Elements of Sound Design (Intro to Sound Series)

elements of sound design

Welcome to the Sound Series, where together we’ll go over some of the basic aspects of film production and appreciation in relationship to sound effects and music, including gear and industry best practices. Collectively, these elements form the soundscape or sound design of a film. To kick things off, check out our article on Sound Design, […]



Before digital technology came to existence, television programs were transmitted in an analog video format or signal. The standardization of video signal was important for the compatibility across VHS tapes, VCRs devices, DVD players, TV sets, and broadcast. Each format (either NTSC and PAL) follows a standard of technical rules to ensure quality and compatibility of […]

What is Foley?

Foley sound design

Foley is one of the components of a film’s sound design. Foley effects are sounds recorded during post-production to give weight or oomph to subtle sounds that appear on the screen during an actor’s performance and other scenarios. As I wrote when I talked about the boom microphone, the sound recordist and the production crew are more […]

Music in Film


Music is one of the elements of a film’s sound design. It is different from dialogue and sound effects in that usually it does not have its source as part of the filmic space. Gunshots and door slamming, for instance, are heard when they happen on the screen (diegetic sound). But music, on the other hand, […]

Diegetic and Non-Diegetic Sound

diegesis definition

Diegetic Sound is called diegetic when its source is visible or implied in the world of the film. Common diegetic sounds present in most films are: actors speaking to each other (dialogue) sounds originating from any object on the screen, like footsteps and police sirens music that comes from a sound system or orchestra Diegetic [di-a-JE-tic] […]

Filmmaking Sound: The Boom Microphone


Boom microphones have long reigned as the superior choice for filmmaking. Why? A few reasons: In double system sound recording, the microphone works independently from the camera, so that noises made by the camera or operators are not recorded in the sound file. It has a long pole that allows “easy” access to the sound source. […]

Pickup Shots


Pickup Shots (often just called a “pickup”) refers to small shots or scenes that are recorded after principal photography has ended. Pickups are in order either to correct a mistake or to film additional material. There are several kinds of mistakes that would justify a pickup: Equipment malfunction, corrupting file Human error, failing to capture something important A […]

Sound Design in Film

sound design in film

Usually – but not always – filmmakers fall in love with the medium because of the visual aspect of film. Photographers, for instance, sometimes grow up to find themselves interested in cinematography or videography. While this is all fine and dandy, the issue becomes a problem when budding filmmakers neglect sound in their productions. In […]

Movie Review: “Life Itself”

Life Itself Roger Ebert

Why do people go to the movies? Academics like to answer that century-old question with a long, philosophical word of latin origin. Be it catharsis, inspiration, escapism, what have you. The question, though a worthy one, is not really in the mind of the viewers. Sometimes we go to the movies to remember, sometimes to forget. Does it […]

EOC 006: Casting Director Bonnie Gillespie Discusses the Casting Process and Offers Tips for Actors


Hello peeps, and a Happy 2015 to you and yours. For those who noticed my absence, I apologize for this unplanned hiatus; I was moving to a new home, but now I’m back with the latest episode of the Elements of Cinema Podcast, where I interviewed Bonnie Gillespie, a casting director and independent producer living […]