Sounds Good! Sound For Film And Video

Intro from Jay Allison: Andrew Norton is back with another installment of his pseudo-archival series, "Sounds Good!". These are the best fake Canadian instructional videos about sound recording in the world. This episode covers recording sound for film, and reminds us that "movies were originally just books." We hear about George Orwell's "Citizen Kane" and creating the film's "Sound Trek." We learn how to record in a green suit so you can be removed from the picture in post production, along with safety tips like, "Never point your microphone directly toward children or animals". This is a classic.

(TRANSOM COMPANION FEATURE: For those seeking sounder sound advice, use this link instead. It goes to Ben Shapiro's tips about how filmmakers can dive into radio, about which skills are transferrable and which you'll need to learn. Some storytellers think with their eyes, some with their ears. Ben's piece helps make the translation.)

“Sounds Good!” Is Back

We dug deep into the archives (not really) and unearthed another episode of the classic audio education series — “Sounds Good!” This episode goes Hollywood and delves into recording sound for film and video. You’ll learn the finer points of dealing with the talent on set, accounting for the shift in the time-space continuum at different places on planet Earth, the film-friendly version of the popular “bobsled technique” and much more.

Of course, it’s all totally fake and done solely for our own strange amusement.

So, I’d be remiss not to also include some of my favorite REAL sound-for-film-or-video tutorials. Because in trying to go from radio to film I’ve made a lot of mistakes and have had to do a lot of my own research along the way. Here’s some videos that will point you in the right direction. For real.

Filmmaking Sound Basics

Look, if you’ve come to you probably know how to record for radio — or you’re learning. Those basic rules apply to sound for film or video. Turn off the AC. Mic close. Wear headphones. But it’s shocking how often people seem to forget those rules when they go to make a video — myself included. Or sometimes you know the rules but can’t quite figure out how to translate them to the video world. This video is a great crash course with some very good practical tips for DIY filmmakers.

7 Ways to hide a Lavalier Microphone

My nerdy-audio-pet peeve is when lavs mics are visible in videos. Lavs are those little wireless mics you clip onto people. This video uses just the right mix of practicality, demonstrations and a guy who looks like Gunther from the TV sitcom Friends. For these reasons, it’s one of my very favorite audio tip videos.

The History of Sound At The Movies

If you want to lose an entire afternoon to learning about all the elements that go into filmmaking this whole Filmmaker IQ YouTube channel is where that can happen. This video is the start of a small mini-series they made about sound in film. After this episode, they go into the science of sound, use of sound effects in films, and finally how to apply these skills to your own filmmaking. Check out this episode and then keep watching. You’ll know you’ve seen enough when you get to the point where whenever you close your eyes, you see this guy’s red shirt floating in front of you.

The Marvel Symphonic Universe

Every “Frame a Painting” is kind of like a video podcast series. They’re mini case studies of how great films work. This particular episode is about musical choices and how something called “temp music” is one of the reasons scoring has become so homogenous in Hollywood blockbusters.

It’s interesting to think about how much radio producers can crib from filmmakers and vice-versa when it comes to music. At least that’s the response I plan on using in the case of a tax auditor asking about writing off movie tickets.


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  • Julia Barton



    Great work, Andrew! I needed a good cry…

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