Hi all, I'm relatively new to doing sound design so I was hoping that I could get some critiques from the community :) My background is in musical composition; I actually just got my undergrad degree in piano performance, though I composed a rather large amount, too. I feel that I have strong analytical abilities that help me create sound designs that are very unified to the whole project, but I feel that my economy of expression may need a boost hehe The Mass Effect trailer is my most recent attempt and the short film is from about a month ago. I'm trying to assemble a nice portfolio for grad school.

I'd appreciate any feedback you can give! Thanks!



3 Answers 3


I think it's interesting how I feel about these two samples. I like the ME2 Trailer better than the film but I think the sound design is better in the short film. The sound design for the trailer seems to occur outside of the film environment. Thats the overall feel I get. Its as if I'm seeing this gorgeous imagery but the sound that accompanies it does not feel organhatic to the imagery. You have some muted high pitched clicks for the text that comes across the screen. I would bring that up. I would also re-think the opening sound for the Mass effect trailer. The diagetic sound of static is appropriate. But the non-diagetic sound of what sounds like the sound of smashing a chord on an electric piano is distracting. I would also choose another sound. Something that is not so hot. Pick a cooler sound. The action on screen is pretty serene. So instead of starting out with that harsh chord, select something softer. The sound design at the end of the trailer with the mechanical eye focusing on you should reach its peak with regards to tension. Also, there should be sounds associated with the movement of every one of those small parts.

In re-doing this, first work on the diagetic audio. Get the keystrokes or blips to occur with the text, for example. Then go over it with a selection of nondiagetic sounds to enhance the emotion of the piece. I think you have a good selection with that trailer. I think I'll give that trailer a shot myself. It's been a while since I did a sound replacement trailer and I need to update my reel! I'll share my work as well.

I only share my opinion as a fan of sound design! I still have a lot to learn technically, tho.

  • haha, I just saw the original trailer and now I don't feel as motivated to attempt my own version! It definitely addresses all of my concerns. The audio feel organic. I would ask that you listen to the original again and try again. This time cover the diagetic sounds (Static/graphic glitches, keystrokes/blips and Geth mechanical parts) and then work the nondiagetic stuff that help build tension towards the end. Mar 9, 2011 at 5:58

I am newbie too, but I must say I liked your Mass effect trailer. Very cool sounds. But the ending seemed to me incomplete... Sound was too static and highpitched that gave me feeling that it needs something more. Also you can try to lie some atmos upon sfx sounds.

  • I actually made a conscious decision to not put any atmosphere on most of the sfx regarding the text windows that pop up. I thought of coloring them with almost no reverb like they were part of a 2D HUD. I thought it might make a neat contrast when the Geth shows up at the end and he is colored by the actual reverb of the room. Makes him a more threatening presence. I dunno if the plan was that effective, though haha Maybe I can add a touch more atmosphere to the pop ups, etc. The thin synthesizer harmony at the end was also on purpose. I feel like a low note could be added to beef it up.. Jan 10, 2011 at 17:19
  • But, these are exactly the things I am wondering about! lol I have tons of ideas that I want to implement, but I am unsure if they will actually be effective towards amplifying the thematic content… Or if they will just seem like awkward sound design :) I wanted to have the trailer highlight the darker tones of ME2 (kinda like Empire Strikes Back heh) so I tried to avoid all the expected pounding drums, etc of game trailers. Make it a bit more Solaris/Event Horizon instead of Starship Troopers :) Jan 10, 2011 at 17:26
  • Anyways great. Other things are about variety. even if you know how to implement every action or mood, you have so many ways to do it. I try to figure out by categories like thin/thick warm/cold dark/bright. And then layering does all left. I think after some time you open that trailer and get some more ideas which nuance to add. Most likely =) Jan 10, 2011 at 21:49

ME2 trailer has a very Metal Gear Solid Like feel to it. All synth based. Sounds together had cohesion, but not with the scene shown. Like the previous person posted, needs additional sounds to bring a person into the environment.

Dinner with a movie:
More appropriate sound design, but sound seems to lose cohesion with eachother. No room tone to link the sounds together. Personally, I didn't like the tv reverse vox thing.

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