Welcome to a monthly series explaining the ins and outs of audio post-production. The series will cover all aspects of the filmmaking process related to audio - from script to screen.
This is intended as a brief overview to help filmmakers understand the process for audio in film and television. It will focus mainly on film work but the concepts will apply to short and long-form work such as corporate animations, film trailers, adverts, and TV drama, documentary and entertainment.
By the end of the series, I hope you will have gained better understanding of the audio post process, as well as more insight into the terminology and concepts.
In the first part of this series we will look at a couple of fundamental questions:
What is Sound Design?
Sound Design is the process of recording, manipulating and creating audio to complement and enhance the visual elements of your film. The components that make up a film’s soundtrack can be broadly broken down into three elements:
Sound Design mostly refers to the use of Sound FX in audio post, however, each member of a film's sound team will use all of the above elements to build the soundscape. These will then be mixed together to create the final soundtrack. By the use of the above, Sound Design is able to create realistic new worlds, enhance emotional content and excite audiences.
So why is it important?
When watching a film, documentary or television show, the aim of the filmmakers is to immerse the audience in the world depicted. In order to maintain interest and keep audiences engrossed in the narrative, the elements of the film must be realistic and complimentary to the story being told. The score, the sound effects, visual effects, costume design, set design etc, are all paramount to the end result.
Bad audio can severely impact a viewer’s experience. Audiences tend to be slightly more forgiving of an out of focus shot as opposed to a noisy or unclear sound recording, so the audio quality of a film is very important for the viewing experience.
Good sound design creates a realistic world for the film’s characters to live in and immerses the audience in that world. It can enhance the emotional content of a film through atmospheric sound effects. It can add richness to the soundtrack to excite the audience during car chases and fight scenes. It can focus the audience's attention to specific actions or characters and it can build tension through build ups and hits.
Sound Design is ultimately important as it creates a realistic and vibrant soundscape to the world depicted on screen and helps enhance, excite and energize the narrative of the film.
In the next article we will look at who makes up the audio post production team and what their roles are.
To subscribe to future articles, please subscribe to my newsletter here.