I'm curious to where I can find good visual source material to practice sound design on and maybe get a sound reel out of it to show off later?

Currently I have composed music to an image. I've done a few sound reels which are purely audio and are just me doing random sounds that I've made from scratch...

...I've looked at sites such as GameTrailers.com which is good for some things, but not ideal. I've also just purchased the films Baraka / Chronos and Koyaanisqatsi / Powaqqatsi as I remember seeing these a while back and thought they'd be good to do sound too...

But I'm curious to know if there is any other visual sources that are easily obtainable to practice sound design. I need 'projects' to work on to be most productive.

8 Answers 8


For a narrative context (I guess I mean film), you could look on an archive website such as www.archive.org, especialy their open source movies . Also, there must be some websites or forums where animators or filmmakers need sound design done. You could also approach some film schools in your area or online, and offer your services as a sound designer. There are always more productions being made then sound designers available (we're like hot bread in film school). I know lots of people use existing movies to do sound to and then put them on their real. Check out this video, where Csaba did just that, it got lots of attention:


For non-narrative sound design (as in designing sounds), I'm sure you could use some of the awesome slow-motion footage going around. I've been wanting to do that forever now, but never did... Blastwave FX just had a competition using some slow-mo.


  • that Blastwave vid did my head in, but in a good way. I'd heartily recommend finding the original pack of sounds (and instructions) of the competition and trying to create the sound mix to the clip.
    – georgi
    Commented Mar 8, 2010 at 22:44
  • Yeah, that Blastwave clip was a hard one. The clips range from totally left-field to kind of painfully clichéd and obvious. It was a very good challenge. Commented Mar 9, 2010 at 0:19

In game trailers and gameplay stuff you also can find a lot of material. On gameplays you'll practice more the sound effects creation, and in a trailer/cinematic/animation you could practice also the storytelling and deal with sound in a story or sequence.

You could find animations from schools portfolios or channels in Vimeo with a lot of content of animations. Just download them and practice with it. If you can rip an animation or film from a DVD and re-design the sound, is great too.

Film trailers could be good too. They have a lot of cuts and you could practice that kind of "progression". Another way to practice sound (in a conceptual way) would be on sites such as http://videohive.net and make sound to transitions, motion graphics, tittles, etc.

Think also to TV commercials, TV shows and series, etc. That could help you to re-design different types of visual sources and styles. Think about what kind of sound or story you want to deal with.

Always try to give your unique factor on each re-design, and don't listen to the material if it's possible. That would help to have a clean view about the sound you're gonna do and don't be influenced by the original work.

Finally... If you want to show your work, make sure you haven't legal problems for showing it, and if the material have any rights, remember to give credit to the original creators.

  • Thanks for the videohive.net site. I'm thinking with this and stuff from the artbeats.com site I could put together my own video of different things and then piece music and sounds to that. Make something unique. I'm liking this idea. Commented Mar 10, 2010 at 9:53

My mind went straight to Archive.org, as Andrew already mentioned. But there was a specific Public Domain collection; I had to dig in my memory and bookmarks to find it.

Check out the Prelinger Archives. There is so much ridiculous footage here. You don't have to look far to find ridiculously dated, but captivating footage.


There are many stock footage websites out there giving away free footage on daily or weekly basis.

For example; http://www.artbeats.com/ is one of them. I'm sure you'll come across many others when you google it.

  • That artbeats.com site is a good one. Already have two very high quality free stock videos from their mailing list. Thanks! Commented Mar 10, 2010 at 9:51

just read a post on video forums in which a musician in a similar situation asked filmmakers for short pieces they've produced to practice scoring to .. and the community seemed quite responsive ... just make some requests on film forums and you'll find some takers who will give you clips to work to


Ripping a cutscene from a game, and re-doing the sound for that can be a lot of fun.


Also, try Psst! Pass It On. Awesome animation series. Just be careful to mention that it's your demo work etc etc as all the owrks there a copyrighted....

So, Some good links:




Plenty footage there...



I recommend if you got the time, to do sound design for mods in video games. There are plenty of video games that allow mods to be made, replacing their sound assets with your own. I do that plenty of times to teach myself new ways of doing sound designs not to mention learning how audio engines can work and be manipulated.

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