Don't Know Beans About Sound? This Video is the Perfect Primer for You

FIQ SoundIn the first installment of Filmmaker IQ's series on sound, host John P. Hess guided you through the the origins of sound in cinema, from early inventions like the sound-on-disk Kinetophone to the very first talkie, The Jazz Singer. But, what's sound, anyway? And how do we get it into our movies? Hess explains all this and more in the second video in the series, giving us a simple, but comprehensive rundown on the science and engineering of sound, how microphones convert sound energy into electrical signals, as well as the varying kinds of mics used in film production.

The video starts at square one: air molecules, then dips into engineering territory, like what loudness is, and ends with an in-depth explanation of how microphones capture sound. I'm not afraid to admit that sound is not my forte, which is why I recommend this video so highly. Hess (as always) does an impeccable job explaining the scientific concepts of sound -- how a sound wave is created from the compression and rarefaction of air molecules, measuring amplitude and frequency, and what all of that science-y mumbo jumbo has to do with you as an indie filmmaker.

You may not walk away knowing how to record perfect sound, necessarily, but you'll certainly have a great foundational knowledge to build upon. Check out the video below and get a damn good introduction to the world of sound:

If you missed our coverage of Filmmaker IQ's first video in their sound series, you can check it out here. And be sure to check their website for the next one.

Link: The Science and Engineering of Sound -- Filmmaker IQ

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Your Comment


I read this article in Hess' voice.

August 22, 2014 at 1:33PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Scott Walter

I actually wrote it in his voice. Hess is the Morgan Freeman of indie film blogging.

August 24, 2014 at 9:00PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

V Renée
Content Manager at Coverfly

That made my day.


August 25, 2014 at 3:03PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Great Video as always, leaving the unnecessary math out, giving visuals to us artists. Thanks

August 23, 2014 at 11:53AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Hari Har

Cracking video. Reading about that stuff would easily cause my eyes to glaze over. John Hess presents beautifully. I learned a lot from this overview of audio. Thank you NFS.

August 24, 2014 at 2:46AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Scott Matthews

I thought it was presented like a video textbook, therefore still delivering a confusing and ambiguous explanation, which I'm sure could be explained in a manner more easy digested and understood by the layman. Also leaves to many unanswered questions. Experts in most subjects tend to deliver information in ways off limits to those with absolutely no background in that subject, and I believe this video to be case in point.

August 29, 2014 at 3:39AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM


Superb Stuff!

April 18, 2017 at 8:18PM

Sahit Anand
Director and Co-Founder of DO. Creative Labs