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School of Visual Arts

Sound Essentials

School of Visual Arts via Kadenze


As the name suggests, Sound Essentials covers an entirely new dimension that can make or break your video work. The third course in Photographer to Video in Today's Gig Economy explores how sound carries emotion and impacts the depth and tone of your stories. The tools, the terminology and the language of sound production often feel foreign to photographers, but this class will provide a thorough foundation which will get you recording professional sound in no time.


  • Project: The Interview
    • Learn how to get great interview , whether it’s a “man on the street” or a “60 Minutes” style production. You’ll learn how to capture quality audio for your interviews but also how to ask questions that will get meaningful responses that will engage the audience.
  • Ambient Sound, Soundtracks and Music
    • Ambient sounds are background sounds and noises that are found and recorded on site. Ambient sounds provide dimension and reality for a piece. They can include sounds of nature like a babbling brook or the quiet sound of falling snow or they can be the sounds of a city like traffic, automobile horns or a noisy subway. They can also be sounds found in the workplace such as a construction site where we hear the sounds of a jackhammer or the sound of hammering nails. Or the sound may make us feel anxious like the dreaded sound of a dentist’s drill. Some sounds can soothe us like a cooing baby or conversely annoy us like a crying baby. And some sounds can affect us in different ways depending on the mood we’re in.
  • Capturing & Syncing Sound
    • While it’s best to capture your audio and video separately to achieve good quality, there are times when you will have to do a quick man on the street type interview where you will have to capture the audio and video to the same card. Let’s talk first about the ideal method of capturing the audio of your dialogue and that is using the dual system and recording the audio and video to separate cards.
  • Microphones, Mixers and PreAmps
    • In this session we’ll talk more about audio gear such as types of microphones, recording devices and mixers that you can use to capture quality audio. We’ll also talk about the why’s and reasons behind your choices of gear. You want to determine the overall sound of your video or film, what you want people to hear and why and where you will need to place microphones for dialogue, sounds of nature etc. We’ll talk about the importance of monitoring audio and listening with headphones for sounds or noises that you don’t want to hear. Use your ears as well as your eyes. Listen to the sound of the room or environment you are in.
  • The Importance & Emotion of Sound
    • To understand the importance of sound and how you can use it to set the tone of your video and impact the emotions of your viewer. You’ll learn how and why to choose music to create the right feeling you want in your video. You’ll learn that the choices of music you make can drive the pace of your video and help structure the arc of the story. Good sound doesn’t just mean getting good audio with your interviews. It means thinking about the overall sound of your piece, and using music to unify your story.


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