What are Sound Effects in Film?

Are you interested in the sound effects that you hear in your favorite films? Wonder who makes these sounds? The sound designer for films is the person that creates these innovative sounds that capture the audience’s attention. So, what does a sound designer do?

What Does a Sound Designer Do?

A sound designer has a working knowledge of different tools and equipment, as well as techniques for shaping sound. While all of this is happening, this sound designer must continuously keep the audience in mind and keep each individual segment of the sound department balanced.

Sound Design in Film

Some music producers work in sound design within the film industry. The average consumer doesn’t realize just how much production goes into every second of the films they’re watching. In this case, sound designers find the right mix to grab the audience’s attention and hold it long enough to get them immersed in the action and adventure.

In film production, every sound that goes into the dialogue, foley, score, ambiance, and every other thing you hear while watching your favorite film is perfected by the sound designer. Without this critical role, sound design in movies would not be as captivating, since sound is such a central part of what makes audiovisual media so immersive.

What Sound Effects Do Sound Designer Use?

There are many types of sound effects in film. They include spot effects, pre-recorded effects, and Foley to name a few.

Spot Effects

These are sounds that specifically represent one thing happening in the movie. When a wine glass shatters, someone crashes a car, or a ship’s masthead cracks, a spot effect is used at the moment of the event on screen. This is opposed to background noises and ambiance, such as crowd murmur or ocean waves.

Pre-Recorded Effects

Most sound designers take a high level of pride in their work, carefully crafting each audio element that they’re responsible for. But it’s not always necessary to hand-tailor every sound effect in a film’s production, and it’s not prudent to do so when working on a tight budget or a limited time schedule. In those situations, sounds that have been pre-recorded are often perfectly capable of filling the need. It’s part of the role of sound designers to either pick from royalty-free sounds that anyone can use or access the exclusive library of effects that a movie franchise has already established.


One of the most interesting and varied types of work in the sound effects world is Foley, a special form of post-production work. There are many instances in filmmaking when the original onset sounds can’t be used for the final film, be it because they were too dull and quiet or there were unwanted background noises interfering with the sounds. This means that the effects must be added in post, but it’s not always a tenable solution to simply copy and paste a generic effect into the right place, particularly with noises associated with movement.

That’s where a special division of the sound design team comes in: the Foley artists. Their job is to create the sounds manually using specialized tools as well as simple everyday objects. And oftentimes, the object producing the effect that fits perfectly into the soundscape of the movie is not at all what you would expect. It’s up to these Foley artists to not only know which tools to use but to also have impeccable timing in their “performance” with these tools as they carefully follow the action of the movie, making sure every clink and rustle matches perfectly with, say, an armored soldier marching into battle.

How Do You Become a Sound Designer?

If you have the love of audio and film, then becoming a sound designer may be the right career path for you. A great way to become a sound designer is by attending University of Silicon Valley’s Bachelor of Science in Digital Audio Technology program.

Proper Training at University of Silicon Valley

As a sound designer, you will craft sound in audiovisual presentations and films with expert detail. However, it takes more than just a love of sound design to break into the industry. To start working in the industry, you need proper training, and that can be found at University of Silicon Valley.

Industry Experienced Instructors

With industry experienced instructors that have worked a film studios and animation companies, you learn the knowledge and build the skills to become a sound designer. The smaller class sizes we offer allow you to get personal attention from instructors. No one is left behind at University of Silicon Valley.

Career Services

We also offer career services to help match graduates with employers in Silicon Valley. Whether you want to work at DreamWorks or start at an indie film studio, your expertise will be highly sought-after.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what sound effects are in film, it is time to learn more about University of Silicon Valley’s digital audio technology program. Start working in the audio or film industry and follow your dreams. The sky’s the limit.

Want to Learn More?

The Bachelor of Science in Digital Audio Technology introduces students to the broad discipline of music and audio production, from music composition and recording through to digital sound design and interactive audio applications. This highly technical and hands-on program covers principles of sound synthesis, music and acoustics, and applies that theory in collaborative and individual recording and production projects. Projects are often interdisciplinary, with teams of students from different programs at University of Silicon Valley working on realistic productions for audio and screen-based projects, in linear and interactive media.

University of Silicon Valley is uniquely poised to offer a meaningful and valuable education for 21st century students. We believe in an education that directly correlates with the work you’ll be doing after you graduate. Interested in learning more? Contact Us today.

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