This Area of Concentration provides hands-on experience in creating and recording sound effects, dialogue, and music as they pertain to film, television, and media projects.

Leveraging the experience and resources of The Peabody Institute and featuring our sound studio co-designed by Thomas Dolby and Scott Metcalfe, the Sound Design concentration provides you the opportunity to create, edit, and mix soundtracks and soundscapes at the highest level.

Area of Concentration Courses

Four courses are required to earn this Area of Concentration within the MA in Film and Media program. One additional available course is Sound Design/Video Games - PY.550.524.

This course is a practical exploration of all aspects of mixing audio for film and tv. The students will prepare to mix during the first half of the semester, topics will include dialog editing, automated dialog replacement (ADR, or “looping”), Foley, music editing and sound effects spotting as well as basic sound design. Recording of ADR and Foley will take place in the studio at the JHU-MICA Film Centre using condenser and dynamic microphones. The class will shift its focus in the second half of the semester to re-recording mixing, exploring both the technical and creative aspects of mixing. Students will learn to mix in the Film Centre’s control room using Avid Pro Tools HD software for Apple macOS with proprietary and third-party software plug-ins. Upon completion of the course, students will know how to provide final mix files as well as stems, i.e. mix minus, M&E, dialog, sound effects, and music. Projects will include spotting, prepping, building and mixing a short film or series of scenes. Class will occur during a three-hour weekday evening throughout the semester in the sound studio of The JHU-MICA Film Centre, where students will work as a class to record and edit group projects and, schedule permitting, individual projects.

This course serves as an orientation to the recording studio and the craft of capturing sound with microphones. Topics will include sound behavior (i.e., basic acoustics), human perception of sound (i.e., basic psychoacoustics), microphone theory and techniques, signal flow and processing, basic digital audio theory, and the digital audio workstation (Pro Tools and Logic Pro). Projects will include in-studio and location recordings. By the end of the semester students will be able to effectively navigate the studio at the Ten East North facility and capture sound on location for use in subsequent classes. Should be taken prior to or concurrently with AS.445.631 Designing Sound for Film.

According to director George Lucas, “sound is half of the picture.” Great directors have always known the secret power of sound in filmmaking. While film is certainly a visual art, take out the sound and you have lost “50% of the film,” as director David Lynch has said. In this course, we follow the rapid ascent of sound in film, from early talkies to the emergence of sound as an art form of its own. We will trace the technological innovations and study the artists who helped develop the nuanced language of sound in film, surveying a variety of cinematic genres and analyzing different approaches to sound design. By the end of the course, students will have an understanding of the history of sound in film, the tools and techniques used to create soundtracks, and the essential role sound plays in the cinematic experience. The course will include extensive readings as well as viewing films, writing analytical papers and a lively ongoing discussion.

Explore the use of software and hardware as a means to create, capture, and edit music and sound for picture. Examine the role of music and sound in media and develop the skills to operate software instruments and Digital Audio Workstations. Gain an appreciation for the craft of composing music for picture - including fundamentals of music, 'spotting' a scene, and creating simple music 'cues'. Additionally, learn about editing and recording sound effects and dialogue to create complete soundtracks that incorporate soundscapes and musical compositions.

Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

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