Video Production: Sound Design

Sound in ideas, rhythm in pictures, and cadence in story.  No, we are not discussing your English mid-term from freshman year, we are describing movements and techniques our StringLine audio techs, composers and video editors use everyday.  When you think of video marketing, most of us instantly think about what we should be shooting to tell the story.  Images of people, b-roll footage of scenic landscapes, warm lit colorful environments, a certain process or action.  Yes, beautiful imagery is very important, however audio becomes a second thought.  We are not sure how audio became the stocky side kick to video, but cinephiles, professors and producers alike will agree that 70% of your video experience relies on sound.

NO WAY you say?  Well let us put it in perspective (queue the progressive up-tempo soundtrack, page turn sfx). One big reason sound holds a dominating percentage to picture is that your eyes will forgive a bad picture way better than your ears will forgive bad audio.  We video consumers are bombarded with visuals that range from distorted flashy chaos to floating balanced compositions.  We tolerate and most often enjoy both types of visuals when used in the appropriate context.  Contrast this with un-mixed rough distorted audio vs. balanced, properly mixed audio and your video production suddenly goes from enjoyable to unwatchable.

Most of you are probably old enough to remember your tube television set and fidgeting with those bunny ear antennas to get a clearer picture.  Sometimes the static was there, sometimes not, but couch lounging still continued.  Now think about the last time you were listening to your car stereo and the FM station you are on suddenly gets out of range.  I am sure most of you within the minute jumped ship or found a new station.  The ears can be hard to please.


Thankfully we are here to make sure what you hear is clear and delightful to your ear.  Our productions rely on music composition, rhythm, and clean audible storytelling. There are many technical aspects to recording clean audio, mixing a good soundtrack, and timing it to the visual story.  This involves a talented crew, and different types of equipment.  Is your production taking place outdoors or in studio?  What sound impairments might there be on location, wind, loud trucks, planes flying overhead?  When thinking about the music mix what is the motivation for your story?  Is it adrenaline packed action, calm and elegant, technical, educational or comical?  Music is very important to the emotional interest your viewer will have.

Video editing is a lot like composing an orchestra and painting a picture at the same time.  It is when the two – sound and picture work together seamlessly that the audience forgets that they are seeing and hearing and are simply just enjoying the video experience.

Here is a fun example of how picture and sound come together with some precisely timed sound effects. Enjoy!