To me, sound design is one of the more exciting parts of mixing a project.  When a project comes across my desk, there are always a few questions I ask:  What shape are the bites in, is the music edited well, does the voice over match the overall tonality of the spot, and most importantly, what am I not hearing?

Sound design is the kind of thing that you only notice when it is wrong.  Like, for instance, if a dog barks and the sound of a freight train comes out of its mouth…

Lets take this clip for example…

This is a clip of a mortar being fired at a truck.  America!

The problem is that to me, the mortar is lacking something.  It just kind of sounds like this:

So, lets browse through the ol’ SFX library and see what we can find…First thing that comes to mind is that there is no low end in this piece.  I’m thinking that the clip has plenty of attack, so lets just add some low end boomers and a mid range explosion.  I’ll take out the camera sound to show you what just the sfx sound like:

Sounds good, but it is lacking context.  So, lets add in the original camera sound to get that attack, and a black powder rifle shot that includes some slap-back echo.  This will give the mortar some oomf and context to make the shot seem like it was recorded with a great array of mics with stellar pre’s:

And there you go, a much better sounding slice of the good ol’ USA!



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