Indiana University Media School
Spring 2017 (#31200)
Tuesday & Thursday 3:00 pm - 4:45 pm
Instructor: Norbert Herber nherber at indiana dot edu
Office Hours (FF030H): Friday 10–noon, or send e-mail to schedule an appointment.
This course will introduce you to sound design for a variety of media productions in a broad and diverse manner. Throughout the term we will focus on how sound design conveys meaning and how sound functions with the visual, from animation, art installations, performance, web interfaces to motion graphics, gaming, video and film. We will also look at how sound is used in these formats to strengthen visual language, provide narrative cues, create a sense of space (depth) and place (location), focus attention on objects and actions, provide for compositional structure or to create psychological (emotional) ambience.
Your first goal is listening—to open up your ear and challenge yourself to explore the enormous palette of sound available to you. As a student in this course, you will sense a shift from "consumer" to "producer" of sound. You will become more aware of your sonic environment and begin to hear the potential for everyday places and things to be employed as raw material in your designs.
You will complete seven, small sound design assignments and two large projects. These will introduce you to Foley, recording, processing, synthesis, editing and mixing sound using Pro Tools, Unity, FMOD, Audition, Garage Band, and other software.
- To listen. There is no silence in the world—thoughtfully consider what you hear and think about how we perceive the real world and mediated worlds differently.
- Explore what happens when sound is recorded and digitized.
- Develop a basic proficiency designing sound: recording, monitoring, editing, processing, mixing and spatializing, with an emphasis on the creative process and developing the ear.
- To investigate the following: How does sound work with the visual (interactive media, gaming, film, video, animation, motion graphics, etc.)? What is the relationship of sound and image in each media form?
- Examine how sound strengthens the narrative element in media. What are the ways we can use sound to tell stories, and to share information?
- Explore the history of sound design with a focus on individuals in the film industry.
- Analyze and critique the sound design of various media projects.
Role of the Student
For many of you, this will be a very unique and challenging class. Though all students are surrounded by sound, and depend upon their interpretation and perception of sound to insure basic survival, it is likely that you have never critically examined the sound of the world you inhabit and how it interacts with your daily experiences. This course will examine this situation through the lens of media production. As a student of sound design you will find it important to develop a sensitivity to the aural content of the world around you. This goes beyond simply hearing the sounds that comprise an environment; it even goes beyond careful and attentive listening. The greatest success in this course comes from listening, thinking, and finally synthesizing an interpretation of a sound environment. In many media products the sound you hear in the final production only slightly resembles the sound of the actual environment or situation that is represented. Sound design, as a discipline, can contribute greatly to realism, fantasy, or some illusive, in-between sonic quality that you hope to convey through media. Open minds, open ears, and open eyes work together to find creative "solutions" to sonic "problems."
Sound designers need all sorts of gear to do what we do. Whether it's for immediate use or experimentation, you will find that this kind of work causes odds & ends electronics, media storage, and other miscellaneous objects to pile up. For T369, you will start with a modest hoard of supplies:
- stereo headphones with both 1/4" and 1/8" connections (on-ear or over-the-ear; no earbuds—these are available in TV157)
- USB flash drive (for backing up files in progress—1 GB minimum is recommended) OR portable USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt hard drive
- Secure Digital (SD) Media card (see details)
- box of junk (we'll discuss what this means and why you need one...)
Some optional supplies include
- pop guards and noise filters
- portable recording device
- audio software (Logic, Ableton, anything by Native Instruments, and so on)
See Resources section of this syllabus for suggestions on finding these optional supplies.
You are expected to conduct yourself with decorum in this class. We have a shared responsibility in learning: me as the facilitator and you as the participant. Learning will only occur if we work together to make this an engaging environment. I will do my best to provide interesting topics and material for our consideration. You will absorb, discuss, and—through exercises and assignments—integrate this material into a body of knowledge that will be useful to you in the future.
Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated. Both are grounds for an Academic Misconduct report and a failing grade. Any questions regarding these policies can be directed to the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.
All work that you turn in must be your own. In certain situations it may be necessary to borrow from third-party source. Students are allowed to do this only after specific permission has been granted by the instructor. All borrowed work must be cited; no exceptions. Failure to cite borrowed work will be viewed as plagiarism(see above).
