Sound Design Operation and Control

Image from Zoom,
Image from Zoom,

The eye draws us outwards while the ear draws us inwards.Robert Bresson



  • Understand and use common audio research, planning, preparation, and recording tools and techniques for film sound

Zoom Audio Deck Settings

  • Interface
    • Stereo Microphones
    • Mode Indicator LED
    • Shortcut Buttons
    • Input Select
    • Transport Control
    • Record
    • SD Card
    • Microphone Inputs
    • Headphone Port
    • Output Port
  • Settings
    • Phantom Power
      • Power for condenser microphones at 48v (dynamic microphones like the Shure SM58 do not need phantom power)
    • Mono Mix
      • Only one audio channel mixed to two channels, the same sound is on each channel
    • Record Format
      • WAV96kHz/24bit – highest quality
      • WAV44.1/16bit – CD quality, good for longer recording sessions
    • File Name Format
      • Use DATE option (example: 170131-001.wav)
      • Helps keep files organized
    • Battery Options
    • Recording Modes
    • Record Levels
      • Adjust loudest level to -6dB (DO NOT PEAK IN THE RED)
      • -6 gives headroom for the recording
    • Headroom
      • Safety zone allowing transient audio peaks, loud parts, to exceed the nominal level without damaging the system or the audio signal, e.g., via clipping
    • Nominal Level
      • Operating level at which an electronic signal processing device is designed to operate
    • Clipping
      • Waveform distortion that occurs when an amplifier is overdriven and attempts to deliver an output voltage or current beyond its maximum capability

Zoom Audio Deck Tutorial

  • Zoomfront4:25: Rode NTG2 Shotgun Mic Overview
  • 7:18: XLR Audio Cable
  • 7:35: Zoom H4n Buttons, Inputs, and Outputs Overview
  • 9:00: Front Screen Overview
  • 9:45: Bottom XLR, 1/4 inch, and Power Inputs
  • 10:05: Menu Details
    • 10:15: Folder Settings
    • 10:21: File Settings
    • 10:32: Input Settings
      • 10:40: Phantom Power Setting (Use 48v)
        • Phantom power uses more battery
      • 10:55: Mono Mix
    • 11:30: Record Settings
      • 11:35: Record Format
        • WAV96kHz/24bit – highest quality – larger file size
        • WAV44.1/16bit – CD quality – smaller file size for longer recording sessions
      • 11:50: File Names
        • Recommend using date as file name
    • 12:05: System
      • 12:09: Battery
        • Alkaline and Lithium batteries use the same setting
        • Ni-MH are rechargeable batteries
    • 12:43: SD Card – Formatting
    • 12:50: USB – Connecting to Computer
    • 12:51: Mode – Stereo, 4 Channel, MTR
  • 13:03: Plug in Microphone
  • 13:42: How to Operate Zoom with Microphone Plugged in
    • 13:49: Tap the Record Button
    • 14:47: Setting Audio Levels
      • Adjust so loudest level is -6dB
    • 17:37: The Stop Button
  • 17:49: Downloading Audio to a Computer
  • 18:29: Setting up a Boom Pole
    • 19:49: Cable Management
  • 21:03: Batman Demo Recording
    • 21:18: Get Your Frame
      1. Get the mic just out of the frame, but as close to the mouth as possible
      2. Hold the mic above the talent, if possible
  • 22:33 Set your recording levels by having the talent practice the loudest lines
    • 23:00 Role audio
      • Audio recorder states: “Scene 1, Take 1” (as an example)
      • The slate is clicked, or hand clap, to create a nice sharp audio wave to aid in post-production audio syncing
      • Director says action

Film why and how example

Setting for Our OMF Files

  • Create a folder to save all the files into
  • Title the OMF file something simple
  • Set Sample rate: 48,000
  • Set Bits per sample: 16
  • Set Files: Separate Audio
  • Set Format: Broadcast Wave


  • Blog post with embedded video from YouTube of the various audio techniques demonstrated and explained


  • Coming soon…


  1. Watch Top 10 Best Sound Designed Films of All Time – CineFix (14:30)
  2. Watch Microphones & Audio Syncing Tutorial – Indy News from 2:00 into the clip (5:26)
  3. Create blog post titled, Audio Deck Operation and Control
    • Create headings for:
      • Summary
      • Sound Design for Film Notes
      • Zoom Audio Deck Settings
      • Zoom Audio Deck Tutorial
      • Timeline
      • Pre-production
      • Production
      • Post-production
      • Film (Project Skills Evidence)
      • What I Learned and Problems I Solved
  4. Copy and paste all the material for the Zoom Audio Deck Settings and Zoom Audio Deck Tutorial into your blog post
  5. Watch  Filmmaking 101 – How to Record High Quality Audio on a Budget by DiCasaFilm (25:15)
  6. Embed video and Watch  Music & Sound Design for Film – Film Riot  1st half of the clip (up to 5:45 minutes) and take notes about under the Sound Design For Film Notes heading
  7. Embed video and Watch Export OMF from Adobe Premiere Pro CC and take notes about under the Sound Design For Film Notes heading
  8. Watch and practice How To Properly Roll Cable by Randy Coppinger (1:03)
  9. Watch some of the other tutorials linked in the Resources section below to better prepare for your specific audio recording needs
  10. Get a copy of the Zoom H4n Audio Deck Settings Form (PDF)
    • Fill in with your settings for all audio projects
  11. Write a script that includes a shot reverse shot script with 5 lines for each actor
    • The lines shot be easy to ADR, which will be done in post-production
    • The point of the film is to demonstrate what you have learned about basic audio recording and operations as a reference for yourself in your blog
  12. Storyboard each shot
    • Storyboard template
  13. Block each shot
  14. Pitch storyboards
  15. Revise storyboards
  16. Create the shot list for the project
  17. Create an equipment list
  18. Practice each shot, update script, as needed
  19. Gather equipment; audio deck, microphone(s), camera, lens, lights, bounce, diffuser, etc.
  20. Create a shot log
  21. Shoot each scene
  22. Catalog shots
  23. Edit shots in Adobe Premiere
  24. Export OMF files from Premiere
    • Settings
      • Create a folder to save all the files into
      • Title the OMF file something simple
      • Sample rate: 48,000
      • Bits per sample: 16
      • Files: Separate Audio
      • Format: Broadcast Wave
  25. Import files into Adobe Audition
  26. Edit in Adobe Audition
  27. Import finish sound back into Premiere
  28. Export in highest resolution possible
  29. Upload to YouTube
  30. Embed under Project Skills Evidence heading
  31. Write the Summary
  32. Write What I Learned and Problems I Solved
  33. Have someone proofread your blog post, make corrections, additions, and hand in your feedback form



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