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The Wonderful World Of Sound Design

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sound design

Sound design is an essential part of video production. From the shortest commercial to film, the use of sound is directly linked to their success. During post-production, editors spend a great deal of time developing sound, scoring the video or producing music. Sound design is important as music evokes emotion and relays context and depth to a video. Even the absence of sound can require an intense design process as sound has the important role of either telling a story or supporting the story being told. Here we discuss what goes into designing sound effects for film and television.

Sound Design Elements

During the filming or a production, audio and sound is recorded. The editing of sound and scoring takes place during the post-production phase. The design process may differ from production to production, but generally includes the design of:

  1. Speech

    The ability to record speech remains a historical landmark. Recording speech requires the understanding of tones and audio colors. Although some dialogue is recorded on set, others are recording off set by actors while working closely with the director of the film. These prepared dialogues by the actors are generally recorded on the production day to ensure authenticity and that the same mood is kept.

  2. Ambient Sound

    Ambient sound can provide insight into the location where a scene takes place and generally of a low frequency and continues throughout a film. When filming a project, speech is recorded as well as a series of natural ambient sounds. These sounds are then heightened and edited during post-production. Some ambient sounds can be recorded during filming as mere background noise could be what the scene requires, while other ambient sounds are created during post-production. Here, sound designers and editors work closely to create the sound of things we often do not think about, such as wind or footsteps.

  3. Sound Effects

    Designed sound effects are done during post-production as they cannot be recorded naturally or because they do not exist naturally. These are most prevalent in sci-fi films that require futuristic takes and sound for technology that does not currently exist. Sound designers may use completely unrelated objects to achieve the desired sound. Designing these sounds takes great imagination, attention to detail and skill.

  4. Music

    Music allows the film to transcend visual barriers and assist during the storytelling process. Today, soundtracks have become almost as important as the film itself. Music can be created for the film itself or it can be sourced from music that is already popular.

Sound Design Process

The sound design process generally consists of 4 phases. It is a complex and often challenging process which requires the expertise of a great video production team. The process may differ depending on the nature of the production, but includes:

  1. Recording

    During the recording phase, all the sound thought to be necessary for the production is recorded. Recording that sound involves a number of complexities including the quality of the microphone and positioning it perfectly to ensure that the sound meets production requirements.

  2. Mixing

    Sound mixing involves the compilation of sound and setting it in the correct order to form an audio image. It requires the use of microphones and the ability to mold sound levels.

  3. Synchronizing

    Here editors are tasked with recording audio during post-production and ensuring that the audio recorded matches the visuals of a film. The process is highly technical and requires attention to detail.

  4. Editing

    This is the final step of the sound design process. Editors use a series of transitions and mixing to ensure that the audio relays a single picture that is in accordance with the represented visuals.

Contact The Michael Group today to gain further insight in the wonderful world of sound design and to create the perfect sound for your next project!

The Michael Group