Make Pictures Come To Life With Sound

By Nick Peck

If you’ve been to the movies lately, you’ve probably seen the name of a sound designer in the credits along with the names of the composer and cinematographer. You’re also likely to find a sound designer as part of the production team for every computer and video game you come across, not to mention theatrical productions, Web sites, and even radio dramas. But exactly what is a sound designer, and when did that position reach its current status?

Sound design is as old as talking movies, but it really became a serious full-time endeavor when the use of sound was brought to new heights in films such as Apocalypse Now and Star Wars. Since the mid-1970s, sound design has become an essential part of most major films as well as the majority of computer and video games.

Today, sound-design work is available for virtually every form of visual entertainment. Large game companies often have junior sound-assistant openings that can lead to more senior positions with greater responsibility. Film post-production houses often hire interns, giving them the chance to learn while making coffee and labeling tapes. Freelance studios occasionally have roles for junior and senior sound designers to help with Web and game projects.

The art of sound design has provided fine careers for many musicians who are not interested in traditional job opportunities in music but love audio production and the creativity of the sonic arts. It’s a booming profession that requires a combination of skill, patience, and hard work; professional sound designers are highly sought after and can command good fees.

Reprinted with permission from Magazine, March, 2001
© 2001, Intertec Publishing, A Primedia Company All Rights Reserved.

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