What is Sound Design?
Sound Design is the art of creating sounds for use in films, television, theater, video gaming, and even the music industry. A Sound Designer is a person who creates an assortment of sound effects for the above-mentioned entertainment industries. The sound designer creates with a sound like a painter does with paint, complex or simple effect to enhance the movie, games, or projects they work on to the art of their own. If you’ve seen Star Wars, then you know what we are talking about if not see the attached video for the power of sound design.
Basic Job Description of a Sound Designer
The Sound Designer is responsible for collecting all the sound effects of a project. The effects can be previously recorded or live specific to that production. The Sound Designer is the artist who has the imagination and artistic talent needed to create the sounds not just record them.
How do you become a Sound Designer?
Sound Designers can attend a qualified school such as Boston University or Full Sail University (we are big fans) from anywhere from 1 year to 4-year master’s degrees in the United States. Potential students should ensure the school’s facilities are current and up to date technically before attending.
Free Online Training for Sound Designers
Ok, we already touched on the qualified secondary education programs for Sound Design, but what if traditional schooling is not possible because of work or finances? There are a bunch of free training courses with a reputable school that can help bridge your knowledge and skills gaps. Coursera has a full list.
Is Sound Design Hard?
Honestly, Sound Design can be described as hard work, but why? First, the hours can be long and not so glamorous. People often think that you are hanging out with rock stars and musicians all the time. This is just not true, you often work behind the scenes with tight time frames and high pressure to provide quality sounds for each project.
In addition, you as the sound designer need to objectively judge your own work and understand that there will be a lot of time spent recording sounds. Reviewing libraries of sounds and ensuring the sounds you have recorded are of technically good quality for use in a professional project. So, yes sound design can be hard, but a fulfilling career if you are prepared for the work.
What Software does Sound Design use?
The primary tool is a Digital Audio Workstation often called a DAW. This is the central program used to create your audio. This software will allow you to layer audio tracks, audio effects, and virtual instruments to make a polished recording. Common DAW’s are Reaper, Cubase (our favorite), Pro Tools, Studio One all great programs. (Call us for more thoughts at 570-371-5800).
Sound Designers also use other software like Audio Editors, such as Wavelabs (Our Favorite), or Adobe Audition which is different than the DAW software and it allows you to edit stereo files.
Some of the other software used in Sound Design like Sample Players, Sample Libraries, and Virtual Instruments software like Native Instruments Kontakt, Eastwest, Spitfire to name a few.
So, is Sound Design a Good Career?
First, let’s start by saying yes sound design can be a good career, but let me preface that by saying it can be good in the sense of being rewarding, and yes you can make money doing what you love, but remember we discussed that it can be hard. So I would have to say be prepared to put the work in to develop your career.
Advice for Sound Designers Beginning a Career
If you are beginning your journey to becoming a sound designer. Start off small, meaning start modestly. There are all kinds of opportunities in this industry when starting out. From Sound Engineering, Voice Over Talent, even sound design for a local theater or a low-budget movie.
Patience, patient, patience, Did I say patience? Rome was not built in a day and your career in Sound Design in video games or a major motion picture theater is unlikely to blossom overnight so do yourself a favor and be patient. It’s very likely you will not be working full-time once you start.
Volunteer, or consider working as a freelancer this will allow you to get involved with many more projects. Many famous people in the industry work as freelance or independent talents such as Ben Burtt, who is the designer who officially created the sound of the lightsaber from Star Wars, R2D2’s beeps, and the heavy breathing of Darth Vader (yeah that guy). Again, if you never saw it see the video below.
Be sure to create and keep a sound library of your own. Compile a library of your own original sound effect recordings, this can be a helpful tool to get into the business.
Keep growing your skills to learn more about recording, editing, game audio, even learn skills from live audio.
Don’t forget to listen to other people’s work for inspiration.
Sound Design Computers
When recording audio, if it’s for a song or if it’s for effects of a film. Having a custom computer that is configured and built for your recording needs will give you the designer an edge. Slick Audio knows how to make computers and laptops for audio recording, studio work, sound design, game audio, and video creation. It’s the most powerful tool in your sound design toolbox.
Sound Design can be a hard but rewarding career that allows you to work on many projects that are limitless in potential, so be creative look at every opportunity as just that an opportunity, and a chance to make your mark to be artistic and make something everyone will fall in love with.