Film Production – Sound Designer’s Journal

Posted on  by sleduc

Creative Commons image by vancouverfilmschool at Flickr

This role is a combination of roles, and like the director, will probably require the student to distribute equal time during each part of the production. For a sound designer, recordist, or mixer to be assessed in this task, the finished film should rely on the use of sound as an integral part of the production process.

During pre-production, the commentary should present evidence of the sound designer carefully going over scripts and storyboards with the director in order to decide what sound will be necessary for the production. In some cases, this may require foley (sound that is performed, such as knocking on a door or the sound of footsteps), which will have to be recorded by the students themselves and not taken from existing sound effects libraries. In other cases it may require designed sound, that is, recorded sounds that will be altered in a program such as GarageBand® or Audacity®. Sometimes for safety reasons students may need to use sounds from a pre-existing sound package (such as explosions). If original sound work can safely be created, however, then the work of the sound designer, recordist, and mixer will be much easier to evaluate. During production, sound must be captured on set. This may require working the boom mike, making sure sound capture is accurate, and many other tasks that are the responsibility of the recordist. During post-production, the major role will be as the mixer for the project, creating a mix of sound effects and dialogue to create a pleasing effect for the audience, as well as mood, atmosphere, and drama.

Please note: in a “real-world” scenario of film production, the creation of music would not necessarily be the responsibility of the sound editor/sound designer; music would generally be written by a composer. For the purposes of this film assessment task, however, the role of music composer is not available. Sound editors/sound designers are expected to be responsible for the final sound mix (which includes the music, as well as foley, sound effects, dialogue, ambient sound, and so on), but it would not be fair to mark these students for the creation of an element that is outside the structure of the film course. For this reason, any music used in the film should be created with the input of the entire production team and should, ideally, be original (please refer to the new copyright and creativity statement below). If the creation of the soundtrack is the responsibility of the sound designer, recordist or mixer, it may be a focus of the commentary. However, it should not outweigh the other responsibilities outlined above.

– Film Assessment Clarification Document 2015 (PDF)


  • Create a journal documenting each stage of film production


  • Create blog posts (3 total) with embedded media evidence for each of the three production stages.



  • Students need to conduct extensive research for the IB Film projects and need experience moving through the workflow of producing films

Production Steps Evidence Requirements

Pre-production Blog Post

Include all of the following requirements as evidence in your blog post:

  1. Brainstorm with the team regarding IDEAS, GENRE, CONCEPTS and GROUP INTENTIONS.
  2. Research the chosen GENRE and any INFLUENCES for the production of the film, identifying CONVENTIONS and DEVELOPING STYLE for the film.
  3. Research INFLUENCES from films that have been seen – name the SOUND DESIGNER.
  4. Research any SOUND EQUIPMENT or SOFTWARE necessary for the specific production.
  6. Collaborate with the director and writer on MOOD and TONE for EACH SCENE, where music will play and specific sound effects that are required.
  7. Make a LIST of LOCATIONS and list any SOUNDS that might help to make this LOCATION MORE REALISTIC, noting when sound may be PROBLEMATIC ON LOCATION.
  8. Make a list of FOLEY SOUNDS needed for the film.
  9. Create LYRICS, SHEET MUSIC or any other composition components for the SOUNDTRACK.
  10. Make NOTES and/or SCHEDULE for the BAND, SOUND COMPOSER or MUSICIANS regarding PACE, GENRE, MOOD, and so on.
  11. Survey the LOCATION and make NOTE of any BACKGROUND NOISE that may NEED TO BE CAPTURED, or that might be of CONCERN WHEN FILMING.
  13. Make a CHECKLIST of EQUIPMENT REQUIRED for production.
  14. Carry out TEST RECORDINGS for any DIFFICULT SHOTS that require post-production work; early capture of AMBIENT NOISES that may be helpful in the final sound edit that could be hard to capture on the day.
  15. Collaborate with the editor to discuss PACE, MOOD and TIMING of EACH SEQUENCE to help plan the SOUNDTRACK and SOUND EFFECTS.

