Most video editors ignore sound design—and it’s ruining your edits.
The way I see it: Sound is the soul of the video.
While we often focus on visuals—sound effects, ambient noise, and music set the tone and atmosphere of a video, and good sound design helps transport viewers into the scene, and guides them to feel exactly what the creator intends.
In this engaging video, Hayden Hillier-Smith shares his masterful and systematic approach to creative sound design by adding his own sound effects, ambience, and music to an exciting Hollywood fight scene.
If you need some practice in the sound department—this is a great way exercise to try for yourself!
Hayden’s Key Tips for Better Sound Design
- Layer sounds for greater impact. Use multiple tracks like footsteps, cloth sounds, punches, etc.
- Use silence. Brief quiet moments contrast and accentuate big audio effects.
- Play with sound perspectives. Put key sounds in the foreground and others in background.
- Try unusual or ironic sound choices. Unconventional mixes are memorable.
- Add ambient noise—Room tones, wind, engines etc. make scenes more immersive.
- Pick the right music track. Music strongly influences the feel and emotion of a scene.
- Adjust volumes strategically. Louder doesn’t always mean better. Balance is key.
- Don’t neglect sound plugins and libraries. Great pre-made effects can save time.
Creative sound design is an underappreciated but extremely powerful tool for filmmakers and video creators. It requires experimentation and a subtle ear, but the payoff is huge.
It connects with viewers on a deeper, more emotional level.
So amp up your videos with strategic audio choices and see how much more powerful the end result can be.
Side note for those taking their video editing seriously… don’t miss this article:
Are you neglecting sound design in your edits?
What does your sound-editing process look like? Do you use any specific tools to achieve results faster?