The production and discussion of creative work is a large part of this class. Any work or criticism that is offensive or that constitutes harassment of a racial, sexual, ethnic, or religious nature will result in a failing grade.
Mobile phones and other gadgets must be turned off before entering the classroom.
Attendance will be taken for all class periods. To accommodate for scheduling conflicts and other "surprises" that may occur during the semester, all students are allowed 2 absences. Your grade will be reduced 0.5 point (3% of your participation grade) for every unexcused absence. Unless it is unavoidable, do not schedule medical appointments or interviews during class or discussion section meeting times.
Students who have true emergencies, life-threatening illnesses, or deaths in the family may be granted excused absences. An excused absence must be supported with written documentation when you return to class. You will be responsible to get missed notes and information from a classmate.
Students observing religious holidays during the semester please see IU's Religious Holidays request form.
Have a question about this class? Chances are the answer is in this syllabus. When students encounter a problem while working outside of class they should send their question to our class list in Canvas.
All communication with me concerning your progress in the class should be done in office hours, and either before or after class. If you cannot meet during my regularly scheduled office hours, send an e-mail to make an appointment. I am glad to meet with you to discuss class questions and anything else you find interesting.
Disabled Student Services For assistance with physical, social, or mental health issues which affect learning or testing.
Adaptive Technology Services Using technology to provide equal access and an inclusive environment for the IU community.
Student Academic Center For assistance with tutoring, test anxiety, or non-medical academic issues.
Writing Tutorial Services For free help at any phase of the writing process.
Call Writing Tutorial Services (WTS, pronounced “wits”) at 855-6738 for an appointment. When you visit WTS, you’ll find a tutor who is a sympathetic and helpful reader of your prose. To be assured of an appointment with the tutor who will know most about your class, please call in advance.
WTS, in the Information Commons on the first floor of the Wells Library, is open Monday-Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Walk-in tutorials are available when WTS has an opening, but the appointment book often fills in advance. WTS tutors are also available for walk-in tutorials (only) in the Academic Support Centers in Briscoe, Forest, and Teter residence halls, open Sunday-Thursday 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday January 10 (week 1-1)
|Read||P369 Syllabus. Read over this independently and note any questions for our next class meeting.|
Intro to P369
Thursday January 12 (week 1-2)
Bring 3-5 sound effect "props" to class today.
Intro to sound maps & Foley
Foley SFX introduction (Assignment 1)
Tuesday January 17 (week 2-1)
|Due||Bring Foley props to class today|
Foley rehearsal & critique. You and your group should be prepared to rehearse and perform your foley work.
Thursday January 19 (week 2-2)
|Due||Foley Design (Assignment 1)|
Groups will perform & record their Foley designs in class today.
Tuesday January 24 (week 3-1)
Read: Ric Viers' "Sound Effects Bible" (abbreviated "SfxB") chapter 11
Studio recording & sound maps (what they are and how to make them)
Radio-TV audio interfaces (getting to know the Audiobox USB and Pro Tools)
Intro to Pro Tools (Studio) Foley Recording (Assignment 2)
Thursday January 26 (week 3-2)
Reference: Pro Tools PDF documentation (abbreviated "PTPD") chapters 2; 18-19
|Due||Assignment 2 Soundmaps should be turned in via Canvas (one per group).|
Studio recording (continued) One group member should make a checkout booking for the following items:
Objects as (musical) instruments
Tuesday January 31 (week 4-1)
Read: SfxB chapters 7-9
Mobile (field) recording demo (Group A)
Microphones as (musical) instruments
Zoom X4n links on class Resources page
Thursday February 02 (week 4-2)
Pro Tools Foley Recording (Assignment 2)
Mobile (field) recording demo (Group B)
Microphones as (musical) instruments
Zoom X4n links on class Resources page
Tuesday February 07 (week 5-1)
|Read||Reference: PTPD chapters 22-27|
Reference: PTET chapters 5-6
Read: SfxB chapter 15 and Ric Viers' L-I-S-T-E-N Editing Mantra in Canvas/ Files/ Handouts
Rick Viers' L-I-S-T-E-N Editing Mantra
Pro Tools I: Editing
Track management (mono stereo, how to split)
Shuffle and Slip modes; Trim; Fade & X-Fade; Duplicate; Strip Silence
Bounce to disk
Thursday February 09 (week 5-2)
|Read||Reference: PTPD chapter 37; DigiRack Plug-Ins Guide|
Read: SfxB chapters 13 & 17
Due date moved due to instructor oversight...Sorry.
