The importance of Sound Design/Recording!

23 Jul

It’s been a while since I have done a post, in the midst of Graduation and finally finding some hope of a good creative job I decided that Sound is what really makes a film. I have been working hard creating motion graphics and this gave me a really good opportunity to be more experimental and creative with sound so I thought it would be nice to share some tips I have come across.

For me sound design & recording comes quite naturally, my A levels where in music technology and I have been through the process of recording bands e.t.c (a skill I would advise any film-maker to gain). It’s often said sound is 51% of a film and I totally agree, an audience will tolerate bad video if the sound is good but never vice versa.  Sound is particularly important to get right when shooting with a DSLR because most of the time you cannot rely on the sound these cameras take in, time and time again I see interviews shot with a DSLR looking amazing but sounding terrible, don’t fall into this trap:


This video covers almost everything you will need to know in terms of what gear to use and when. Personally this video is very useful because I my self have shot many ceremonies and its defiantly something you don’t want to get wrong. To re-cap here are the three mic’s he talks about:

  • Handheld microphone – Normally used for interviews or presentations, they come in both wired and wireless, and are perfect for “man on the scene” type shots.
  • Boom microphone – These long microphones are highly directional (recording sound where you point them). Normally used to capture actors lines from just off camera by attaching them to a long pole. They are also mounted directly on cameras to get long distance sound.
  • Lavalier microphone – A small clip-on microphone that attaches to the subjects clothing. Normally used on TV newscasts or sitcoms that require sound to be captured from the subject without it being obvious that there is a microphone attached.

But this is only touching the surface of such a massive subject, you really need to know what settings to use when recording in different situations with these mic’s, i.e a high or a low-cut or simply changing the recording format from.WAV 44.1Khz 16bit to mp3 . This video covers a lot of what I am talking about:

Once you’re audio is recorded you need to know how to deal with the audio in post. You can add a multitude of effects to your .WAV files in many programs (I use soundtrack pro as it has tonnes of pre set samples for adding sound design as well as advance EQ functions). But, the one you really need to know when coming from a video point of view is background noise reduction. It’s such a pain and you know its going to spoil your production so here’s how to get rid of it!:

This post does not cover everything but it should give you some good starting points when recording and editing you’re audio. For me I like to take things a step further and often begin creating sound design as a finishing stage of a project, simple whooshes and background sounds like a drone can add a lot of textures to your project and give it a more cinematic feel. This guy expresses how important his sound design is to his film making in this long (but worth watching) interview:

Salomon Ligthelm Interview from Michael Jones on Vimeo.

My sound design work:

worhouse basic from Lewis Rennison on Vimeo.

<p><a href=”″>Dancer</a&gt; from <a href=”″>Lewis Rennison</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


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