Audio: Don’t Neglect It!

As many of you know, I am a producer mostly. My other “secondary” function is as an editor. I have quite a bit of training on Adobe products such as Premiere Pro and After Effects. And I am a special effects guru of sorts. If I don’t know how to do it, I’ll figure it out… Usually.

So, when I watch other indie filmmakers out there making their products, I sometimes wonder how they can make something that looks okay or pretty good sound so horrible. You see, I believe in the thinking “Audio is 70% of a movie”. I have always thought that way. If you were to turn off the sound during a movie, you would need to rely completely on what you see in all of the the visuals. This doesn’t promote enough of anything to make you realize what is happening. But, should you remove the visual and just leave the sound running, you can very quickly realize what is happening and might even be able to imagine the movie in your mind. (I suggest you try this sometime.)

So, when I see a movie trailer and the audio is only coming out of the left speaker, while the music blares over top of the dialog, and the sound effects are hokey and cartoonish (unless it’s meant that way…), it makes me just want to scream! I want to poke my fingers through the monitor or TV and yell at them, “Hey! Asshole! You’re doing it ALL WRONG!” And then I want to look up the person and personally harass them because, well, I’ve got nothing better to do. (This would be a total and complete fabrication, as I am not an evil person, but I am also ALWAYS lacking time!)

Audio is important. The best suggestion I can provide to editors and pseudo-editors is this: Invest in a pair of decent headphones! My suggestion? Sennheiser. Sennheiser HD-201, to be exact. Excellent response, good and gentle cupping over the ears, and at around $20-25, you cannot go wrong! Invest in them and USE them. Any time you’re looking at a movie rolling by in some kind of editing suite, whether it’s Windows Movie Maker, FCP, or Premiere, make sure you’re covered! And these headphones are even really great on the set while filming! Use them to listen in to the audio of the production while your boom operators are picking up the sound! You’ll be amazed at how something so little can make a huge difference!

Stop making crappy sounding stuff!