Archive for the ‘film sound’ category

3 Deaf Mice music game

February 6, 2013

3DM website130114

Check out the game we’re developing at

We’ve got intriguing “Sound Tidbits” to explore on

Come join the fun!  Icon02sketch copy

SOUND DESIGN FOR PROS Webinar Series (next date tbd)

October 26, 2012

David Sonnenschein offers live coaching sessions
+ 12 hours of lectures and demos

*  Master theory and application of your audio craft to become a competent all-round professional
*  Discover sonic tools and tricks to find an expressive voice and maximize your creativity
Impact the audience effectively on intellectual, emotional and visceral levels
*  Build successful communication skills with job-hiring producers and the post team

Live Session Dates:   Four consecutive Mondays, Nov. 5 – 25, 6-7pm PST

Regular fee $300, Early Bird Discount until Nov. 4:  $249 Sign up HERE

More Discounts!  If you have enrolled previously in a PAID webinar with David, you can get the following discounts on this series:
SOUND DESIGN FOR PROS = 50% OFF ($124 total)
Just email him at, stating the dates of the previous webinar, and you’ll get a discount code for registering.

David’s workshops rock! His mastery of the material is clear from the first lesson. What really sets David’s workshops apart, though, is his gift for teaching, and personal interest in student’s work. He invited me to share a commercial film I was making with the class, and as a result I gained insights that  helped me win quick approval of the project from my client. In that way, the class paid for itself right away.

–  Dan McComb, filmmaker, Seattle, WA

*** FOUR WEEKS OF PERSONAL COACHING – You will be invited to screen your sound design projects, finished or works-in-progress, for detailed, interactive feedback. This is undoubtedly the most powerful form of learning, where you can apply all the theory into your own work and creativity.

*** TWELVE HOURS of Lectures and Demonstrations of Sound Design principles. 
You will have access to the recordings of this entire coursework theory and application with case studies to view as many times as you would like for the next 3 months.  The six modules cover:
1. THE INTELLIGENT EAR – Listening Modes, Sound Qualities and Bipolarities
By deconstructing the listening experience into discrete elements, the grammar of sound design language gives you access for clear and powerful communication.
2. PLUG-IN POWER – Size, Distance, Speed and Non-Physical Reality
Understanding principles of real world acoustics and palette of subjective auditory experiences offers you enlightened use of digital processing tools.
3. RULES OF the BRAIN ROAD – Psychoacoustic Principles and Applications
When the curtain is lifted on how humans process auditory information, you master the art of sonic illusion (creating and hiding) as essential tools in sound editing.
4.  SONIC TIME-SPACE CONTINUUM – Soundscapes and Sound Spheres
Creating an effective cinematic space depends on familiarity with your physical and social environment, and the knowledge of how to psychologically orient yourself through audio.
5. AUDIO BUILDING BLOCKS – Constructing Sound Events and Sound Objects
Mastering techniques of sequencing, layering and mixing will infuse sonic fragments (sound effects, words) with meaningful messages (sound phrases, sentences).
6. PEOPLE, PLOT AND PASSION – Narrative Structure and Sound Mapping
Bottom line, how can sound help tell your story?  By understanding dramatic elements of character and emotion, the map can guide you to creative and impactful decision-making.

FEAR VS. HUMOR – how are they different for sound design?

October 23, 2012

Garath Wood ( asks:

The title of my dissertation, ‘In Motion Picture, are some emotions harder to convey through sound than others?,’ arose due to the conclusion that me and my peers came to; that most of the writings and teachings on sound design that we had studied so far focused on inducing more negative emotions of fear and tension on the audience, for example some of the most written about films in terms of sound design are often sci-fi or action films that require this kind of impact. Why do you think that may be?
A lot of my coursework has required that I study the sound of such films, so perhaps this has led me to this train of thought, but having started to look at neurology for this dissertation and I have found that again, the negative emotions are too, far more established in writings. Do you think that it is because the parts of the brain associated with negative emotions are more primitive, that its easier to explain?(I understand you have a neuro background, I’d never normally ask that sort of question!)
So to summarise this paragraph, is it easier to scare someone than make them laugh with sound?

