One of the very first lessons I learned when I began working with Pixel Corps was the priority sound takes in motion pictures. Alex Lindsay is fond of saying “If your sound is bad, your image can be pristine and the viewer will disconnect.” For this reason, every talented filmmaker I know is fanatical about their audio records, regardless of how big or small the job.

I planned a longer article on the importance of sound in video, but the following video dropped into my Twitter feed. In this behind-the-scenes look at The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the fine folks at Park Road Post broke it all down for me.

While the subject is cinematic, big screen sound mixing, the core principles apply to every video you might capture and cut.

For more excellent coverage of sound in film, follow Michael Coleman on Vimeo.


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Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. Very interesting post—both enjoyable and educational, BUT…how does this translate to me with my dslr and the videos I make? I don’t have a mega-bucks soundboard or an orchestra to work with. Any music I use has to pass the digital rights gate which presents all kinds of potential problems. Translate posting to what I need to make my dlsr sound be the equal of the dslr video I shoot and I would be more than just an interesting post.

    • You can always aspire to be better. You can also look at those examples and learn and lift ideas.

    • Danny – Fair point. You’ve given me a great idea for a follow-up post. In the mean time, I have two responses.

      1. The importance of sound really depends on the intended application of the footage. If you are shooting scenics and b-roll that will be intercut over an audio bed, then you need not worry so much about your sound capture.

      2. If you do need the audio from your capture, there are many reasonably price options for get better, if not perfect sound in the field. Examples include the Zoom H4N and the Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Mic. The former capture off-board sound to by replaced via sound sync in post. The latter uses the camera’s 1/8 hack to get better sound into the camera.

      I hope this helps.

  2. Your point about the importance of sound reminds me of years ago when videoconferencing was in its infancy. People would put up with choppy, unbelievable poor video, but wouldn’t tolerate any kind of hiccup in audio! The same thing applies today in our streaming world: we’ll keep watching if the video gets muddled, but give up when the audio gets choppy.

  3. Pretty! This has been a realky wonderful article. Thank yoou
    for providing these details.


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About Doug Daulton

Storyteller ... Words, Images & Business. Favorite topics: Family, Civics, Geekery, Martial Arts, SCUBA, Sustainability,Wild Places & World Cultures.


Cinematography, Gear, Technique & Tutorials


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