These sound effect tips will make your film more believable

The ability to add sound effects gives you immense control over your projects. They allow you to craft your film’s reality. You need to use them and you need to use them right.

So how do you make or pick the best sound effects for your film and make it all work? In our article “How to Properly Use Sound Effects to Enrich Your Next Video” we talk about the usage of sound effects in film and new ways for you to think about how to integrate them into your films. Often times, it’s a battle between either a more practical or fantastical approach to sound effects. Below, we will talk about the benefits of both and which one you should prioritize.

Should you pick sound effect for realism or entertainment?

In the article, we point out that though space is a vacuum and doesn’t emit sound, sci-fi films still portray sound out in space, like a ship blasting into hyperspace. Art doesn’t have to mimic life. The final product just needs to convey the story you want to tell effectively.

Star War's Millennium Falcom hyperdrive scene
Though not a realistic sound, who doesn’t love the Millennium Falcom’s hyperdrive sound effects? Image courtesy

We have accepted certain sounds in films as realistic because of decades of film crafting. For instance, when someone is punched in an action flick, we hear a loud crack. Punches don’t sound like that in real life, but audiences don’t even bat an eye when they hear it in a film. We take a lot of it for granted, but you can take a commonly overlooked sound effect and make it your own, too.

With the right sound effects, you can ground fantasy stories in reality

You can work sound into your film so well that it can ground fantasy into reality. Take a look at the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Though filled with wizards, elves and goblins, it strangely feels like a realistic and grounded experience. The sets were extremely detailed and blended with CGI; that is true. But also, the sound and scoring of the film were just as tangible and believable.

"Lord of the Rings" screen shot
The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy grounded itself in realism with amazing sound production. Image courtesy

You should always pick what is best for your film. Pick what fits the mood and setting of your video. If it feels right, then you should probably use it.

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Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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