My response:

Without going into too much neurophysiology, I’d say that sounds
relating to fear or anxiety (tension) are processed by our primitive
brains for the purpose of survival or avoidance of pain. This is
common with many animals including mammals, birds, reptiles and fish.
A sound design that elicits anxiety, fear or surprise will work on
most people, regardless of individual differences like age, sex,
intelligence or cultural background, because we are all reacting from
those primitive brains areas.

More positive emotions like humor or empathy require a much more
developed sense of oneself and of the world, and need a context,
learning curve and experience. This applies as well to the use of
sound in media to evoke these positive emotions in the audience.

Humor is very particular to humans, and is also very dependent on
individual differences of age, sex, intelligence or culture. A baby’s
sense of humor will be very simple and often relate to a physical
stimulus. A small child hearing a verbal joke relating to their body
or body fluids will laugh, but not understand a joke about a more
sophisticated adult topic like religion, culture or politics.

Empathy can be in the form of romance, compassion or any other form of
bonding. This is a strong element of mammalian life, especially the
need to nurture helpless infants and to protect and feed the tribe.
Communication develops into higher brain functions of language and
symbols, both acoustic and visual.

Sounds that generate positive feelings like humor or empathy require
that the listener have some reference associated with the sound. This
can be within the cultural or family context, or if we are thinking in
film sound terms, it can be a reference that is set up within the
story, characters and soundtrack. In any case, there are more
cognitive, higher brain functions needed to activate the laughter or
tears, than the primitive brain reaction of being startled by a loud
or sudden sound, or building anxiety with an unresolved, unsettling

Film study literature has approached the fear induction quality of
soundtracks more frequently because it is easier to identify across
many different films and audiences. To analyze how sound evokes the
positive emotions requires a deeper study of a specific film, story,
soundtrack and audience, which may be different than another film with
different references. Isolating variables is definitely more
challenging, but a worthy area to investigate.


October 4, 2012

David Sonnenschein, author of “Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema,” is seeking an enthusiastic intern to assist in several areas:

1)      Analyzing and organizing a large personal archive of field recordings, lectures, webinars and audiovisual creations into an accessible online media database.

2)      Developing an outreach program to the online community so this media provides a knowledge base, coaching by example, creative problem solving and inspiration, along with future live webinars.

 3)      Producing a series of fun, sensory-driven interactive Sound Games, offering a deep conceptual and experiential understanding of the physics and perception of sonic vibration.

 4)      Completing the second edition of my book “Sound Design”, including new material on interactive media.

The intern should have the following qualities:

1)      Highly motivated learner, communicative, organized, dependable (a dab of humor is nice too).

2)      Availability on a regular basis to dedicate towards achieving concrete, realistic goals.

3)      Competency in required skill sets, such as audio/video editing, writing, database building and management, game programming, graphics, web design, social networking.

You don’t have to be good at everything, but be really good at what you can contribute and be able to make and keep a clear commitment.

There will be tasks to be done in my office in Topanga (near Los Angeles) and also online, so I’ll give consideration to both local and online applications.  If the intern is a college student, it might be possible to get school credit for this position, as I have done this already with interns both in Los Angeles and internationally.

Send letter and resume to

Thanks – David Sonnenschein

NOTE:  This is NOT an internship for someone who wants to be on a career track to the big studios. There is no sound editing or mixing job here that will give credit on any big movie or game. This is unique, not mainstream, so apply only if you’re up for exploring a new path.

SECRETS FOR GREAT FILM SOUND – 6-part series and coaching program starts Oct. 1 + RAFFLE

September 19, 2012

Learn from the Experts How to Solve Audio Challenges in Recording, Editing and Sound Design

Win Raffle Prizes – TASCAM recorder and iPhone Audio Interface

David Sonnenschein, author “Sound Design”

Ric Viers, author
“The Sound Effects Bible”
and “The Location Sound Bible”


Component 1:

6 Modules of Online Training (12 hours of recordings, anytime viewing):

Module 1 – PREP – Finding Work / Getting Gigs, Analyzing the script, Equipment needed, Director/Producer rap
Module 2 – PRODUCTION – The ABCs of Production Dialogue, Equipment Tips and How to Solve Location Challenges
Module 3 – SOUND DESIGN – How to choose the right sound and why, Applications, Story, Emotion
Module 4 – POST – Dialogue, ADR, Character Development
Module 5 – POST – Sound Effects Recording, Sound Effects Libraries, Foley, Plug-Ins
Module 6 – POST – Music, Mix, Interfacing with the Director/Composer/Editor

Component 2:

Personalized coaching and Q&A (4 one-hour live sessions once a week):

  • You’ll have the opportunity to get personalized feedback on your own work, screening selected participants’ submissions.
  • Live Q&A with David Sonnenschein and Ric Viers
  • The best learning experience available with practical application of the training materials.

Raffle Prizes:


DR-40 - Handheld 4-track Recorder

  • Adjustable Condenser Mics
  • Records to SD/SDHC Media
  • WAV/BWF and MP3 Recording
  • XLR and 1/4″ Combo Inputs
  • Phantom Power
  • USB 2.0 Connector
  • Integrated Speaker
  • 3.5mm Headphone/Line Output
  • Battery, AC, or USB Power

$200 VALUE

More PRIZES – (3) iU2 – iPhone Audio Interface

  • For Mac, Windows and iOS Devices
  • Two Inputs / Four Outputs
  • Delivers 44.1/48 kHz, 16-bit Recording
  • Two XLR Inputs with Phantom Power
  • Two Balanced Line Inputs
  • Instrument-level Input for Guitar & Bass
  • MIDI In and Out
  • S/PDIF Digital Output
  • Onboard A/D Conversion
  • Zero-latency Monitoring

$150 value

We will be raffling the great pieces of equipment to the registrants of this webinar series and will announce the winners on the first day of class. Get lucky!


Fee:  $299

Early Bird discount until Sept. 28:  $249

Sign up HERE 6-7pm PST Oct. 1 – 22, four Mondays


Sign up HERE 9-10am PST Oct. 2 – 23, four Tuesdays

Here’s what happens when you register for Secrets for Great Film Sound:

You can choose between two session times for the live Q&A and participant screenings, Mondays 6-7pm PST or Tuesdays 9-10am PST.  After clicking on the link above, filling in the registration form on Instant Presenter, and making the payment on PayPal, you’ll receive a link to the live webinar meeting room. Please go there about 10 minutes before the first meeting time to check your settings for audio and video, and give a hello in the text chat to the leaders to let us know you’re online.

For both live session registrations, you’ll receive an email with links to the six recorded modules of training materials, which you can watch at any time. We suggest you take notes of any questions you have and bring those to the live Q&A sessions, especially if you have specific application to your own projects.

The  interactive Q&A sessions with David and Ric will be live and spontaneous, but if you send in questions ahead of time to, we’ll answer those first with any prep that might be useful.

If you have a piece of your work that you’d like reviewed (up to 3 min.) during the live sessions, please send your link to Youtube or Vimeo, to, at least 24 hours before the meeting is scheduled.  The first three submissions for each session are guaranteed to be screened, and if there is time after that we will screen more. Take advantage of this interactive coaching, as it is super valuable for all.

If you have already taken a previous Secrets for Great Film Sound complete webinar series and would like to get more coaching, you can register with 50% discount (for $125) by emailing to and request a “repeat discount code.”

~~~~~  * * * * * ~~~~~

This is what people say about the David and Ric’s classes:

“David’s workshops rock! His mastery of the material is clear from the first lesson. What really sets David’s workshops apart, though, is his gift for teaching, and personal interest in student’s work. He invited me to share a commercial film I was making with the class, and as a result I gained insights that helped me win quick approval of the project from my client.”

Dan McComb, filmmaker, Seattle, WA

“Ric isn’t your typical technical speaker. He’s energetic, funny, and thoughtful. He thinks outside the box and draws on his unique experiences to articulately teach really serious subjects, while never ceasing to entertain.”

Colin Hart, assistant teacher Full Sail University

Sign up HERE Oct. 1-22, Mondays 6-7pm PST


Sign up HERE Oct. 2-23, Tuesdays 9-10am PST
Look forward to hearing from you and thanks so much!

– Ric Viers and David Sonnenschein