Production Blog Post

Include all of the following requirements as evidence in your blog post:

  1. Capture all DIALOGUE filmed on set as part of the shoot.
  2. Capture or create the FOLEY SOUNDS, VOICEOVERS, and SOUND EFFECTS.
  3. Collectstore and organize all SOUND MATERIAL to be accessible to the editor and the director, as needed.
  4. Make notes on any PROBLEMS DURING RECORDING and how they were SOLVED.
  5. Record any MUSICAL SCORE or SOUNDTRACK required for the film.
  6. Keep a DAILY LOG of WORK ACCOMPLISHED and QUESTIONS for other members of the team.
  7. Communicate any ISSUES with sound production to the director and the editor, and indicate whether any further sound recording will be required.

Post-production Blog Post

Include all of the following requirements as evidence in your blog post:

  1. Keep a DAILY LOG of WORK ACCOMPLISHED and QUESTIONS for other members of the team.
  2. Collaborate with the director and writer about the ROUGH EDIT and highlight any MAJOR ISSUES or CHANGES; decide on any POSSIBLE RE-RECORDINGS or VOICEOVERS.
  3. Collaborate with the editor to determine the ASSEMBLY OF THE SOUNDTRACK, SOUND EFFECTS and any other RECORDED SOUND.
  4. Provide an opportunity for the team to VIEW THE FILM and provide FEEDBACK or SUGGESTIONS.
  6. Consider how the FILM COULD HAVE BEEN IMPROVED (but avoid blaming equipment or other people involved).


  • Pre-production
    • Review Sound Designer Responsibilities (PDF)
    • Create a blog post titled, PROJECT NAME Film Pre-Production – Sound Designer’s Journal
      • Create headings for:
        • Summary
        • Test Recordings
        • Equipment Checklist
        • Recording Workflow
        • Location Maps
        • Foley Sounds
        • Discussions with Director
        • Influences from Films
        • What I Learned and Problems I Solved
    • Research material for script
      • Examine sample ??? (PDF)
    • Explore and select the Cinematic Storytelling conventions you want to highlight in the film from the resources section below
    • Write a ???  – Pre-production
    • Fill in evidence for each heading of the blog post
    • Publish blog post
  • Production
    • Create a blog post titled, PROJECT NAME Film Production – Sound Designer’s Journal
      • Create headings for:
        • Summary
        • Captured Sound
        • Foley Sounds
        • Collating Sound For Editing
        • Sound Choices
        • Composition Consideration
        • Musical Score Influences
        • What I Learned and Problems I Solved
    • ??? in ??? – Production
    • Fill in evidence for each heading of the blog post
    • Publish blog post
  • Post-production
    • Create a blog post titled, PROJECT NAME Film Pre-Production – Sound Designer’s Journal
      • Create headings for:
        • Summary
        • Sound Design Effectiveness
        • Working with The Editor
        • How I Could Have Improved The Film
        • What I Learned
    • Edit sound for the film – Post-production
    • Fill in evidence for each heading of the blog post
    • Publish blog post

Film Language Resources

  • Film language research from Cinematic Storytelling by Jennifer Van Sijll
    • Cinematic Storytelling book and web site
      • 6. Sound Effects 
        • 35. Realistic Sound (Dietetic) (Character)
        • 36. Realistic Sound (Dietetic) (Emotional Response)
        • 37. Expressive Sound (Dietetic) (Outer World)
        • 38. Surreal Sound (Meta-Diegetic) (Inner World)
      • 7. Music 
        • 39. Lyrics as Narrator
        • 40. Symbolic Use of Music
        • 41. Music as a Moveable Prop

Other Resources


  • Zoom Audio Deck
  • Rode Shotgun Mic
  • Premiere Pro
  • GarageBand

Feedback Form

Other Forms

Posted in Le DucTagged AudioCinematographyEditorFilmFilm ProductionFoleyGarageBandIBMusicProductionScoreSoundSound EffectsWorkflow