Sound design

Boom operator

Access ‘Sound design’ series with Wayne Pashley and then discuss and respond to the questions below.






Sound design

the art of making sounds, sound effects, atmosphere and sometimes music for a film or video game

Food groups

the major elements of sound design which include dialogue from the script, crowd noise and emotion, hard effects (such as spaceships and car engines that make noise during filming), environments or atmosphere (such as birds and traffic), and foley (created in the studio after filming and editing is complete).

Hard effects

sounds that synchronise with an action in a film (such as slamming car door)

Soft effects

background noises or ambient sounds in a film that suggest location


sounds that set the scene and place of a film


sound effects added in the studio to enhance the sounds heard during a film, such as footsteps and wind

The mix

The final version of all the film's sounds, music and 'food groups', presented in a balanced and carefully edited format


actors who appear in a film with very small roles (such as crowd member or taxi driver)


moving the audio from left to right speaker as if an object is moving from left to right


an empty file that sets the structure


artist who creates cartoons illustrations and images for animation films


to experience with deep emotions or instincts

ADR (automated dialogue replacement)

process of carefully re-recording spoken dialogue in the studio to replace damaged audio recorded during a film shoot


patterns of long and short notes


natural lilt when someone speaks; chords at the end of a musical phrase

In sync

at the same time


echo sound effect


a character who opposes or present the opposite viewpoint


main character

Post-produced dialogue

spoken text recorded in the studio to add to a film

Dialogue editing

careful cut, paste, smoothing and balance of dialogue for a film

Clean it up

remove digital glitches and uneven sounds (such as dialogue that was masked by a plane noise)

Smoothing the dialog

if one person's dialogue is louder than another in the same conversation, it should be made as even and smooth as possible

Equalisation (EQ)

adjust the volume of different frequencies to create a more pure sound

Lip sync

make your spoken voice match the lip movement of a speaking or singing character on-screen; mime

High end gear

expensive audio/visual equipment


a variety of high and low audio sounds

Atmos (backgrounds, environments, sound worlds)

atmosphere and sound world for a film

Dolby atmos

cinema surround sound technology


instrument that records and manipulates sound in a musical way


change or alter


someone who records sound or music


recording someone speaking to paste over the top of a video (without being able to see the speaking person)


the last line of a joke

Analogue sound

non-digital sound recording

Windows wave (WAV) file

a type of digital sound or music file

Motion picture expert group (MP3) file

a type of digital sound or music file

Pro tools

audio software sold by Avid


an object or piece of clothing used in a play or film (For example walking stick or mask)

Rustle track

a layer of audio recorded to mimic the sound of clothes moving or rubbing while the character moves

Foley artist

someone who records sounds and sound effects for films in a studio while watching the film to synchronise the sound with the visuals


  • What film resources does a sound designer need in order to start their work on a short film? How is this different when working on an animation?
  • What are the ‘food groups’ to consider when designing sound for a film?
  • Which sounds are recorded during the shoot, and which sounds are recorded in the studio later?
  • When is ADR (automated dialogue replacement) required?
  • Which elements of a film narrative might be expressed through music and sound rather than dialogue or expensive special effects?
  • What kind of work does the final mix involve?
  • When Wayne Pashley says, ‘open your ears to the world’, what does he mean in the context of sound design?