Pro Tools II: Editing Exercise
Edit each of the following WAV files ( in Canvas/ Files/ In Class Exercises/ Edit Exercise) to meet the following specifications:
When finished, add comments to each track, assign a unique track and region color. Save your session, zip it, and post to our shared Box folder.
Intro to Editing (Assignment 4)
Tuesday February 14 (week 6-1)
Thursday February 16 (week 6-2)
Tuesday February 21 (week 7-1)
|Read||Bob Moog documentary part I & part II|
Analog vs. Digital: misunderstandings and the REAL difference(s) with Monty Montgomery. Be sure to read the article below the video too! Lots of good information and thoughts in this post by Peter Kirn.
Thursday February 23 (week 7-2)
Tuesday February 28 (week 8-1)
Sound Design Analysis Episode I: I will be away at a conference and you will work independently on a sound design analysis exercise.
Thursday March 02 (week 8-2)
Sound Design Analysis Episode II: Continue to work independently on a sound design analysis exercise.
Tuesday March 07 (week 9-1)
Thursday March 09 (week 9-2)
|Read||Reference: PTET chapters 11-12|
Synthesis (Assignment 6)
Intro to Mixing & Eigentones (Assignment 7)
Exercise: mixing environments
Classes do not meet. Enjoy your break!
Tuesday March 21 (week 10-1)
Thursday March 23 (week 10-2)
Mixing & Eigentones (Assignment 7)
Lab day for everyone: get started on Project 1
Tuesday March 28 (week 11-1)
Project 1 working critique for ALL (meet briefly with your instructor)
Thursday March 30 (week 11-2)
GROUP A individual meetings with your instructor (Milestone #1)
Tuesday April 04 (week 12-1)
GROUP B individual meetings with your instructor (Milestone #1)
Thursday April 06 (week 12-2)
Project 1 working critique for ALL (will critique classmates' work; this is (Milestone #2))
Last day to turn in makeup work on Assignments 1-7. Any and all revisions are due tonight by 11:59 pm.
Tuesday April 11 (week 13-1)
|Read||Reference: PTET chapter 13|
Project 1 + abstract due
Project 2 sound maps
Space Rocks tutorial (if needed)
Thursday April 13 (week 13-2)
Lab day for Project 2
Tuesday April 18 (week 14-1)
Project 2 working critique (everyone meet briefly with your instructor; use class time to work)
Thursday April 20 (week 14-2)
Project 2 GROUP B (individual meeting for Milestone #1)
Tuesday April 25 (week 15-1)
Project 2 GROUP A (individual meeting for Milestone #1)
Thursday April 27 (week 15-2)
Project 2 working critique for all (Milestone #2 critique of classmates' work)
Tuesday May 02 (week 16 - finals)
Project 2 & abstract due at 2:45 pm.
We will meet during the final exam period (2:45 pm - 4:45 pm) to have a final critique.
Assignments & Student Evaluation
In P369 you will be expected to complete seven small assignments and two large projects over a variety of sound design-related topics. While each is different in nature, the format, point structure, and deliverables will be similar. In general, Assignments are smaller, 10-point activities that help you to become more familiar with the various steps involved in the sound design process. Projects are worth 70 points and challenge you to complete an entire stand-alone sound design for a video, animation, game, or podcast.
- Sound Design Assignments (7x10 points)
- While these seven assignments are due at different points throughout the semester, you are able to re-do any of them for full credit provided that they were initially turned in on time and that the quality of work earns a passing grade. Your "re-dos" must be completed and posted to our shared Box folder by the end of the day, April 6. Be sure to name your new work clearly and notify your instructor when you turn in the new version.
