The Ultimate Guide To Audio Post Production & Sound Design

Our Ultimate Guide to Audio Post Production will serve as the complete resource for anyone looking to learn more about the craft of audio post-production. This guide contains a specially curated selection of our blog posts from our archives, as well as external content such as videos, tips, and insights from trusted industry sources.

The Audio Post Process

Pre Production

Pre production covers all of the sound related activities that need to be completed before the camera starts rolling. It typically will include the following tasks: 

Script Analysis - Reading and annotating the script to form a basis of ideas that the Director can critique and build upon.

Building a Sound Team - The Sound Supervisor may get involved with building the team for Post Production and in some cases Location Sound. It is also important to build relationships between the whole team here.

Location Visits - Location Sound Recordists and/or Sound Supervisors will want to be present during location visits to troubleshoot sound issues and to look for opportunities for recording sound effects.

Spotting Session - The Supervising Sound Editor/Sound Designer will have a meeting with the Director, to perform a thorough creative analysis of the film and it's required sound assets.

Custom Sound Effects Recording - The Sound Effects Recordist will capture sounds that add authenticity and character to the film. These recordings can be taken from a variety of places, both at the location of the production, and during specific field recording trips.

Pre Production Sound Design - Some sounds may need to be created before production begins, to be played on set for actor's cues or to meet the Director's approval in time for Post Production to start.

Check out our blog post below for 7 ways to get involved in pre production sound design:

Check out Kaine Levy's post on a Director's perspective of audio post:

Take a look at our guest post for Pro Sound Effects on how to communicate post-production with directors:

Session Preparation

The Supervising Sound Editor and Re-recording Mixer will start by building a DAW master template that is suitable for the given project. This will likely house more than enough audio tracks to cover the whole films dialogue, sound effects and foley. They will then begin importing the necessary files: Video File with guidance audio track (used for checking synchronisation between sound and picture and OMF/AAF files (used for delivery of the production tracks synced by the Picture Editor).

Dialogue Editing

The Dialogue Editor will either take sections from the master template above or use his own smaller DAW template to edit the dialogues. They will be using the OMF/AAF files delivered by the Picture Editor which contain the raw Dialogue and Location Sound recordings correctly synced to the picture. Dialogue Editing involves trimming and extending clips, adding fades, copy and pasting, swapping out takes, and rendering audio repair effects onto clips. Removing any inconsistent and discomforting sounds allows the Re-recording Mixer to perform the mix with smooth and clean dialogue tracks. The Dialogue Edit can make or break a mix, so it is crucial to ensure that this sounds great before the Producer and Director make final approvals.

Take a look at Izotope's page covering dialogue editing:

Take a look at Film Editing Pro's post covering dialogue editing:

Our guide on cleaning up dialogue using a process of elimination:

Sound Effects Editing/Sound Design

The Sound Effects/Design team is often the largest sub-department and has the most extensive workload on some projects. They will use a part of the larger master template, dragging, dropping, syncing, fading and checking audio files against the picture. They build layers of sound effects taken from personal or commercial libraries to create an immersive soundscape in line with the Directors notes.

These sounds come in multiple categories:

Spot Effects aka Cut Effects, Hard Effects - Spot Effects are intended to cover obvious sounds on screen such as doors, vehicles, fist punches etc. They may also be used to replace or enhance sounds captured on the production tracks that aren't suitable for the Final Mix. Spot Effects can be quite complex, a combination of intensive sound editing sessions and communicating with the Foley team are needed to get the best results. Action films tend to be heavier on Spot Effects, as they include more vehicles, gunshots and punches; all of which must be covered.

Background Effects aka Atmos, Ambiences - Background Effects are used to widen the stereo image of your film, and surround the viewer in the mix. They are often long, consistent and looping sounds that can give the audience a different perception of what is on screen. For example, if a scene has howling resonant wind it may feel empty or scary, but if it has tweeting birds it may feel more peaceful. Background Effects can also hide issues in the production track, and tend to sell the continuity between shots in your scenes and transitions. They can also be a way to hide issues in your production tracks. For example, if you have a generator rumble under your dialogue, you may be able to hide it with a refrigerator noise if the scene is within a house. They can be quite extensive on some projects. It is not uncommon to see 8 or more layers of ambient sound covering a scene simultaneously.

Design Effects aka Sound Design, Design - These elements cover unnatural/otherworldly sounds, musical sound design or audio that must be manipulated and heavily layered to get the desired result. Examples include monster growls, earthquakes, spaceships, trailer sound effects and drones.

Check out this video for our conversation with Kriscoart for a detailed discussion on achieving great cinematic sound design.


