Sound Design and its importance in audiovisual works

Sound design is the process of specifying, acquiring, manipulating or generating audio elements. It is employed in a variety of disciplines including filmmaking, television production, theatre, sound recording and reproduction, live performance, soundart, post-production, radio and video game development.

Not only achieving the cleanest and high quality recording possible but in the later edition process, solving the unexpected problems eventually happen in those recordings is a vital role in audio post production.

Making the Hears “believe” the Eyes:

Because sound is more complicated to understand than image, the human brain is often not consciously aware but unconsciously is processing the information coming to the ears and reaching to only one conclusion: the sound matches with the image, I believe what I’m seeing is happening at some point OR the sound doesn’t match the image and the illusion would be broken. That is why a proper sound design synchronized with the image is vital for achieving a quality video.

Live Recording

Live audio recording is one of the fields where professional and amateur productions use to have the biggest quality difference. Not only carefully setting up the microphones but latter on the post production removing the unwanted noises and enhancing the necessary parts is a difficult job even high budget productions eventually fail.

Audio Post Production

Once the recording process is done, it’s done. Noises,  poor quality sound or the lack of it can spoil the best photography video ever or breaking the climax of the most outstanding performance. If a video sounds cheap it will look cheap regardless of how good the image is.

That’s when audio post production comes to stage, not only mixing the recorded sounds but fixing accordingly the problems happened in the live recording. That process includes meticulously balancing the different sound track levels, identify the unwanted noises, manipulating the original audio when it’s necessary and sometimes even adding “fake” sounds or studio voices. All for finally creating a tridimensional audio illusion to “deceive” the hears of the viewers and match an image, often has nothing to do with the really recorded sound source.

Foley Recording&Sound FX

Not only for games or animations, very often, partial or full live sound recording is not possible or the requirements of the desired sound source are not viable on stage or would be more efficient doing that latter. In those cases, separately in field or in studio recording is a common resource. Not only those amazing Sound Effects SFX, but many others of the sounds we assume like “real” in a movie, have been separately recorded and mixed in the final post production for cleanliness, convenience reasons or as a matter of last resource at times.

Musical Sound Design

Music is defined as a combination of sounds in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.

Therefore, it can be used as SFX creator if the synchronization with the image is accurate. As a soundtrack creator, I like the barrier between the sounds and music in an audiovisual to be dim, the music elements having relation with the noises we hear or we could hear from the elements our eyes are watching.

Carlos Javier Guerrero

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