Film School Friday – What is sound design?

Sound Design Episode Summary

In this episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill talk about sound design and why you should be thinking about it.

Sound Design Episode Notes

Josh Yeo definitely made it YouTube famous, but what is sound design? In this weeks episode of Film School Friday we talk cover the basics of sound design and Bill offers a few tips.

“Do you wanna do a crossfade cut here?” – Bill Cornelius

Sound Design Links

Get In Touch

Follow In Focus Podcast and our hosts on Instagram: @infocuspod, @austinallen, and @bill.cornelius.

Media and other inquiries, please email

Show Less

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Sound Design Transcript

Corey (00:00):

Welcome to film school Friday. I’m Corey.

Bill (00:14):

I’m bill.

Corey (00:15):

And together we host the InFocus podcast. Film School Friday is our special weekly episode where I get to quiz bill to see how much knowledge he’s retained from his extensive years in film school. I say extensive. I say that like, like you repeated a few years.

Bill (00:32):

Yeah. So it wasn’t a four-year degree. It was a 15 year degree.

Corey (00:35):

Yeah, No, no, you did good. I can see you got out in time. Yeah. I can see the bachelors degree hanging on the wall behind you right now. Like it. Great job. Now, maybe that did take you more than four. I don’t know.

Bill (00:50):

I was still young and dumb when I graduated. If that tells you anything.

Corey (00:55):

That’s great. All right. In this week’s episode, we’re talking about something that is probably way more important than many people think and that’s sound design. So bill, what is sound design?

Bill (01:08):

Sound design is literally everything you hear when it comes to a film or video, whatever you might be watching. Cause it’s it’s film is not just a visual experience. It is also an audio experience. And you know, I would say audio is just as important as your visuals. They’re they’re symbiotic. They should be treated with the same amount of care and, and that’s everything from, you know, music from sound effects to ambient sound to dialogue you name it, anything that travels through your ears, even at a subconscious level that you may not even be aware that you’re hearing is all part of sound design and it’s very important.

Corey (01:55):

Okay. So let’s talk about that subconscious thing there for a second, because at a conscious level, when you visually see a cut in whatever, you’re watching like a cut from one angle to the next or from one scene to the next, like you’re conscious of that. But then that sound design at that same moment in that cut. Maybe some people don’t always recognize right away, but subconsciously there’s probably something there. If the sound design is off, right?

Bill (02:22):

Yes. And I, I will go ahead and say that most audience, most people in the audience don’t read a cut the same way that like you and I might like we’re, we’re going to see when a cut happens. When an angle change occurs, things like that. Cause our brains are trained to, to read that your regular average movie going person, they’re not going to think about a cut. They’re not even going to notice it. They’re going to be engrossed in the visuals or the performance or whatever it might be. If the sound design is bad between cuts. And this is, this is a thing I see happen on an epidemic, an indie film. I feel like it happens in a lot of local news and things like that. It’s just not having a smooth transition with your audio from cut to cut. And when you don’t suddenly the audience notices the cut. They don’t know why they noticed the cut. They just know that they’ve noticed the edit and you don’t want them to notice the edit. You want them to be completely engrossed in whatever it is they’re watching. You don’t want to take them out of it for any reason. And that can be something as small as, as white noise, ambient noise. If there’s a hard cut of ambient noise between two different cuts, your audience is going to know it. They won’t know why, again, they won’t understand it. They won’t be able to point it out to you, but something’s going to feel off.

Corey (03:47):

Okay. All right. Interesting. So if maybe someone new into filmmaking or content creation, if there was one piece of advice you could give around sound design, what would that be?

Bill (03:59):

Please crossfade your audio cuts? Crossfade your cut. I mean, that is the most basic thing you can do. I, I’m not a sound designer. I I’m a functional post sound person, but at the very basic level, at the basic minimum, please, when you do a cut and there’s an audio cut in there too, just, just drop a crossfade on there and let it, let it smoothly transition into that next cut.

Corey (04:23):

Smooth. Yeah. Keep it smooth. Okay. I like that. That’s good. That’s good. Now we go to the outro.

Bill (04:30):

Do you want to do a crossfade cut here

Corey (04:33):

We totally should. I’ll happen. I will. I’ll have to. All right. That’ll that’ll about do it for film school Friday. Bill thank you so much for all your knowledge and just a reminder for you and everyone else out there. Please feed your crew.

Bill (04:49):

And crossfade yourcuts and crossfader cuts audio cuts.

Corey (04:53):

And we’ll talk to you next time.

Bill (04:55):

See ya.

Corey (04:58):

We know you have plenty of podcast options and we appreciate you choosing us. Join us next week to hear me put bill to the test. Once again, check us out And if you like what you heard today, go ahead and subscribe. We’ll be here when you get back.