- Sound Design Projects (2x70 points)
- Projects require you to create a complete sound design for a silent media work. You will choose from video, animation, game, and audiobook projects. Each of these requires an additional, written component called an "abstract." Read about how to write a P369 abstract.
- Participation (15 points)
- An additional 15 points will be added for participation. This score is cumulative and will be based on your overall involvement and engagement in the course throughout the entire semester. All students will earn a midterm participation score to help them gauge their efforts. This score does not in any way guarantee a student's final participation grade and should be viewed by the student as a metric to either improve or maintain. As always, students are more than welcome to see the instructor in office hours to discuss any questions or concerns over their performance or a course grade.
Graduate students enrolled for credit
To earn graduate credit for this course you must choose and complete one research-based project or one practice-based project. The specific focus and topic of these projects is loosely defined and can be negotiated with your instructor to suit your particular needs or interests.
Research (choose one)
- Write a research paper (3500 words) on a contemporary artist or sound designer. Your paper should clearly demonstrate a link their work to your own interests. Images and audio examples are expected.
- Write a report (2500 words) on contemporary audio software. Pick five software tools we have not used in class this semester and write about them: strengths, weaknesses, interface paradigm, etc. Screenshots and audio examples that demonstrate the capabilities of each software are expected.
Written research should include supporting audio & visual examples. In lieu of a traditional research paper format, students may present their work in an integrated format on the web.
Practice (choose one)
- Audio installation
- Sound design for a 1-2 minute film or video
- Sound design for a game or mobile app prototype
This project must begin with a written proposal that includes the scope of the work to be completed, a project timeline, and plans to present or show the finished piece during the semester you are enrolled in this course.
All assignments are "turned in" when all required elements are posted to our shared folder in IU Box. Students may also be required to turn in the source media files used to produce their work. Each assignment will have a due date listed on the class schedule. Grade records will be maintained using Canvas. Understand that Canvas is used for reporting scores on individual assignments; not official final grades.
"If it's early it's on time. If it's on time it's late. If it's late you're fired." — Gino Brancolini
All work must be delivered the day the assignment is due, at the beginning of the class period. Assignments received within 24 hours of the due date earn a grade no higher than D+ and will receive no comments from the instructor. Work received later than one day after the due date will not be accepted, and the assignment will earn 0 points.
Grading Scale (grades reported in Canvas)
|A+||100||Amazing performance; rarely ever happens.|
|A||96-99||Superior performance; student work goes far above and beyond requirements of the course; demonstrates a command of course material through an innovative and creative application of concepts; far exceeds course expectations.|
|A-||91-95||Excellent performance; student work goes far above and beyond requirements of the course; demonstrates a command of course material through an innovative and creative application of concepts.|
|B+||88-90||Very good performance; student work meets requirements and demonstrates creative or thoughtful application of course material; exceeds course expectations.|
|B||84-87||Solid work; student performance meets requirements and demonstrates a good understanding of course material.|
|B-||81-83||Above average; work that meets requirements and demonstrates better than average understanding of course material.|
|C+||78-80||Work that meets requirements and shows promise.|
|C||74-77||Work that meets all basic requirements.|
|C-||71-73||Work that meets requirements but is not especially polished or thoughtful.|
|D+||68-70||Below average work.|
|D||64-67||Below average work.|
|D-||60-63||Below average work.|
Books, Equipment & Other Resources
The Sound Effects Bible: How to Create and Record Hollywood Style Sound Effects
by Ric Viers
Ric Viers at YouTube
A very good, practical, hands-on resource for aspiring sound designers.
The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide Part Two:Sound Conversations With (un)Sound People
by Kelley Baker
A book for students and professionals that explores both theory and technique of film audio from the perspective of industry professionals.
Pro Tools Documentation
In ProTools go to the Help menu where there are a variety of resources to help with software operations, technical problems, and plug-ins. The "official" Avid documentation is also available as a PDF in /Applications/ Avid/ Pro Tools/ Documentation/Pro Tools /Pro Tools Reference Guide.pdf
These "books" will guide you through any and all technical processes related to the sound design work you will be doing this semester.
Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema
by David Sonnenschein
David Sonnenschein at YouTube
This deals with the more theoretical aspects of sound design and demonstrate how sound designers use creative problem solving in their work. Not required but recommended.
Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen
by Michel Chion
Columbia University Press, ISBN 0-231-07899-6
This book is not required but will be part of our discussions to provide an interesting theoretical perspective on many of the topics we discuss. Chapters 1-5 and 7-8 are available at Google Books. This book is also available at the IU library.
Some of the best video tutorials available on a myriad of topics. IU students and faculty can access these tutorials using their Monroe County Public Library card.
Other recommended readings
Required books are available at the Friends of Art Bookshop
Where is the Friends of Art Bookshop? It's right on campus: 7th Street next to the Showalter Fountain, in Fine Arts room 120. Hours are Monday-Thursday: 9-6, Friday 9-5, Saturday-Sunday 1-5. Visa, Master Card, Discover, checks, & cash accepted. Prepayment by phone or email can be arranged – call 812/855-1333, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details or more information.
University computer labs
"Whisper Room" Foley Stage
- Our Whisper Room is in Studio 5 of the Radio-TV Center
- We have a few Foley pits with a variety of surfaces: grass, brick, hardwood, and gravel. Construction is underway for a pit that can hold water, mud, and other sloppy-sounding materials.
- Currently, students should use Zoom recorders while working here.
- Hours are contingent on the Studio 5 shooting schedule. See Canvas> Pages> Whisper Room Scheduling for details (these change every semester).
- Make an online request to use the Whisper Room. Complete the entire form or your request will not be considered. Please allow 3 business days in advance to facilitate scheduling.
Zoom recorders (H4n)
Marantz recorders PMD670—use only if there are no Zoom recorders available
- Owner's manual (right-click to save PDF document)
- T369 Mobile recorder "How-to" (right-click to save PDF document)
- Don't forget your compact flash card (the kind that is approx. 1.5" square)
Presonus Audiobox USB interface
Microphones available at the Radio-TV Production Lab (TV157)
Equipment checkout @ Radio-TV Production Lab (TV157)
Format your portable hard drive
Walla track script
Home-brew contact mics
Online sound libraries
Misc. Sound Design people, gear, tutorials
The color temperature can convey a lot about the character and feel of a scene. In this lab your job is to create moods in a short film using color temperature as your tool.
1. Write a Short Script. You need to write a script/scenario for a 1-2 minute short film which utilizes BOTH a Cool Shot and a Warm shot.. Don't just make the changes in color temperature random - make them an integral part of your short story.
A Neutral Shot
A Warm Shot
A Cool Shot
The script can be in any genre - any style - whatever you want but you must include the line "I just don't understand it" somewhere in the script.
2. Shoot your Film Gather your resources and shoot your film. Remember it's not the real temperature of the scene but where you set your color temperature in relation to the light on set that determines whether your shot will look neutral/warm/cool.
3. Grab a group photo of your cast and crew at the end of the shoot. Upload the photo in the form below.
4. Cut it together Edit your film: add sound effects, music, and color grade it to your taste and finish your film to show. Don't be afraid to push the color temperature in your grade to achieve the effect.
5. Grab two screenshots: one of your warm shot and a screen shot of your cool shot.
6. Upload the finished film to YouTube or Vimeo. You can title the film however you want. In the video description put the following:
This was made for Filmmaker IQ's Hot and Cold Color Temperature Lab
Submitted by >>YOUR USER NAME<< >>Date<<
You can then add credits and whatever you want below that.
Make sure your film is NOT SET TO PRIVATE and share the link in the form below.
Keep in mind that drama is about conflict, and you can show this conflict through different color temperatures. The Color Temperature shifts should mean something to the short story you are trying to tell.
Don't be afraid to mix color temperatures. You can create some interesting composition with two different qualities of light. - in the example below, you could consider this your "warm" shot - The foreground lighting is warm. You would still need "cool" shot (Perhaps from the outside of the house looking in)
You could experiment with color temperature of the sun: there's Golden Hour, Twilight and Blue Hour. The color temperature will also vary between clear sunny days and overcast days.
Go make something great!