The Importance of Sound, Part III – The Impact of Sound

Suggested Soundtrack for this blog: Dead Poetic’s Paralytic

In the previous blog, I gave you a brief overview of layers. Now I want to put that information to use and show you what happens when we eliminate certain layers. I’m going to show you three versions of the exact same video – no change whatsoever to the visuals, but the audio will be very different on all three. If you’re willing, please comment below and share which version is your favorite, least favorite and why.

 VERSION 01: THE STANDARD – NARRATION + MUSIC

 

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version 1.png(PINK – NARRATION, GREEN - MUSIC)

For many of our projects, this is the typical setup. Narration + Music. In many cases, this is all that’s needed – and in some cases, it’s the best option. For example, if your video features a lot of b-roll (cover footage) of business professionals talking around a conference table, using the sound of that conversation underneath the narration can be very distracting and can compete for the viewers’ attention.

 

VERSION 02: THE SOUND – NARRATION + SFX

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version 2.png  (PINK – NARRATION, YELLOW – SOUND EFFECTS)

Eliminating the music from a video has become somewhat trendy recently – and perhaps for a good reason. Music can enhance an experience for one individual but then ruin the experience for another. Good music is very subjective. Music can also date a project. Around 2012, just about every video that was produced had whistling, ukulele, clapping, stomping or a combination of those elements. I for one am really happy that trend has faded. An argument could be made that given the right project, removing the music might even make the video more timeless. But as you can see, it is clearly a different experience watching in this format.

 

 VERSION 03: THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE – NARRATION + SFX + MUSIC

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version 3.png(PINK – NARRATION, YELLOW – SOUND EFFECTS, GREEN - MUSIC)

Finally, here’s the version with all audio components – narration, sound effects, and music. Hear a difference from VERSION 01? I was very intentional with the sound design on this piece to make sure that it worked without music as well. In fact, a good chunk of time was dedicated to editing without any music to make sure every detail was covered.

Spending the extra time recording sound effects on a shoot and working on sound design in the suite does bring up the cost on a project but by how much? I would argue that the additional investment is pretty minimal when looking at the entire scope of the project. In the next part of this blog series, I will go over the investment in audio.

Finally, we’d love your feedback on these three versions. Which is your favorite and why? 

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Matt Bjur

Matt's been slicing videos with MCG since 2005. His domain is the edit suite, where he plies his trade with grace and fury. An editor and motion graphics designer that also shoots, Matt is a versatile video professional.