Source good sound effects
Transport your audience to another dimension with sound effects. You can use sounds effects to increase your production value exponentially -- without spending lots of money.
Sound effects can transport an audience into the world of your videos. Learn to find, source and record sounds like a pro.
Sound effects can elevate production quality
Sound effects refer to audio elements that comprise the world of your show, video, or episode. Think of a “bloop” when a rock is dropped into a pond, the lively chatter of a crowd, or a screaming siren of a fire engine. Without good sound effect design, your videos may come off as one-dimensional. Many successful shows utilize sound effects, either as background tracks to set an overall mood or tone or to illustrate the action, such as using gunshots and explosions to simulate a fight scene.
Remember, sound often makes up 50% of the finished product, so it’s a good idea to be creative and use a variety of audio elements. Sound effects usually cost next nothing to use so if resources and money are limited, they can be a low-cost option to help you complement the scenes in your videos. Start by watching some of your favorite YouTube shows or videos -- you’ll notice there is often a common denominator: interesting sound design that helps tell the story.
See it in action
Sound effects tell the storyThis action-packed video is composed entirely of sound effects and music. Sound effects aid in conveying the action on-screen.
Create ambience and beyondWheezy Waiter uses sound effects to set the mood, introduce characters’ personalities, illustrate the passage of time, and even portray the execution of tasks. (Video in English)
Seek out splendid sound
Sound design starts with a plan, and that plan typically starts during the script-writing phase. Try not to wait until you’ve finished editing to plan out your sound. When going over your script, brainstorm ways that you can implement sound effects to better tell your story. It can be helpful to write these sound cues into your script -- for example, use a ticking clock to bolster a tense moment, or add in background noises like rain or wind to give a sense of the overall mood of a scene.
Then, consider where you’ll source your sound effects. There are a multitude of ways to acquire sounds. YouTube offers an entire library of free sound, which can be a great way to get started. Some online libraries offer sound on a pay-per-sound basis, or you can purchase an entire library for a set amount. You can also create your own sounds.
When searching for sounds, think descriptively about how to find the effect in a database. For example, if you search for the sound of “footsteps on gravel” and don’t find a sound you like, expand your search to “crunch” or “rock steps.” Be descriptive in your search! Remember, you can also record your own sound effects and manipulate them digitally to fit into your scene -- that’s where the fun really begins!
Keep viewers glued to your video
Now that you have a plan mapped out and you’ve spent time finding great sound effects online, it’s time to put them into action. One way to start? Trial and error. Try throwing sound effects into your production to see if they produce the feeling you’re going for.
It can be helpful to listen to your sound work several times with fresh ears -- putting yourself in the place of audiences who have never watched your show before. (“Fresh ears” means listening as if hearing for the first time.) Once you hear something repeatedly, it can lose its effect on you, and you can become less sensitive to the auditory details. In fact, you could start hearing something that’s not even there! It’s important to step away from the computer and your sound effects for a while so that you can come back and evaluate from a fresh perspective. Ask a friend to listen too.
Are your sound effects getting fans talking?
While some fans may not realize that you’re even using sound effects, it never hurts to see if you're designing effective sound. Ask your fans in the comments to share their favorite moment of your video -- you might find they chose a moment with good sound design! You can also use comments to investigate which sounds have the biggest affect on your audience. Ask fans if they like what they hear, or even what their favorite sound effect was.
Do sound effects have an impact on your audience?Try it now