Sound usage within film, animation and games



Sound is not often considered to be the most important aspect of any media product, however, we rely on it heavily to bring about meaning to what we’re watching or playing. The film industry invests a lot of money towards sound production in order to give the best possible experience to the viewer, for example, The Lord of the Rings trilogy invested several million dollars towards the sound design, this includes the original orchestral pieces as well as the sound effects. According to ‘The Hobbit – Behind The Sound & Music’ (2015), the majority of the sounds recorded for the beasts are mixed from different animal noises such as donkeys and lions, these are cut and layered on top of each other to achieve the desirable sound. The sound designers would have to make constant trips to capture their desired sounds, which can be a tedious process. The music of film is also a very important aspect that introduces a lot of meaning to the certain genre presented, for example, the light and laid back track of Hobbiton in The Lord of the Rings trilogy allows the viewer to understand the lifestyle of the characters presented on a much higher level, without even hearing or seeing anything. Another example of sound in film would be the similar tracks within the horror genre, designed to be jarring and uncomfortable. A lot of horror films will play to our instinctive low guard when a light or innocent sound is played, it can’t be helped that we would be surprised when a threatening or uncomfortable sound follows, sending a quick surge of adrenaline through our bodies. (How to Make Music Sound Scary, 2016)


Sound in animation is typically taken in a reverse order to film, having the voice actors record before the animation is made and the effects are followed after. In the case of the Monty Python Animations, the majority of the sound was made with the mouth, there were several reasons for this, the main animator Terry Gilliam believed that making sounds himself came out better on television at the time. This type of sound could add a certain comedic effect as well that regular sound could not achieve. Sound within animation can be rather awkward to achieve, especially in children’s cartoons. According to Terry Gilliam he sound that is produced cannot be too realistic as it wouldn’t fit into the theme of the animation, this means a lot of sound designers will use unconventional methods to put forward a less organic sound. Despite having to potentially be more creative with their sounds, this could make the job easier.


The most important aspect of video games that most developers strive to achieve is a sense of immersion. The sound within games has to be near perfect to keep the player interested, this even more important when a big feature of a game is the environment, this means that the sounds must match what is going on around the player. In the case of Arma 2, the sound designers used a sound clip of large crashing waves against visually calm waters, although a small detail this could annoy the player. The tracks that games use are very similar to that of film, these will tell a story themselves or inform the player of what they are doing, for example within games such as The Witcher, the soundtrack will change to something more fast paced to inform the player that they are in combat. A lot of games within the fantasy or horror genre include creatures that might not exist within real life, this means that the sounds have to be created. In the game Deadspace, a sound developer needed to record most of the sounds from his voice, which would then be altered to sound like a monster. (Working In Games, 2015)


The equipment needed to make the sound for a film, animation or game isn’t just limited to microphones or computers, studios will often find random objects to mix into what will be the actual sound effect. In the case of pinewood studios, the crew will have access to an entire room dedicated to making effects, this includes various floors of gravel, rocks, wood and foliage, as well as props spread around the area. There are quite a few different types of microphone that one could use within filming. Typically, on camera microphones are not suitable for filming, as you would need to be close for the mic to pick up anything effectively or clearly. Lavalier microphones are used on occasion by amateur filmmakers as a cheap way to record dialog on set, these will clip to the clothing and record through a long cable to a phone or camera. Directional microphones work by recording from the front and blocking any sound from any other direction, these can be handy in recording sound effects, especially in recording exterior sound, with the help of a windshield. (Arjunan Abhijith, 2016) Condenser microphones are some of the most used at this time, as they have the capacity to record high quality sounds even at a distance, this does, however, make them sensitive to both physical shock and the wind, so these microphones are typically used indoors for a studio. There are many more types of microphones that fit into the Omnidirectional and Unidirectional category, all built for their specific environments.


As mentioned earlier, most sounds come out imperfect and need to be edited in order to sound right for the job, this is where sound editing software comes in. Programs like FL Studio, Logic X Pro or PreSonus Studio One are used widely by professionals in order to cut up sound files and edit as well as mix them to sound completely different. This software proves to be invaluable to anyone seeking to create a decent variety of sound for their product.


To conclude, sound usage within Film, animation, and games is all rather similar, especially with the big titles. Although some situations require the process of making sound to be different, they all seem to use similar equipment and techniques within creating the sounds for their product.




Arjunan, Abhijith. “10 Best Audio Editing Software 2016 (Free And Paid)”. Beebom.

N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.


Barrance, Tom. “Sound Equipment For Film – Learn About Film”. Learn about film.

N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.


“How To Make Music Sound Scary”. YouTube.                                                             N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.


“Sound For Animation Documentary”. YouTube.

N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.


“Terry Gilliam Explains Monty Python Animations”. YouTube.

N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.


“The Hobbit – Behind The Sound & Music”. YouTube. N.p., 2017.

Web. 27 Jan. 2017.


“The Importance Of Sound In Video Games”. YouTube.

N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.


“Working In Games: Sound Design At Pinewood Studios”. YouTube.

N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.



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