Sound Design in Video Production

Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

Chances are you’ve gone to the cinema at some point in your life. Then you’ll know the following scenario: in the middle of the plot, at some point the tension on screen becomes almost unbearable and Ryan Gosling (or whoever else floats your boat on screen) is about to utter the crucial words. He opens his mouth and says….*crrrrunch*.


Of course he didn’t say crrrrrunch. Sadly you missed that all important sentence because the person in front of you (yes the one with the big hair) thought it appropriate to dig into their bag of crisps just at that time. Yes, you know what it’s like when sound completely ruins a viewing experience. But sound albeit perhaps not a badly timed crisp munch can really transform a piece of film positively.

It’s not just on the big screen that sound makes all the difference – both TV and web content often rely heavily on sound to help bring the message across. But whilst recording good location sound for example in a piece to camera is one thing, but some jobs and especially animation projects need a bit more than just clear dialogue and music. Cue sound design.

Good sound design is normally when you don’t notice it’s there because you have got so sucked into the story. In an animation, sound design can include footsteps, ambient sounds (you can transform relatively blank canvas into an outdoor scene just with the addition of a few birds singing and wind whistling), spot sounds such as a door banging and much much more. Sound design is the icing on the cake, and it happens normally at the very end of the animation and video production process. Working with existing sound libraries full of effects and where these are not enough or appropriate, recording them specifically for a project, a sound designer’s job is to really bring what’s happening visually to life and balance it with the music and dialogue / voiceover. Have a listen to one of our animations and hear how many added sounds you can spot – you’ll probably be surprised!

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