Foley is intended to cover human (and sometimes non human) interactions with objects. It is created by a Foley Artist watching the picture and performing relevant actions with various objects. The main aim of Foley is to cover footsteps, clothes movement and additional sounds aka props. These include details such as gun handling, kissing and coins in pockets. More advanced Foley covers content such as weather and environmental effects.


Due to the nature of how most DAW systems work, any changes to the Picture Edit that take place after the Post Production Sound Team have started working, will cause synchronisation issues. Anything from a single frame change to multiple scene cuts must be logged by the editor and delivered to the Sound Supervisor in the form of an Edit Decision List (EDL) and a new video file. It is best to avoid this as additional costs will be incurred, expensive software solutions will be needed, and the Sound Team may need to re-edit their tracklay (combination of dialogue, sound effects, foley and music) manually.


Mixing is the process of taking all of the elements within the soundtrack and balancing them into a cohesive tapestry of sound. The Final Mix will be performed by the Dubbing Mixer/Re-recording Mixer after all of the tracklay is completed and the Director has approved the work. The Re-recording Mixer will use a combination of software tools to sculpt the mix, ensuring that dialogue is consistent, the foley is realistic, sound effects have an interesting surround field, the music blends well and there is a pleasant tonal balance overall.

Job Roles

While many audio post professionals cover multiple roles when completing a project, understanding the key differences between of each of the different job roles is essential. This is especially important you move higher up the food chain and are working on more large-scale productions, as work tends to become more specialised with individuals/small teams covering a specific area of the audio production. Knowing what each role entails is essential for smooth cooperation between teams and understanding how you fit into the bigger picture.

Sound Designer

A Sound Designer is a multi skilled sound professional who gets creatively and technically involved with making sounds to tell a story. On smaller budget projects, the Sound Designer may also be the Dialogue Editor, Sound Editor, Re-recording Mixer, Sound Supervisor and sometimes the Foley Artist.

Dialogue Editor

Dialogue Editors take the Location Sound that is synced up by the picture editor, and work to ensure a constant flow of dialogue without clicks, pops, noise, distortion and discontinuities.

Sound EFFECTS Editor

A Sound Effects Editor takes recordings from sound libraries and places them in sync with the picture to help create a seamless flow of continuity and narrative.

Re-Recording Mixer/Dubbing Mixer

A Re-recording Mixer takes the audio tracks that the team have created, deciding which elements will remain (in line with the Director's notes) as well as their overall tonal balance, distance perception and technical needs for the final deliverables of the Sound Mix.

Foley Artist

Foley Artists perform sounds that would be impractical to create with sound effects and sound design. Examples include footsteps, cloth movement and gun handling. They also add a layer of continuity to your actors performance.

Foley Mixer

Foley Mixers record the sounds that the Foley Artist creates, giving them feedback on the performance whilst listening for technical issues.

Foley Editor

Foley Editors edit the Foley Artist's work, to make it sync with the picture and to assure that it is suitable for mixing by the Re-recording Mixer.

Sound Supervisor/Supervising Sound Editor

A head of department, who often helps with building the Sound Team and overseeing collaboration with the Director and Producers to achieve the best Final Mix possible.

Sound Effects Recordist

A Field Recordist who records custom sound effects for your project, often with high end equipment.

ADR Mixer

ADR Mixers record ADR (automated dialogue replacement) to replace unusable audio from location. They liase with the Director and Talent to get the best performance and believability out of the recordings. Check out this great video from Filmmaker IQ for an overview on the role of sound in post production.

For a more detailed look into the audio post production workflow, job roles, technology and how to get the most out of your sound designer you can check out these blog posts:

Our post on working with Sound Designers:

Our post on how Sound Designers perceive the world through their ears:


Our post on if the sound is really 50% of a film:

Our posts covering the entire post production process:

Our list of 5 essential books on sound design & audio post-production:

Beach House Studios discussing some of the differences between music and film mixing:

The Pro Audio Files' post discussing different the job roles:

Thanks for taking the time to read through our ultimate guide to audio post production! We have condensed countless hours of knowledge into this guide, with insights from our whole team that have been gained from years working in the industry. Please consider supporting us by making a purchase from the 344 Audio store!

Filmmakers/Editors - How to Deliver audio & video assets to your sound designer

Step 1: The Prep

When editing your film, keep dialogue, sound effects and music on separate tracks so that the AAF/OMF file we describe in the following section is organised upon delivery. You should never delete alternative mic options from the dialogue tracks, as your sound team may be able to use these later. When editing, audio synchronisation is crucial. Once you have synchronised your dialogue, the video and audio regions should stay linked so avoid sound slipping out of sync in your editing software.

