In order to learn about sound
techniques, you need to
understand what each one means
and how to identify them.
Conversation between 2 or more characters.
Any noise that is made in the scene.
• The character in the scene can hear the sound.
• Question: Watch the clip. Max keeps scuffing his
shoes on the floor when he moves. Is this
diegetic or non-diegetic sound?
Sounds that the character cannot hear.
• Sound track
Watch the clip. What sounds can the
characters not hear in the clip?
A sound that becomes associated with a
person, thing or programme. Every time you
hear the sound you think of that association.
Eastenders theme tune – when you hear it, you know what
programme you are watching.
Question: Watch the clip from Jaws (from 3 mins). When
you hear the music what do you think of?
The visual seems to move at the same time as
the sound, they match.
• Eg In music videos, the characters often move at
the same time as the music.
Watch the clip, notice that the people start to
‘synchronise’ with the music?
Extension question: Is this diegetic or non-diegetic
What sound techniques are
Sound that does not match what you can see, it sounds
inappropriate and does not fit the feel of the visual.
Important note: It changes the feel of the scene.
You can see – A sad scene at a funeral.
You can hear – Happy, pop music
Question: Watch the clip from the film ‘Dr Strangelove’. Do you
think that the music is what you would expect to hear. Does it
fit the visual?
A narrator or character who talks over the top of
the scene. You cannot see them, only hear
• Watch the scene from Scrubs, notice that you can
hear the character talking over the top but he is
not talking in the scene.
Music that plays over the top of the scene.
The characters cannot hear it.
• Notice the music that plays over the film
trailer. This is a soundtrack.
Everyday noises that you hear in the
background of a scene. They are used to
make the scene more realistic.
In a scene in a forest, the ambient sound may include – the
sound of birds tweeting, the wind rustling in the trees or the
sound of a plane flying overhead.
Task : Look at the clip. All of the sounds are sounds that you
would naturally hear in a library, it can help make the scene
• Sound perspective refers to the apparent distance of a
• Clues to the distance of the source include the volume of
the sound and the balance with other sounds, the
frequency range (high frequencies may be lost at a
distance), and the amount of echo and reverberation.
• A closer sound perspective may sometimes be simulated by
recording with a directional microphone which rejects
sound from other directions. A more distant perspective
may sometimes be simulated in post-production by
processing the sound and mixing in other sounds.
Mode of address
• The narrator addresses the audience
directly, often confiding information or
insights not available to other characters in
the piece. This information is often taken as
authoritative by the audience, and can effect
the way they relate to the characters.
• Sound bridges can lead in or out of a scene.
• They can occur at the beginning of one scene when the
sound from the previous scene carries over briefly before
the sound from the new scene begins.
• Alternatively, they can occur at the end of a scene, when
the sound from the next scene is heard before the image
appears on the screen.
• Sound bridges are one of the most common transitions in
the style, one that stresses the connection between both
scenes since their mood (suggested by the music) is still the