hint of hope and freedom in this scene because he is on his own with no guards around. Music can make you feel free and Andy feels that through the song, with the sun streaming in as well it gives Andy dejavu back when he was on the outside working as a banker. The directors purpose here was to show what sound can do to your hope and when in prison little things like listening to music give you a real spark.  Once Andy puts the record on the opera song starts off slowly, Andy sits back and soaks in the music, Andy then locks the office door so no one can get in. The viewer sees Andy with a small cheeky smile on his face, a smile the viewer sees when Andy is feeling freedom. As the music is getting louder the lighting changes slowly and gets brighter through the sun setting. The quote “music is a piece of art that goes into the ears then straight to the heart” represents Andy in this scene.  The second part of the scene sees Andy play the music over the speakers and shows all the prisoners and guards looking at the speakers like statues. The music comes through in all the rooms like the kitchen, infirmary and yard. In this scene the viewer sees a long camera shot of the yard with light blue sky in the background and hear an Italian opera song echoing around the prison walls. All the prisoners are taken by the music and are standing staring at the speakers like they have never heard music before. As the music is soaring the sun is a vibrant orange that covers Shawshank prison, this makes the prisoners feel relaxed and peaceful. The directors purpose here was to show how Andy reacts when given the opportunity to feel freedom. This scene relates to the quote from Andy “It’s funny. On the outside, I was an honest man. Straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.”




In this film the director used sound and lighting to show how Andy Dufrense deals with freedom, we see this firstly in the rooftop scene which see’s Andy and his mates drinking ice cold beer on a bright sunny morning. Sound and lighting created the directors purpose here by making him feel freedom by the relaxing harmonia music and the bright sky and colourful countryside. In the second scene we witness how Andy deals with a second chance of freedom, sound and lighting do this through the effect of how the music and lighting change as the song goes on, the director has used this effect to show how Andy changes when given a hint of freedom, the director smartly changes lighting when the song is at the peak because that is when Andy and the other in mates feel the most freedom.

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