Hi! I was invited to talk about Sound Design in a film festival (focused in cinematography). This is the first time I will be giving a conference like that, and I would like to ask you for some help. Does anybody have any ideas, tips, advice? I believe the assistants won't know much about the technical stuff about sound design, and I really think they won't care, so I would like to have a more "conceptual" approach to sound design, and I would like to show some examples (movie scenes, soundscapes, etc) Any ideas or thoughts? Thanks!

4 Answers 4


I think it's always good to talk about the intention of sound and how the designer went about it. It's great to pull references from the Hollywood sound design superstars, but why not talk about your own work and how you go about your practice. It'll give them a first hand explanation of sound design, and it'll also be a great calling card for you.

Some Hollywood Examples - Ben Burt using a slinky to create whooshes for his sci-fi films. - Ren Kylce talks about how he went about recording the New York ambience for the scene where Morgan Freeman goes to bed before the starting credits of Seven. - Richard King seems to get a featurette about the work in his films. - Raging Bull, Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan have very good writeups and documentaries about their sound design. - Directors Terence Malik and Robert Altman place great emphasis on sound in their films. - I even thought the Muppets was an excellent example of how Foley and sfx blurred the lines of 'reality' for the audience.

I love talking about films and their sound design, so pop me an email if you need more examples or something more specific.


Hi Manuel,

Perhaps this depends on how experienced you expect your audience to be, but as the conference is focused on cinematography, your approach could be trying to engage your audience with ideas which cross over to their practice. I've often thought that if I ever need to speak in front of a group of directors about sound design I'd base my talk on Designing a movie for sound by Randy Thom. Getting them excited about sound, and how considering it can potentially enhance their own work (and the film as a whole) would be a big achievement.


I agree with Mark, I think this is a great opportunity to speak directly to the cinematographers and talk about how sound can help and affect their work. A lot of directors and DPs that I have worked with have heard the "sound is 50-80% of the final film" quote, but they don't know what that really means. Therefore, I would say a good starting place is to talk about the communication in pre-production and production that it takes to get a good sounding movie in post, and the opportunities that can arise when the sound team has a voice during storyboarding.

Best of luck! ~Matt


Don't know if you have the time and money to grab it but Micheal Chion's 'Audio-Vision' is brilliant. I read it in my first year of uni and it explains the relationship between what we see and hear in a descriptive, interesting and easy to follow way. It also goes into the diagetic, non-diagetic paradigm and how this relates to the Mise-en-scène.

£7.80 from amazon.


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