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Creating Suspense with Sound Design

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This chapter is from the book

Lesson Files

Soundtrack Pro book files > 03-04_Projects&Media > 3-1 Start, 3-5 Final


This lesson takes approximately 1 hour to complete.


Explore video clip details

Create a customized video layout

Store files in the Bin tab for easy access

Add markers to the Timeline

Work with a playback region

Add sound effects

Change a track’s name and icon

Audio is often one the least appreciated crafts in filmmaking. If you have any doubt as to the importance of audio, try muting your television as you watch a commercial, television show, or movie. Not only would you miss out on the basic dialog, but sound design adds an extra level of reality, texture, emotion, and credibility to a scene.

In this lesson, you’ll take the skills you’ve learned so far and apply them to the sound design of a suspense scene. First you’ll watch the scene and determine a strategy for the sound. Then you’ll add markers in the Timeline for specific sounds effects. Once the markers are in place, you’ll work with sound effects to add reality, illusion of space, and mood to the scene. Along the way you’ll also organize tracks, change track names and icons, and learn some new features and shortcuts.

Once you get the fundamental sound design in place, you’ll be ready to move on to the next lesson where you’ll add additional sound effects, music, and Timeline editing techniques to finish the soundtrack.

Preparing the Project

You will begin this lesson by opening the 3-1 Start project file located in the 03-04_Projects&Media folder and playing the finished project. If you have any other Soundtrack Pro projects open, you should close them at this time. If you just finished Lesson 2, “Creating and Arranging a Multitrack Project,” Soundtrack Pro should already be open.

  1. Quit all open applications, except for Soundtrack Pro.
  2. Open the Soundtrack Pro project 3-1 Start.

    The project opens with a video clip already in the Timeline, and one audio clip on the top track. The 03-04 Final Audio unmixed audio clip is an exported audio file of the project that you’ll complete in Lesson 4, “Building Suspense with Editing Techniques.”

  3. Play the project to see the scene with unmixed audio.

    Now that you know what you’re aiming for in designing the sound for this scene, it’s time to let it go. That’s right. You’re going to delete the audio clip from the project.

  4. Select the 03-04 Final Audio unmixed track (top audio track) in the Timeline, then press Shift-Cmd-T to delete the entire track.

    The track and its audio clip should no longer exist in the Timeline.

  5. Press Shift-Cmd-S to open the Save As window.
  6. Change the name of the project to Suspense Scene, making sure that the Collect Audio and Collect Video checkboxes are unselected, and then save it into the My Soundtrack Pro Projects folder on your desktop.

    You’ll work on this Suspense Scene project for the duration of Lessons 3 and 4. If you don’t complete an exercise, there are catch-up versions of the project that you can open at any time. You’ll be prompted to save as you go along or open a catch-up version to continue with the lessons. Also, even though you deleted the 03-04 Final Audio unmixed clip from the Timeline, it is still in the Bin tab if you’d like to hear it as a reference.

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