Sound is everywhere. So it’s a no brainer that it can make or break a production. Sound is the invisible element of video, enhancing audience experiences on the down low. In fact, when we can clearly pick up on certain sounds during a film it probably means it isn’t very good sound design. Good sound design entrenches audiences in the film world and makes them forget they’re watching a movie. The audio department is the heartbeat of video projects.
Ridin’ the Sound Wave
The term “audio” or “sound” refers to vibrations in the air which we perceive as sound when they reach our ear drums. Just think about all the sound you’ve encountered today. Maybe the first thing you heard today was a pesky alarm clock. Then, you heard the rustling of sheets, as you stretched and got out of bed. Within an hour of waking, you could’ve potentially heard mouths chewing, doors closing, cars honking, brakes screeching, radios blaring, etc.
These sounds are so normal it’s easy to forget their importance. Imagine if they weren’t there. What if one day you woke up and all sound was gone? You’d certainly notice then. In production, audio is important because it helps blur the lines between the production and reality. Not only does sound enhance realism, but good sound design from a solid art department can make any production seem better than real life.
What’s in an Audio Department?
A typical audio department on a given project can be pretty involved. You didn’t think it was an easy thing to craft audio that seamless, did you? Generally the department can be broken down into Production Sound and Post-Production Sound.
This is the on-set part of any audio department. The major players here are the Production Sound Mixer and Boom Operator. The point of production sound is to capture the sound happening on set. Generally, the audio recorded at this point won’t be able to stand alone in the final product. But the importance of having a solid base to start from can’t be overstated enough.
A Production Sound Mixer is responsible for placing mics on set and on actors and routing all that audio to a mixer and finally a recorder. They monitor all channels and adjust levels as well as other aesthetic aspects as it’s being recorded. The gig requires a huge base of knowledge, starting with a basic discipline in sound science. And then, of course, Sound Mixers must have extensive technical knowledge of sound equipment, including what situations call for what.
And then there’s the fabled Boom Operator. One of our favorite folks on set. I mean, how can we not respect the guy or gal holding a boom pole over their heads for hours on end, capturing crystal clear dialogue? Other than stamina, a Boom Op requires all the same technical knowledge as a Production Sound Mixer. And, while this is still very important for the Sound Mixer, Boom Ops need to know the script almost as well as the actors. They review scripts before shooting to know who’s speaking first and next, and so on, so they can anticipate where their boom pole needs to be at any given time.
After production sound wraps on set audio goes to post. That’s a whole other story. You can read about it here!
The ECG Audio Department
At ECG, we really do it all. Our services don’t end with video sound design, it extends to music recording and creation. With the help of our fully-equipped audio suites, our audio department offers recording, voiceovers and ADR, podcast recording, sound mixing, sound editing, and sound design. This studio is complete with Avid Pro Tools HD, state of the art Genelec speakers, 4k resolution monitors, Apollo interface with rack mount equipment, and a wide selection of audio plugins. It even has a WhisperRoom, which offers premium sound isolation — perfect for recording voice overs and music.
Whether you are looking for pre-recorded sounds from our massive sound library or your own unique sounds recorded in-studio, we’ve got you covered. We even have in-house composers available to create original music for any project. Take advantage of our huge selection of audio services today!