The Power of Sound in Video

November 1, 2021
LA Video Team Talks Sound

I recently heard a Hollywood director say he had come to realize that audiences will forgive bad visuals, low end camera footage, etc. But what they don’t forgive is bad audio or sound.

Oh how true. Audio can destroy a project for sure. But good sound can enhance a video or film and take it to the next level. Here are some of our thoughts on how to think about audio in your next project. And for a little more on our thoughts about audio check out a previous blog we wrote here.

Make it a priority

Let’s face it. A bunch of the ideal things we want in any work we do may just not happen or come to fruition. But certain things should be non-negotiable. That’s the mindset we encourage in getting good sound quality. Particularly in any spoken word. With marketing videos for instance, people will click away much quicker if they can’t understand or hear you clearly (on any device!) And they will most likely not stay long if the quality is poor.

So make it a priority!

Let music enhance the story or content

Music signals things. In film, it can signal suspense or anger or joy. Music can signal the presence of a character when a music theme is attached to them or simply tell us what the intent of the scene is. It’s pretty powerful.

In your company’s videos it can be used much like this. Music can bring pieces together, bring separation of parts, queue a change up or logo intro/CTA (“Call to Action”). And it can provide the overall vibe you are going for, whether subtle or overt.

So let’s get some music in there where appropriate.

For musicians, you may be ambitious enough or find it lots of fun to create your own score. But for most there are myriad options for music/scoring with licenses ready to go for even paid ads.

(Art-list.io is one of many amazing resources available for fully licensed music… and sfx…)

Don’t forget the power of SFX

Speaking of adding stuff. We often forget in our commercial work or marketing videos about the amazing enhancement that is sound effects (or SFX).

Our team does explainer videos utilizing animation and motion graphics. Recently we’ve been in quite a few of these projects. And the addition of SFX really does bring the pieces altogether. It tells so much that otherwise you just wouldn’t ‘get’ necessarily.

It could be subtle transition sounds like ‘whooshes’ or in your face ‘booms’ or more ambience like the rustling of leaves and birds chirping. It’s kind of fun to play around with these in post. And it’s definitely amazing what the outcome can be.

Mix it down and level up!

Mixing sound often is one of the final (if not last) steps in any video or film. Hiring a sound mixer to take your project to the next level in its audio and soundtrack is ideal for any project you can afford it – it would be well worth it!

But you too can do some basic things if you’re in DYI mode and willing to learn and try your hand at it.

A few quick pointers would be to:

  • Check to make sure music or SFX are not overpowering any spoken word
  • Add a master channel and add a master EQ and/or a little compression to give it that final finished and ‘leveled’ sound
  • Listen to your mix on headphones, in your car, and any other speakers you know well to hear it in various settings and on various types of devices. The goal here would be to make sure it “works” in all those places.
  • Let someone else you trust hear it and give you feedback.