Ever wondered the purpose of sound in film?

Despite the baffling nature, the place of sound in a film is often overlooked. We view the film as a visual medium but what we forget is that it takes sound to bring out the mood and convey the message of the story. Imagine pressing the mute button, what happens to the film? It loses its meaning just like tasteless salt.

Sound helps us achieve the following when it comes to movies:

  • Intensifying the mood
  • Providing info about the location of the scene; if it’s at sea
  • Advance plot of the story
  • Tells more about the characters in the film

Sound is categories into two:

  • Diegetic: These are all fictitious audio elements that come from sources inside the movie. They include dialogue or footsteps.
  • Non-Diegetic: these are audios that come from outside of the fictional world.


The good old golden day, from the likes of Charlie Chaplin films, sound was not embraced that much as it is today. Silent movies where the boom back in the day; a simple guitar or piano playing in the background was considered enough especially in stage performance. From a multi-piece pit orchestra for openings to a solitary piano, was found to be sufficient for entertainment in film. Thanks to advanced technology meet, the film industry has evolved its involvement of music in the movies. Sound is no longer a presider (introductory and ending clause) but an accompaniment of motion in film.

Significance in film set

  1. Simulating Reality

Just from the sound you can tell where the plot of a movie is taking place even without looking. The whole point of music in a film is to give you the illusion that you are in the real world. Sound has been able to achieve this effect by simulating real life situations. Most often, the sound effects heard in different scenes are often not the sounds that were recorded during production. Most sound effects, such as general ambient noise, footsteps, car horns, and gunshots are reinvented and added by the sound editorial team. To get the job done, it requires hours of going through music libraries or creating sounds down from the ground, to bring the realistic feel to you the viewer.

2. Manipulating Emotion and Mood

An excellent film producer knows how to manipulate your emotions and mood in the film with different sound techniques. Ever watch a movie with a sad storyline and find yourself breaking down in tears without you noticing? Well, all this is the work of sound motions. The perfect soundtrack can bring out the picture the author of the film was trying to convey even if the pictures are not that captivating. This applies in particular to horrors and romantic movies.

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