What is Sound Design? And how do you go about achieving its perfection. Annapurna College Sound faculty Sayandeb Mukherjee takes us on an auditory journey.
Annapurna College Sound faculty Sayandeb Mukherjee with Bachelor’s student Ashwin Bharde in the school’s brand new sound recording studio.
A film is about so much more than the moving images that fill a screen, it’s also about the sounds that precede an anxious moment, the crescendo that heralds a nail-biting climax, or the lilting melody that hints at a love so pure. Sound and its design plays a crucial role in the aesthetic architecture of a film, and it was then natural that the Annapurna College would invest time, effort, money and considerable expertise into building its very own Sound Recording Studio on campus. And the benefit of housing your own studio are palpable: “We don’t have to rent spaces off campus anymore,” says Sound department faculty Sayandeb Mukherjee. But that’s not all, students can now be given hands-on training in the intricate art of sound design and dubbing using state-of-the-art equipment. “When you use an outside studio, the student is allowed very little practical training; there’s more observation and less action,” says Sayandeb, “But now that we have our own studio the student can really experiment with mic placements, various setting and a number of auditory permutations and combinations.”
Sound faculty members Sanjeev Kumar (centre) and Soumen Sarkar (right) get their groove on in Annapurna College’s new sound studio.
But building a Sound Recording Studio is no simple task, and one that takes careful preparation to get it just right.
Here are Sayandeb’s top things to keep in mind while building a sound studio
- Avoid cuboid shapes because they create standing waves which really hamper sound clarity. Opt for trapezoids to minimise or negate this disruption.
- Make sure your studio is isolated from outside sounds, and has great insulation. The last thing you need is a car horn creeping through the walls and destroying your immaculate sound design.
- Make sure your acoustics are spot on. Pick the right materials and placements for your absorbers, diffusers and bass traps.
- You don’t need to have every microphone available but make sure you have one for Vocals, String instruments, Foley, Rhythmic instruments. You can build your inventory later on.
- Buy a digital mixer that can handle a higher sample rate, have a minimum Bit depth of 16 bits, and have excellent Analog to Digital capability and vice versa.
- Your mixer should also possess advanced automation features that will make your job a lot simpler in the long run.
- The number of In-Out ports should suit your needs. For instance having a 4-port mixer for a symphonic orchestra just won’t work. Opt for a 16-port mixer.