One of the secrets for creating an immersive world in a film is to create a realistic soundscape to support the imagery. In this project, we explore one aspect of sound design: composing a scavenged soundtrack by sampling the world around you.

From Zack Stern’s article “Action Movie Effects” in Make: Volume 09:

Good audio is your secret sauce for good video. Follow these tips to record convincing effects and clear dialogue.

  • If shooting on location, record several minutes of ambient sound. Run this softly under the edited sequence to mask any strange audio edits you get from the background audio’s abruptly changing behind the video edits. This is especially crucial when you shoot in 2 locations but try to pass them off as the same place.
  • Record different sound effects for repeated actions. If your movie has a lot of punching, get many unique punch sounds; the audience will catch on if you recycle the same loop.
  • Use your video camera to record audio, but plug in an external microphone. Even a cheap mic that you can position near your audio source will work better than your camera’s on-board microphone; dialogue will be clearer, and it won’t pick up zoom-motor sounds. A separate DAT recorder or other fancy audio device is useful, but not required.
  • Always shoot with headphones, and monitor the sound by keeping an eye on your camera’s on-board meters, if it has any.
  • Experiment to make good sound effects. Your best tools are all around you.

Look for more ideas here: The Guide To Sound Effects