OPINION:  Celebrating Sound


Three keys to sound design for your film
By Dave Skinner and Ed Barratt

Sound design is a key component in any film we create. It can be broken down into three elements, ambient sound, dialogue, (either into camera or voice over), and music. 

When planning a film, it is helpful to have a direction for sound design from the outset. This can come from the client, the director, the story or even the tone set by a certain destination or yacht. Pairing the sound with the visuals for a film greatly enhances the storytelling and emotional journey the viewer goes on, thereby creating a connection to a brand. Without sound films are made up of moving images that lack depth and connection with the audience. We have all seen this when we watch a silent clip on social media or a horror movie on mute. 

So let’s take a look at three key contributors to sound design.  

Ambient sound - this comes in the form of natural sounds, which you may expect to hear if you were actually on location. For example, a beach shot with the sound of the waves. Or, seeing the sun come through the trees and hearing birds chirping. Ambient sound is one of the layers to the sound design. Sometimes the ambient sound can come from the footage itself, other times it can come from our own collection or from online libraries.

Dialogue - this can be in the form of people speaking on camera or a voice over (VO). Dialogue is most useful for brand films where the philosophy of a company, its history and culture, are all key components. Depending on the subject, context or film objectives, either a professional VO artist, brand representative, (or both), can be used to convey tone and direction to help create a human connection with the film. Regardless of the what and how, the main purpose of dialogue is to improve the communication of the desired message.

Music - this can greatly influence the mood of the film and the perceptions of the viewer. The music, or soundtrack, is vitally important for setting up your story – get it right and the whole film falls into place. The choice of music can come from online libraries or be specifically composed for the film. 

An audience can be greatly affected by the use of creative sounds. It can be so simple, think of the movie JAWS as an example. Two notes were used to create fear and suspense. Da-Dum...Da-Dum.

Sound design is a process which greatly influences the outcome of a production. It sends secret messages to the emotions of the viewer and is a key component in taking them on a journey as they view the film. Without it the film can fall flat. To fully influence the perception of the viewer a relationship needs to be crafted between the sound and the visuals so they compliment each other.

Ambient sound - Millennium Cup Regatta

Dialogue - Bannenberg & Rowell Brand Film

Music - Khalilah

Voice over - Sarp Yachts Brand Film