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The Value of Sound in Video Production

When was the last time you walked out of a movie theater and thought, “Wow! That sounded great!” Not often, huh? That doesn’t mean that the sound was naturally bad or unimpressive. What it actually means is that the sound was doing its job perfectly. It wasn’t drawing you in to its wild rhythms. It was using its rhythms to draw you into the story. We at Adrenaline Broadcasting provide the New Orleans area with optimum video production services. That includes all areas of production, especially the sound department. When sound for video is done right, you shouldn’t even notice it. What you should notice, is its power to envelope you into the story.

Now, the first thing we have to acknowledge on the value of sound for video production is that video is a visual medium. It is about what we are seeing. Film itself started out silent, so the visuals are detrimental to the art-form. However, since the Talkies first appeared in 1927, sound has been enhancing our movie-going experiences by introducing us to a unique art-form all on its own. This art-form was less about music as it was about ambience. There was now a craft to replicating sounds we were all familiar with in real life, such as clapping your hands, stomping your feet, or waving a flag.

But the essence of sound production is not to stand out on its own; it is to enhance the visuals. A sound mixer (sometimes called a sound recordist) is someone who records the necessary sounds on set for a video. They are the ones listening to make sure that the dialogue, ambience and all other needed sounds are recorded properly. They are often teamed with the boom operator, who holds out the boom microphone to record the sound. Boom operating can seem like an easy job, but it is anything but. They always have to keep the boom in the proper position so that the Sound mixer can hear perfectly. That means that they have to go for long periods of holding the boom pole in the same position. To fully understand the work, try doing it an hour (with 5 minute breaks) and see if your arms get tired. It’s tough work, but they always do it because the result is detrimental to the final project.

Now, consider the result it has on the video. The unique thing about sound is that it goes unnoticed when it is good, but is totally noticeable when it’s bad. A good sound design should encompass the audience into the locations of the video. The audience should be able to close their eyes and still have a vague idea of where they are in the story. But if sound keeps cutting out, or it is spiking in the audio, then the audience will immediately be pulled out of the story. They will realize that it is nothing more than a movie, show, or commercial. We always have to keep the audience in suspension of disbelief. However, it is okay for the sound to be profound. There can be jump cuts and weird sounds as long as the scene calls for it. But that is the point. Like any other job on a video production, it is not about the position standing out. It is about the final collaborative video project standing out.

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