Learn how to use sound design to add massive impact to your videos

Jul 1, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Learn how to use sound design to add massive impact to your videos

Jul 1, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Sound design is an often-ignored part of video production for many people outside of the world of big movie studios. But it’s an important part of the overall production that can add a lot of value to the end result. It’s not just for feature-length movies, either. It can be used very effectively in your vlogs and travel videos, too.

In this video, filmmaker Bryn North talks us through the process of adding sound to your videos. To demonstrate that you can do it with just about anything, Bryn downloaded a bunch of clips from ArtGrid and cut them together. Then he walks us through the types of sounds and why he chose certain shots for certain clips.

The goal of sound design is to complement and enhance the story you’re seeing on the screen, not to overpower it or draw attention away from it, and Bryn’s explanation explains that very effectively. It’s a great tutorial and one of the clearest and most informative tutorials that I’ve seen on the topic. Bryn talks about the different type of sounds you can add, why you might choose one over the other, and how they can be used to create transitions from very different subjects of clips seamlessly.

If Bryn’s video wasn’t enough of an example of just how effective sound design can be at setting the mood and tone of your shots, sequences or storytelling, just have a watch of this. This is some of the sound design from Shaun of the Dead. Some of the sounds are simply foley effects to simulate the noise of what we’re seeing on screen, but there are a lot of sounds that are there purely to enhance the mood or transition the story from one place to another – either physically or emotionally.

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One very interesting tip Bryn mentions, that I’d never considered before, is that because it’s all just sounds and there’s no actual music there, he places a metronome audio clip way down at the bottom just to help him set the pacing for the whole sequence of shots as well as the audio effects. Obviously this track is disabled for the final render, but it’s a great way to help ensure consistent pacing and timing throughout.

Do you use sound design in your videos? Or do you just throw on some low volume music underneath whatever your microphone picks up?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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