Everything You Need to Know About Sound Design

July 2nd, 2021  |  by maria

Everything You Need to Know About Sound Design. Sound is an important element of any film. It's through the sound that viewers get to feel the tone and atmosphere of the film. Through sound design you can create a truly remarkable scene after another, giving you a great film in the end.

Sound design is much more than choosing music for each scene. It’s about aligning with the mood and setting the tone for each scene.

The sound design brings out the life and atmosphere of a firm. Some think that only great visuals will make a great film. The reality is, that most films are an "audiovisual" experience, which means that the audio is equally important in the creation of the piece.

What are the common aspects of sound design?

Sound design has a few elements that need to be perfect audio:

  • Music
  • Sound effects
  • Dialogue
  • Mixing
  • Foley sound


One of the most common aspects of sound design, it is your go-to when you want to tell or elevate a scene, story, or character. Want to know just how music is to films? Look at those early silent movies; they relied on music to attract and elicit emotions.

Use music as a tool to bring out the emotions, feelings, and thoughts of characters.

Are you thinking of a soundtrack? Let it resonate with the general tone of the film. Use it as a bridge between the film and the audience.

And ooh, remember, the soundtrack will not only attract viewers, but it will be one of the most memorable things in a film. Try to mix things up, and don’t be confined with the same old school of thought.

Sound effects

Sound effects are your go-to when you want to add pragmatism to your film. Every filmmaker will tell you of the magnitude sound effects has on your film. The truth is, with music, as with film, you are only limited to your imagination.

Think outside the box, try every little idea you have to see that you improve your film.

The best thing is there are lots of software out here to help you with your sound. Use SFX to add transients or increase sound effects layers to give your audio that extra authentic feel.


Dialogue is what brings life to the characters. It gives them a personality and life. Something the audience can resonate with. But is dialogue all about two characters talking, or is there more to it? Of course not. A dialogue needs to blend in with other aspects of sound.

That means letting the audience get each word the characters are saying and include other sound design techniques. For instance, if it's a romantic scene, as the characters are talking, a filmmaker can add background music. It sounds cliché, but it works wonders.

Sound Foley

Sound design cannot be complete without foley. Whether a veteran or newbie, every sound designer must be able to harness the power of sound foley. You cannot experience naturalism and realism in a film without using sound foley, but what is it?

Well, sound foley can be said to be the use of common sound effects in a film. First used in the 1920s, this sound technique was originally used by Jack Foley, hence the name. The technique is usually done in post-production and is perfect for enhancing sound and audio quality.

The technique has blossomed over time so that we now have foley artists who specifically implement the technique in a film. If you can, go for such, but you can always cherry-pick some of the tips and use them in your film if you are on a tight budget.


In sound design, the backstops lays within the mixing. See all the elements we have listed above? They all culminate through mixing. On paper, this looks easy.

Just mix and match the different sound effects and that's it... correct? Nah! That's too easy. You need to practice the art of perfect execution and perfect your sound design skills.

A filmmaker needs to know how to add different sound layers seamlessly and know when to add or remove background noise. You need to know which background song to play at what time and which effects are needed in which scene. All this has to align perfectly to bring life to your film. For this you may want to hire a sound engineer specialised in sound design and mixing for films, specially if you need to elevate your sound mix to surround systems (like 5.1).

Don’t worry if this feels like a lot; it will take a bit of practice and constant upgrading of skills to be a pro.


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