Sound Gun Episode #3: Sound Design

Taught By:

Kevin Senzaki


In our third installment of the Sound Gun series, Kevin Senzaki introduces the concept of creative Sound Design using the example of the Sound Gun itself.

Lesson Plan

Haven't seen the Sound Gun short film yet? Watch it here!

The most important thing for effective Sound Design is finding the right sounds that both compliment the action on screen as well as the tone of your movie.

For example, horror movies and comedies will treat sound design very differently, and it's important to be aware of how sound affects emotion.

In the Sound Gun short, Kevin primarily used real-world or raw sounds (or at least sounds that originally came from the real world) rather than synthesized sounds. He made that creative decision early on, due to the construction of the sound gun prop itself: it was pieced together by many different bits and pieces from every day things, and Kevin wanted the sound design of the gun to reflect that.

Sound elements Kevin used in "Sound Gun"

Sound Gun "power-up"

  • Power Drill and Air conditioner (to suggest internal mechanics)
  • Turn signal from a 1970's Honda Motorcycle
  • Dentist drill
  • hard drive start up
  • bomb fall sound in reverse
  • egg timer ding
  • sci-fi elements (to make it sound bigger and more cinematic)

Sound Gun firing

  • the power drill run through a vocal filter ("The Mouth" by Native Instruments)

Sound Gun beam starting and stopping

  • martial arts hits
  • explosions
  • assorted whooshes

Make sure that you are using sounds that compliment each other, and that each sound is doing something different. If you're not sure if a sound is adding anything, try removing it. If you can't tell the difference, leave it out. Your mix will sound a lot cleaner without it.

Extra Credit

Want some extra credit? Download the clip from this episode here, and go out and record sounds you thinking are interesting. Then put them together and create your own version of the Sound Gun! Hit the "discuss" button above to share your work, and we'll pick our favorites and give you a shout-out!