Creating videos is half about the visuals and half about the sounds. But when you’re just getting started, there is a ton to figure out just on the visuals side, and when you add in audio, it can be overwhelming to say the least.
This month, we’re on a mission to help you get your audio bearings in the world of filmmaking. To kick it off, we created a tutorial about capturing amazing natural sounds with minimal gear. Now, we’re diving into common audio terms that are important for all video creators to know. While this isn’t an exhaustive list (there are a lot of audio-related terms!), it’s a great primer on some of the more prevalent phrases for you to tuck away in your knowledge bank.
Natural sound (also called “nat sounds”) are sounds that are produced in their actual setting — a.k.a., nature. They’re the sounds of wind, tree branches, animals, insects, cars whizzing by, horns honking, etc., all of which add a layer of realism to your films.
Foley is the recreation of noises synced to picture. This can either be made from the objects that appear in your film, or from completely different sources. For example, a bag of corn starch rustled in your hands hands sounds eerily similar to footsteps in snow — and now you don’t have to stand out in the cold to record that sound.
Sound effects, unlike foley, aren’t recorded to sync directly with picture. They are either created artificially or by enhancing existing sounds. Think explosions, mechanical sounds, or made-up objects (light sabers!).
Walla is background sound, which typically captures the noise of a crowd or conversation. Walla adds a foundation to your films, particularly in scenes where you’d expect to hear distant ambient conversations, such as a couple dining at a busy restaurant. Pro tip: if you’re directing your extras and trying to record walla, ask them to describe what they ate for lunch in the last seven days … all at the same time.