Sound Design

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SOUND DESIGN by Jamie Montoya
Have you ever read the credits at the end of a movie, and noticed the title Sound Design or Sound Designer? A sound designer is the primary member of a film’s production staff, with creative authority equal to that of the film editor, and director of photography. This individual is ultimately responsible for all aspects of a film’s audio track, from the dialogue and sound effects recording, to the re-recording (mix) of the final track. However, Sound design is much more than just recording great sounds. This is my thesis for this paper. The term “Sound Designer” was first introduced in the film world in 1972. It was given to Walter Murch, by Francis Ford Copolla, in recognition for Walter’s extraordinary audio contribution to the film “Apocalypse Now”. “Sound, musical and otherwise, has value when it is part of a continuum, when it changes over time, has dynamics, and resonates with other sound and with other sensory experiences.” Sound has great potential for storytelling. It is useful in enhancing visuals, rooting images in reality, disguising bad edits and holes in a story. The modern day filmmaker can take advantage of sound by not just having good audio recorded on the set. They can actually design the film with sound in mind, to allow sound’s contribution to influence creative decisions. Sound can shape a film, as much as film can shape sound. A sound designer has to have excellent knowledge and techniques in recording, mixing and special effects. Sound design is not limited to music. Designers also work with dialogue, background noises and special effects. A sound designer can also be referred to as a sound editor. The following is a brief history of audio’s history in film. The earliest surviving motion picture with synchronized recorded sound was a Thomas Edison product. It dates somewhere between Sept 1884, and April 1895. It lasted 23 seconds. It featured Edison engineer...
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