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3 Winning Formulas for Using Sound Effects in Film & Video

Danny Greer

Discover how using sound effects in your project can effectively reinforce action.  We’ve got 3 sound effect tips every filmmaker, video producer and sound pro should know!

The sound of a trigger being cocked, the gentle rhythm of rain hitting a metal roof, a loud explosion in the distance, footsteps in a house that’s supposed to be empty – all of these have been used with great effect by filmmakers for many decades.  Sound effects in film are vital to effectively conveying and enhancing on-screen action.

When choosing sound effects to include in your film, consider the following:

  1. Accuracy is not the most important factor – This might sound odd, but it has long been a convention recognized by sound effects experts.  For example, various firearms make vastly different noises, depending on the type of gun, the caliber, the direction it’s fired in and the type of ammunition being used.  However, most members of the audience will be unaware of this.  Use the sound effect that the average layperson will most associate with the action being shown or implied.
  2. Sound effects communicate more than actions – They can be just as important as music in setting the mood for a particular scene.  For example, consider how many tones can be conveyed by the noise of a shutting door.  A soft “click” indicates that the person entering is intent on being stealth.  This can induce a feeling of suspense.  On the other hand, a loud slamming instantly creates tension in the viewer’s mind, as the person entering is expressing strongly negative emotions.
  3. Sound effects obey the “less is more” principle, unless the intent is comic – A classic example of this is how the Three Stooges comedy team used loud and exaggerated sounds in their short films.  This is wonderful if xyou’re producing slapstick comedy.  If you’re trying to convey a serious tone, however, nothing will ruin it an overindulgence in audio effects.

Whatever sound effects you need for your film, video or television show, Premiumbeat.com can help.  Check out our extensive library and let us know if you need help choosing high quality sound effects for your next project!