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soapdish
08-21-2009, 07:57 PM
Is there an industry term or description for that start up sound a camera makes? I am having the hardest time describing it.

It’s kind of a whine. Is that the camera? Or the flash?

I have searched with every possible keyword combination to come across some reference to this sound and all I get is info on things like the shutter clicking and the pop of a flashbulb.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Barb D
08-21-2009, 09:55 PM
Click.

Not very descriptive, but I think it's generally understood.

Sophia
08-21-2009, 09:58 PM
I'm not sure about industry terms. The flash charging up would make a high-pitched whine. If you're talking about a compact camera, then the lens opening up and extending would make a whirring sound.

2Wheels
08-22-2009, 01:33 AM
My dSLR doesn't make any sound at all when you turn it on. It's completely silent until you press the shutter to focus (using auto-focus), and then there's a slight whirr.

tjwriter
08-22-2009, 01:34 AM
How about whirr?

I'm not sure that spelling's right.

DWSTXS
08-22-2009, 01:41 AM
for the sound the shutter makes (in a standard SLR) I've always liked the word 'snick'

soapdish
08-22-2009, 02:55 AM
I'm not sure about industry terms. The flash charging up would make a high-pitched whine. If you're talking about a compact camera, then the lens opening up and extending would make a whirring sound.
I think it's the flash charging that I am thinking of.


It's not a click for sure.

I could call it a 'whir' but even that doesn't sound quite right to me. Maybe 'whine' is as close as I am going to get.

If I said: The whine of the flash charging.
Or: The whine of the flashbulb charging.

Would anyone know what I was talking about? LOL

It's such a nostalgic sound to me--reminds me of family get togethers, snapping photos with friends as a teen etc. I am trying to evoke that same feeling for others--but maybe it's only a sound I love
:D

hammerklavier
08-22-2009, 03:23 AM
Explain why you love it/have the character think about why they love it, that should get the feeling across.

soapdish
08-22-2009, 05:40 AM
Explain why you love it/have the character think about why they love it, that should get the feeling across.
Yeah, that is a good approach for sure. But I only have about 2 sentences to state everything and I don't know if I can cover all that ground in such a short space. :)

I was hoping if I nailed the description of the sound just right, it would be powerful enough to get the "oh, yeah, I totally know that sound" sort of reaction from the reader.

benbradley
08-22-2009, 06:39 AM
"The sound of a flash charging" should be what you need. Your character might well say "The sound of a flashbulb charging" because that's the association, but it would bother technonerds like me, as I know it's a switching electronic circuit with a transformer that makes the whine and that charges up a capacitor to a high voltage, which is then switched into the flashbulb when you take the picture. It's not the flashbulb itself that makes the whine noise.


ETA: Now that I think about it, "The whine [not sound] of a flash charging" would be more descriptive in the same number of words.

I've got this digital video camera thingie the size of a pack of cigarettes. It comes default with "sound on" and when you press the button to take a still picture it makes the shutter sound followed immediately by the whir of an automatic film-advance motor. It's rather hilarious that this completely electronic device plays back a recording of an auto-wind film camera. I finally found the menu item to turn sound off.

soapdish
08-22-2009, 07:24 PM
"The sound of a flash charging" should be what you need. Your character might well say "The sound of a flashbulb charging" because that's the association, but it would bother technonerds like me, as I know it's a switching electronic circuit with a transformer that makes the whine and that charges up a capacitor to a high voltage, which is then switched into the flashbulb when you take the picture. It's not the flashbulb itself that makes the whine noise.
YES! That’s what I needed. Even though I would never go into the techno details like this in the story--it is almost essential that I know what’s behind something in order for me to describe it well.

I've got this digital video camera thingie the size of a pack of cigarettes. It comes default with "sound on" and when you press the button to take a still picture it makes the shutter sound followed immediately by the whir of an automatic film-advance motor. It's rather hilarious that this completely electronic device plays back a recording of an auto-wind film camera. I finally found the menu item to turn sound off.
It’s funny because when I spent hours (yes, hours) coming up with every possible keyword combination and plugging them into a search engine, I had to exclude the word “digital” --because every search on “camera” and “noises” came up with people talking about their digital cameras mimicking old-school camera sounds.

I am now considering swapping the word “charged” or “charging” for “primed” or “priming” as well. Maybe that will not annoy the techno nerds as much.

Like: “the camera whined as the flashbulb primed” --oh shoot, that rhymes--Argh! That’s not what I meant to do…

Never mind. Back to the drawing board I guess. But thank you! Your suggestions have helped a lot. :)

WriteKnight
08-22-2009, 08:47 PM
Speaking as a photographer - if you're using an electronic flash - you're not using a 'flashbulb'.

In photographic parlance, a flashbulb can only be used ONCE, then it is burned out. Think of the old-time photographers with their cameras with the round radar-dish shaped flash attachements. Bulbs had to be put in and replaced every time they 'popped'. (And yes, it was a popping sound.) If you're not familiar with those, think in terms of flash-cubes that rotated or flash-bars that had bulbs build along them. All of those devices used flash-bulbs that burned out once they flashed.

And electronic flash utilizes a strobe. The 'whine' you hear is indeed the capacitor charging. The strobe can be used thousands (Hundreds of thousands?) of times before it is no longer functioning.

So, if you want to get truly technical then it is the "Sound of the flash charging" or "The sound of the strobe."

RJK
08-23-2009, 03:19 AM
You would hear the whine of the strobe capacitors charging, see the green LED ready light through the viewfinder, then hear the snick as you push the button and the shutter flicks across the lens. In an older camera, you'd hear the whizzing of the film winding motor as it readied your camera for the next shot.

sommemi
08-24-2009, 05:40 PM
I would have to say it's not really a 'whine' though, is it? It's more like that high-pitched sound that seems like the kind of sound that dogs must hear when you blow a dog whistle... or the sound of a TV that's on but has no static or channel on it... the 'sound' of electricity... With a flash charging, it starts out a bit louder and gets softer and softer the higher the pitch goes as the flash charges up... totally different sound than the actual whinding up of the camera when it advances the film. ya know? more of a .... high pitch wail? Squeal? maybe it IS a whine. maybe? I don't know... you're right. It's awfully hard to describe. Good luck!!! lol

Folofop
08-24-2009, 05:43 PM
Have you ever played any of the Splinter Cell games?

I think the sound of a flash starting up would be similar to Sam Fishers night vision thingy-ma-jig.

Fook knows how you would describe it though.