Sound advice

Sound advice: How great sound design will help sell your products and services

February 13, 2013

With so much focused on image and picture in video, it’s easy to forget that fully 50% of a viewer’s experience comes from what they hear. Try watching a horror movie with the sound off. There goes 80% of the scare factor. It’s the same thing for kids’ cartoons – they just aren’t half as funny with the sound effects and music removed.

But quality sound recording and powerful sound design aren’t just for feature films and television series. Evocative sound will help sell your product or service. Well-designed sound actually makes your images look better and will align people towards your product.

Taste the Sound
Video is a highly visual medium, but by adding sound you’re enhancing the viewer’s experience with another sense. Your clients may not be able to touch or smell your product onscreen, but you can tap into their other senses. A well-mastered sound track will double the effect of strong images. Ice cubes clinking in a drink and the sound of a pouring beverage makes viewers feel thirsty, while the sizzle of a burger on a BBQ raises hunger pangs. The engine rev of a sports car – or the sheer quiet of an electric motor help viewers grasp the experience of being inside a particular vehicle. And the cooing and laughing of babies mixed in behind the narrator’s voice on a baby product video will inspire tender feelings towards the product- the elusive ‘feel good’ factor that makes your product the right choice.

Making Everyone Sound Polished
Even seemingly simple to record interviews and client testimonials need well-recorded sound. A properly recorded voice makes the speaker sound competent and professional. Conversely, nothing screams out amateur video like an across-the-room voice filtered through a camera-mounted microphone. And viewers who find audio tough to decipher will vote with their fingers – and click over to another website or video.

Sound Out The Location
A good sound recordist will be able to assess how your filming location will affect the video’s sound. Is it a warehouse space with concrete walls and floors? It will sound echoey compared to a plaster wall room with carpets. Is the space you plan to use for interviews right outside a busy street or loud loading dock? Your crew might advise you to move to a quieter location.

The Voice
Your choice of who narrates your video is another important sound choice. We’ve had clients choose a British narrator to highlight their service’s international flair and appeal. We’ve also had clients ask if they can save money by using a staff member to voice their video. At times, an amateur voice-over can give a charming unstudied effect if that’s the style the video needs. But if you need a professional, confident delivery, a professional voice actor is usually the best choice. They can delivery any style and tone to a video, and make it sound right for your needs.

Music To Your Ears
The use of music in promotional and corporate music deserves its own blog post – and that will be coming up in this spring. But it isn’t enough to just slap on a great (rights free!) tune and run it from top to tail of your video. Aside from the need to mix in other voices and sounds, the pauses and levels of the music add their own often subliminal effects.

Check out how this Concordia Performance Arts video we created uses sweeping orchestral music to create tension and structure:

While another Concordia video we crafted for Computation Arts relies on a dramatic pause for a dynamic viewing effect:

A good production company should be able to craft sound effects, voice and music to make your videos pop off the screen. The results will be music to your ears.

Need a sounding board to discuss an upcoming video project? Contact us!

This article was posted on February 13, 2013 at 11:29 in the Corporate category.

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