February 6, 2018

What is great sound design?

The art of sound design dubai is much more than a case of slapping on a few sound effects to picture. Sound design is the process of specifying, acquiring, manipulating or generating sound or sound effects in order to create a unique and captivating sound.

The importance of sound design in film goes unnoticed more often that not. Film being mainly a visual channel, depends on audio to tell the story, so much so that all it takes is a simple click of the mute button on your remote to truly value its importance. Sound design, especially if done well along with the audio editing and scores can turn an average movie into an absolutely exceptional one just as one bad sound can completely take away from the entire movie. At the end of the day, the best sound design is where you don’t notice the sound in a scene at all.

As an example, when you’re watching a scene in a movie, what you see visually might not be what your mind expects to hear or sometimes a simple sound effect needs to sound far more dramatic and larger than life than it might in real life. This is what the art of true sound design is all about, and the principle we use to create unique sound design specifically for your needs.

BKP Media Group has won countless awards for sound design dubai and is the leading regional exponent in this field. Our sound studios are some of the best in the region, with a team of experts available to help create sound design that will captivate and engage your audience. Allow us to help you with your sound design project by using the state of art equipment we have in our professional sound studio.

What is a ‘sound designer’?

‘Sound Designer’ means something a little different depending on which industry you are working in. Film work is compartmentalized with very specific tasks dealing with audio and the sound designer can either be the person who works directly with the director to shape the overall soundtrack of the film or a person who actually creates specific sounds, such as creature roars or sci-fi sound effects. These folks focus on their particular assignments and bring in other experts to create Foley, edit and mix and record in the field as needed. The workload can vary from project to project, big action dramas need more sound than a low-keyed love story and compressed schedules can really add pressure to the already hectic production. The bigger the production and tighter the schedule, the more audio specialists will be brought in to make it happen.

Games are a completely different animal. The term ‘sound designer’ can mean pretty much anyone on the team who isn’t a ‘composer’ or an audio ‘programmer’. From a historical perspective, a game’s sound used to fall to one person who did everything relating to audio. Small to medium projects still typically use a single person to keep costs lower and simplify the separation of duties, so if you are one of those composer/sound designer types, you would be running the audio show for these. Larger projects usually require a few more boots on the ground with a separate audio director, composer, sound designer, field recordist, audio editor and other specialists as the project dictates. What a lot of people don’t know outside of the games industry is that sound designers are still expected to not only be able to craft appropriate sound effects but to also:

  • be a field recordist to capture specific sounds to use as elements or as realistic sound effects,
  • be a Foley artist to create specific movement and object handling sounds to follow gameplay or for a games cinematics,
  • be an audio editor to edit and manipulate audio elements as needed using multi-track and 2 channel audio programs, and
  • perform post production duties such as synchronizing sounds to their corresponding actions in the game or cinematic.

‘Sound designer’ skills

With such a broad scope of possible duties for a ‘sound designer’, how can you tell if you even have the right talent and knowledge to be a good one? Having a passion for sound is a great start and chances are, you’ve probably already amassed a nice collection of sounds you’ve either collected, recorded or created yourself – and that’s a huge indicator you’ve got it in your blood.

For those who don’t have a musical background, don’t despair, the most important skill or talent is having what we call a ‘good ear’. While hearing IS important, having a good ear is something a little different than having decent hearing – it’s the ability to recognize and be able to distinguish various elements of a sound. Clapping your hands together in an enclosed space will generate 4 distinct ‘sounds’. The ‘attack’ which is the sound of the hands coming together, the ‘body’ where it intensifies and reaches its maximum volume, the ‘echo’ as the sound bounces off another surface and returns to your ears, and the ‘decay’ where the sound decreases in volume to nothing. Tuning your ear to detect and analyze each of these types of sound is part of what makes up a ‘good ear’. Other qualities include the ability to hear beyond the sound and to be conscious of background noise, distortion, phasing issues and other details which could detract from the wanted audio. If you’re starting with a ‘good ear’, you can learn the rest and be successful as a sound designer.

One of the learnable skills which make a huge difference in the profession is the ability to ‘capture’ quality audio. While we do make copious use of sound libraries when creating sound effects, there are more times than not when recording fresh, original sounds is best. And how you accomplish that is a matter of your specific background and the sound that needs to be recorded. In-studio recording under controlled conditions is one method and when this is impractical, which it is for the majority of big ticket items, field recording is the only other option. Either way, having the ability to operate the gear and record cleanly and correctly is key. Having a background as a studio engineer or field recordist is perfect for this but it’s not a total deal breaker. Definitely put it on your list of things to become proficient at sooner rather than later.

The final ‘must-have’ skill is where the rubber meets the road. You can’t create sound effects unless you master the ability to manipulate individual audio elements, craft them into a finished sound and edit them appropriately. This activity makes use of several tools and the good news is, you can use whatever method works best for you, as long as the final result shines. Creating finished sound effects using 2 channel editing software is one way. Layering and manipulating elements on separate tracks in a multi-track program is another. Loading individual elements into a sampler and ‘performing’ a sound or triggering them via MIDI is yet another. Whatever you feel strongest with and whatever allows you to create expressive and emotional sound effects is what you should use and this all depends on your background and what skill set you bring to the table.

BKP Group | Dubai

Business Central Towers
Tower B, 802
Dubai Media City, UAE

Phone: +971 4 448 3600
Email: info@bkp.group

BKP Group | Dubai

Building No. BS8
Al Qudra Rd
Dubai Studio City, UAE

Phone: +056 864 0444
Email: info@bkp.group

BKP Group | Riyadh

Office No. 43 & 44
Second Floor
Al Thumama Road, Al Nada District
Riyadh, KSA

Phone: +966 11 293 2077
Email: info@bkp.group

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