Ethnographic film has formed a central part in debates concerning the iconographic aspects of the image and how they convey a sense or sensation of authenticity or 'true' representation of reality. The main emphasis in much of the theorising has been on pictorial aspects rather than on sound. There is a lack of studies and theory looking into the significance of sound in general and its contribution to systems of meaning (in a semiological sense) in particular.
While such discussions may, undoubtedly, serve different purposes in respective academic disciplines, there is a huge potential for cross-pollination of ideas. Film scholars may possibly learn something from visual anthropology about the importance of sound in human communication and ritual, and the creation of meaning and cosmologies, whilst visual anthropologists may learn something from film theorists and practitioners about the relationship between sound and image.