Film Sound Cliches



what is the film sound design for ?

Animals are never ever silent - dogs whine/bark/yip, cats meow or purr, cows moo, even in cases where most animals wouldn't be making a sound.
Rats, mice, squirels and other vermin always make the tiny little squeeky noises constantly while they are on screen.
Dolphins always make that same "dolphin chatter" sound when spinning, jumping, etc.
All bicycles have bells (that sounds)
Bombs always have big, blinking, beeping timer displays.
Car tires "always" screech on dirt roads.
Car breaks must always squeak
Car tires must always squeal when the car turns, pulls away or stops
Every button you press on a computer makes some kind of beep
Until around the late '80s, whenever you heard a thunderclap in a movie, it was probably "Castle Thunder".
Storms start instantaneously: there's a crack of thunder and lightning, then heavy rain starts falling.
Endlessly used on television (especially in TV shows produced at Universal Studios during the '70s and '80s) and in many films as well - is the sound of a telephone ringing.
Helicopters always fly from surround to front-speakers.
more list on


What is sound design used for...
I'm going to be perfectly blunt and brutally honest with you here.

The sound designer's job, and the reason for sound design, is just that... to design the way a film will sound.

Their job is to decide how each thing in the film will sound... do they always pick a realistic design? NO... why? because film is an art, and the sound is just one part of that. Films are not reality... and if they decide to take artistic license with such things as substituting a differen't bark/growel for a small dog to make it seem more threatening, then they're going to do that.

A reason that things are never silent... is because when things in films are silent... people stop believing... over the course of the years, filmmakers have discovered, that though not everything needs a sound... there always has to be some kind of sound connection to a visual object... wether it's purely ambiant, or a swoshing tail, or a trotting pony... it helps us to creat an illusion for our audiences that is "more real" for the durration of the film... at the end of the film, the illusion is ended, and life goes on.

Reasons why sound is recycled over & over again... is simply due to the expensive costs of creating/capturing brand new sounds...
it's quite the enterprise to take on... and is usually reserved for the larger budget and sometimes epic films.

For instance... for the Star Wars films, LOTR films, Indiana Jones films, etc... there are teams of individuals and partners traveling the planet (literally) to find the sounds they need... or to create them.

However, for some films... like... oh, let's say "Anchorman" just for fun... it does not make fiscal sense to attempt an entirely unique sound design... so, they purchase sounds and recycle sounds that they already own... those sounds are then designed into the film... maybe they tweak the EQ...
Filmmaking may be an art... but at the moment, it's one of the riskiest art enterprises in history... The cost of making a film is a HUGE risk, and wether we like it or not, that has to be taken into account... and that's why a lot of times you'll hear the same sounds repeated... even in Star Wars & LOTR... because it's just not responsible financially... and that matters.