By Jordan Gardner

In this report I will be writing on the use of sound in a range of mediums from a production, aesthetic and technical standpoint.

First uses of sound within media

The first microphone was created in 1665 by Robert Hooke. A microphone Is a type of acoustic transducers or sensor, which converts sound in air into electrical signals.

Diegetic sound

Diegetic sound is one of the biggest methods of sound used to bring scenes to life. Diegetic sound is dialogue and ambient sounds for example people talking, traffic even a dog barking in the background. This sound can occur on or off screen as long as it’s in the world for the character to hear and not just directed towards the audience.  Diegetic sound can be used with non – diegetic to create a certain mood or to emphasise certain scenes.

Dialogue is classed under diegetic sound this is due to the fact that characters can hear each other talk verbally. Dialogue can be very important to games and movies as it can generate relationship and tension between characters. Though proven to be very effective dialogue is not needed in every interactive or visual media production a good example of a situation where minimal dialogue has been used is the TV show “Mr Bean”, which relied heavily on gestures and movement rather than words.

The accent can give a certain background to the character or may even fit into a story for example the latest movie of the Mission Impossible franchise “Mission Impossible: Syndicate” they describe the antagonist as a British white male, if he didn’t have a British accent when shown to the viewers then this would jeopardize the simplicity of the story and may even confuse the audience.


Non-diegetic Sound

Non-diegetic sound is sound that has no source from within the film itself and is added after the creation of the movie also known as post production. Games can’t have raw diegetic sound due to the environment being created using a software unless the player is playing an interactive video that uses real life environments.

Music and voice overs are both classed under the same category although they can be used for many different reasons.  A good example of a voice over used extensively through a movie is Morgan Freeman in the movie “Shawshank redemption” he explains certain parts of the story to give a better understanding for the audience and to also enhance the emotion being portrayed.


Internal Diegetic

Internal Diegetic is sounds or voices that only the character and audience can hear, but is not classed as diegetic this sometimes can be the thoughts of the character. A TV show that has taken full Advantage of this is the popular series “MR ROBOT” The show follows a hacker named Elliot who creates an imaginary friend that he talks to throughout both seasons one and two. The imaginary friend is you and I the viewer so only Elliot and the audience can hear what he is saying in his head.


Music normally fits in with what is happening on screen it doesn’t always have to match emotion, movies and games use visual actions, culture and landscapes all of which can determine the song or sounds to go along side it for example a chase scene is normally fast paced and therefore has music to match the speed. In the game “Uncharted 3” there is a mission named the “Talbot Chase” the main character “Nathan Drake” has to chase one of his enemies and stop him before he gets away. The music that “Naughty Dog” (the producers) used for this specific scene is not only fast pace, but it consists of drums and shakers this is due to the landscape and culture around the character at the time.

Music & Character

Music can be used to identify characters there are two different ways this can be done, one way is that the music is there to portray the mood and personality of someone or it can be used for a specific character to emphasis their presence a good example of this is Jaws, which was released in 1975 and quickly became a success due to the story and iconic music used.

Microphones and how they work

Microphones as well as computers where created for communication as well as retrieving data mainly to combat Nazi Germany. In WW1 microphones would be placed on the battlefield to detect sound waves form the enemy artillery this would then give whoever was using it rough coordinates to where the enemy location was.


There are many different microphones three of the main microphones used are Dynamic Microphone, Condenser Microphone and a Ribbon Microphone. Directions that a microphone can record from is very important there are different pick up patterns, which can ultimately decide what mic you will need for a project. The four most popular patterns are Monodirctetional, Bidirectional, Cardioid, and Omnidirectional.

Omni directional takes sound from a 360-degree standpoint. This allows for good environment noises as it doesn’t focus on one direct sound. While reading the book studio recording procedures I came across Polar Patterns, which is not only the direction of sound patterns, but also shows the dB rating allowing the user to determine the pitch and volume while also determining the angle upon recording.

Bidirectinal has a two direction input from sound this means that it can record from in front and behind. Shotgun mics can be used for a two-way directional input. The book “Studio recording procedures talks about how it cancels out sound from the side the book states “They all have slotted tubes that are placed in the front of their pickup elements the slotted opening allows sounds from the sides to enter the tube. This sets up a what can be termed as a phase cancelation chamber”.


Overall sound is one of the most important features of the media industry it can emphasise mood and even change emotion. After researching and writing about the different uses of sound it has become very clear how important it is and how it can emphasise the visual aspects of the media industry.