It's no surprise that as producers who live in an image based culture we often think first about the visual elements in our media design and only later in the production cycle give attention to audio.

Sound should not be thought of as a second cousin to the visual in the design process. It is equally important to consider both from the start. There is much we can learn from the sound designer who has become an increasingly important member of the film, game, and multimedia design team.

Sound design is the process of creating the swish of a light saber, altering the rich voice of James Earl Jone's voice into that of Darth Vader's menacing sound,, and all those other wonderful sounds we have come to expect from films like Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and every other sonic experience we have in the theater today that comes from the imagination of the sound designer.

The art of sound design is the right choice for those interested in audio for media. It's a booming profession that requires a combination of skill, patience, and hard work; professional sound designers are highly sought after and can command good fees.

Here is online material to help you learn more about the role of the sound designer and what it takes to find a position in this professional field.

Nick Peck's Sound By Design Make Pictures Come To Life With Sound is an incredible introduction to sound design. He notes that "We've probably seen the name of a sound designer in the movie credits along with the names of the composer and cinematographer, or as part of the production team for computer and video games, theatrical productions, Web sites, and even radio dramas. But exactly what is a sound designer, and when did that position reach its current status?"

Interviews with Sound Designers:

  • Darryl Duncan - sound designer for games - an exciting and growing field.
  • Jeff Largent a sound designer for Braveheart discusses how to be a sound designer.
  • Ben Burtt - sound designer for Star Wars.
  • Steve Munro - sound designer for The Sweet Hereafter and Last Night.

References:

Six excellent online articles by Randy Thom (Apocalypse Now) regarding sound design and sound issues in media.

Design of Star Wars. Compiled by Sven E Carlsson looks at the work of sound designer Ben Burtt. The site provides details of how the sounds were constructed and online audio examples.

New History Music and Sound Design. David Rosenberg's sound design production studios in NY. Many online examples of his work make this an interesting site to see and hear.