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Creating and Recording Sound

by Wendy Milette



Sound is one of the MOST important elements in movies of all kinds. A good sound design will make the difference of a great movie; just as bad quality sound will quickly ruin a good movie. Sound communicates through the emotions. So, if you want to touch people, spend some time and creative thought on the sound in your movie.


To obtain a quality recording :

  • Use a good microphone. The camera microphones that are built into most camcorders are not sufficient for quality sound. They are OK for backgrounds if it is all you have. For interviews and scenes with dialogue, it is HIGHLY suggested that you use an external microphone.
  • A shotgun mic that fixes to the top of the camera is the simplest, cheapest and easiest solution.
  • A wireless lavaliere is a nice option for versatility.
  • A Boom Mic - for those with a budget and crew. This involves a boom operator and a mixer.
  • Headphones are a must in all cases.
  • If you are limited to using only the mic on the camera, then find a quiet location, have the talent close to the camera, and avoid wind.


Basic Elements of Sound in Movies:


  • Dialogue
    • On camera (in the scene)
    • Off camera
    • Narration (coming from a narrator)
    • Voice Over (coming from the character)
  • Music -- You MUST have the rights to any music you use. Why not create your own?
  • Effects
    • Hard Effects (door close, car pass - record on site)
    • Special Effects (extra sounds you add to create mood). Find sound FX here:
  • Background and ambient sounds (use Effects libraries or create your own)
  • Production sound (record on location)


For additional support and information about production training workshops for teachers and students contact: media at myheroproject dot org