The Importance of Sound Design - ADAM Audio T7v Review

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Gear Focus Friday
sound design
T7V studio monitors
Tips & Advice

Gear Focus

Apr 14, 2020

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Today is all about sound design! We'll go over what sound design is, and how to improve the overall quality of your videos with better sound. After all, sound is just as important (if not more so!) as video.

The Importance of Sound Design

First and foremost we want to thank ADAM Audio for sponsoring this week's Gear Focus Friday. The best filmmakers, videographers, and cinematographers know that audio is just as important as (or maybe more than) video. Clear and high quality audio makes your videos so much easier to watch. The best sound design goes unnoticed The approach we take for our videos is to make it feel like you are there in person. You don't want it to feel overly fake or like it's missing something.

The Approach to this B-Roll Sequence

Dan approaches this sound design in three layers:

  1. First is a base layer of ambient sounds
  2. The next layer is the effects
  3. Final layer would be for impact effects

Ambient Sounds

These sounds need to be in the video. For our example, this includes things like the can sliding across the table and the can opening. These help you to feel like you are there. The ambient tones help set the scene and keep viewers feeling like they are present for your video. But more importantly, without them the video feels fake or doctored. They need to be there so the audience can relate to the video.

Sound Design Effects

The next layer of sound applied to the example video is the effects. This part of the sound design incorporates sound effects like "whooshes" for camera swipes. This adds more depth and dimension to your video sequence. You want to make sure not to use the same effect over and over again. If you must use the same sounds, be sure to change it in some way. Such as changing the frequency or portion of effect. It is very easy to notice the same sound being used more than once, especially if they are right next to each other.

Impact Effects

These are your special sound design effects that add emphasis to your video. For this b-roll sequence, we added a base drop at both the beginning and the end of the sequence. These are little punches that spice the edit up a bit. You want to be sure not to overdo it with these, as they can become pretty distracting if used too much. They can also make the video seem less authentic if overdone.

Music as Part of Your Sound Design

The next step to this approach is to bring the music back up. Generally we'll cut the b-roll to the music track we've selected first. Then once the edit flows right and all the video is there, we can go back and start applying the sound design effects. Once those all sound right, we bring the music track back in and see how it all sounds together.

Sourcing Sound Effects

We like to use Epidemic Sound, Artlist, and Envato Elements for our sound design needs. These sites typically have good sound effects and music tracks for our needs. However, occasionally it is just easier or better to go out and record your own sound effects. If you can't find the sound you're looking for on one of those sites, try your hand at recording your own. You'd be amazed at how many interesting sounds you can record and how varied their usage can be.

How Are You Listening to Your Audio?

If you don't have a good audio source to listen to, sound design is going to be very difficult. Therefore high quality studio monitors or headphones are really important. They help you to be able to properly hear all aspects of the audio you are putting out. As mentioned, ADAM Audio sponsored this week's Gear Focus Friday video, and sent us out a pair of T7V studio monitors. The great thing about these speakers is that they have a flat frequency curve. This is important because it means what you're hearing from your speakers is accurate. Some lower end or consumer grade speakers and headphones will boost certain frequencies to give the sound a better base response. But that isn't helpful when editing the sound design of your videos for output.

What's Your Sound Design Setup?

Let us know what your setup looks like. Is it comparable to Dan's? Much better? Or is it much cheaper yet just as effective? We want to hear from you about how you setup your sound design both in your videos and during playback. And don't forget to implement your best sound design when entering the "Focus on the Good" short film contest. That is after all one of the 4 major criteria on which films will be judged!

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