I'm a sound designer fresh from Univerity and I've been asked to produce sound effects for a independent film. The strange thing is that I've been given audio samples of the effects required where all sequences of SFX (cut out from exixting movies like Batman Begins) are synchronized to the picture. But I will not be provided with the picture itself. I can easily recreate the required sounds using my own recordings and synchronize them to the audio samples but it doesn't leave much room for creativity. Did any one of you encountered a similar problem at the begining of your designing carier? Should I simply demand to see the scenes I'm designing for or just do it quick and simple?

4 Answers 4


It depends on what the director's after, willing to supply you, and what you're happiest working with. I personally would request seeing the video as it would allow for me to work a lot more accurately and efficiently. Just supplying SFX based on examples you've been given could be a little 'robotic' and there's a high chance that they could seem unnatural if not specifically designed/altered to tailor them to that particular film. But if you're just supplying samples does this mean there's a seperate SD who'll be implementing them? If so you won't have to worry about directionality etc. But still spatial factors etc will still need to be taken into consideration to some extent so seeing what you're designing for would be very useful.

Of course, if another SD will be altering the effects you supply then it's not so important to get them 'spot on' as it's that SD's job to make them fit in the piece. But if you're creating bespoke SFX then you might as well get them as close as possible in the first place. So I'd ask to see them, and explain that it'd make for a better result if you do. If they don't want to / can't send you the footage then just do the best you can from what you've got!

Good luck!


What is your role? it seems like you've been asked to just source/find sound effects.

You're not really designing for the film. You cannot place the sound in any environment and fit it to dialogue.


You could design from the script or just ask to see some rushes and refine the fx later on down the line


Thank you all for the answers. Yes, at the moment it seems I'm only looking for SFX to fit to several scenes. The idea is though that I am the 'designated' person to deal with the sound design for this film. I will be mixing it at the end of the year. This project started in a wery unusual way and the director doesn't seem to care how it's done. But with your help I realized I'll have the chance to adjust my SFX on a later stage.

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