Step 2: Audio Assets

Upload all of the audio rushes (audio takes recorded on set) to a file sharing service with a service like Google Drive, which will allow your sound team to stream selected files online and download if needed.

Complete the final locked edit of your project (this can be pre Colour Grading or Visual Effects). Completion of your final locked edit before audio delivery will ensure the most seamless workflow with your Audio Post Production Studio. Place all current dialogue tracks, ADR, voice-over, sound effects and music at their desired timecode position in your editing session.

Place a 1kHz sine wave, 1 frame in duration, 2 seconds before the video region starts. When the final mix is delivered by the Audio Post Production Studio, you can use the sync tone in your edit and match it with the one present in their mix to achieve perfect synchronisation. The video region should start at timecode 01 00 00 00, unless your distribution specifications say otherwise.

Navigate to your software’s AAF/OMF export window (as shown below), and select the following settings:

File Format: AAF / (OMF if under 2GB) with Embedded Audio (do not embed video)

Audio File Format: WAV

Bit Depth: 24 Bit

Sample Rate: 48kHz

Audio Handles: Minimum of 240 frames

This file will allow the sound team to access all of your audio edits, volume key frames and extend takes within clips (it is comparable to an XML file). The better organised it is before delivery, the happier your Audio Post Production Studio will be, and the more time they will have for creative tasks.

Step 3. Video Assets

Add a timecode indicator to your video, placed inside the visual ‘letterbox’ (or where it would be) at the bottom or top of the frame. The audio attached to your video file will need to match the AAF/OMF file, so retain all dialogue tracks, ADR, sound effects and music at their desired timecode position in your editing session.

Navigate to your software’s video export window, and select the following settings:

Video Format: MOV Video Codec: Avid DnxHD is the officially supported format by Pro Tools (H.264 if your Audio Post Production Studio are willing to convert the file)

Video Frame Rate: Matching that of your video master

Resolution: Up to 1920 x 1080

Key-frames each 12 frames, P and B frames: Disabled

Automatic Key-frames: Disabled

Audio: Linear PCM/WAV in Stereo L/R

Step 4. Online/Physical Delivery Keep all of these assets on an online file sharing service with no deletion date, and avoid using zip/rar archives. This is to reduce the risk of download corruption or lack of access. Ensure that the Audio Post Production Studio has checked and approved your assets before the start date of Audio Post.

Setting Up Your Session

In Audio Post Production, having a clear session template can be the difference between a well structured, efficient workflow, and a selection of tracks that is difficult to navigate.

Here is a breakdown of how to set up your session, and the different types of tracks to include:

Dump/Dialogue Tracks - The Dump tracks are for all of your imported OMF/AAF file data and any recordings / sound effects that won't be used in the Final Mix. They should be made inactive when not in use. The Dials/ADR tracks are for editing and mixing dialogue, voice-overs and automatic dialogue replacement (ADR).

Foley/Spot/Atmos Tracks - The Foley tracks are for editing and mixing recorded foley footsteps, cloth movements and prop sounds. The Spot tracks are for editing and mixing sound effects that are not present but are needed to fit on/off-screen cues, for example, gunshots, doors closing etc. The Atmos tracks are for editing and mixing atmospheric sound effects, for example, wind blowing, birds tweeting etc.

Design/Music Tracks - The Design tracks are for designing, editing and mixing audio material, for example, trailer impacts, monster vocalisations and sub rumbles etc. The stereo Music tracks are for editing and mixing mainly non-diegetic music. The mono Music tracks are for editing and mixing mainly diegetic music.

Auxiliary Inputs - These tracks are for balancing the levels, frequency content and dynamics between dialogue, sound effects and music in your mix. For example, routing all of your dialogue tracks out to Aux 8, lets you control the levels of the dialogue as a whole against the other elements of the mix. Aux tracks are also used for adding reverb and delay to your mix via buses.  

If you are interested in a set of professional templates for your projects, take a look at our Audio Post Production Template: Ultimate Edition Bundle on the 344 Audio store:

You can also find more in-depth coverage of how to set up your session, as well as tips for a successful spotting session with your director, and optimising Pro Tools for video playback in these blog posts below.

Our guide on building a basic post-production template:

Our guide on what to discuss in a sound design spotting session:

Our guide on how to improve video playback in Pro Tools:

Our guide on how clients should deliver AAF/Video files to you:

Capturing Sounds

Capturing your own sounds is an essential part of the audio post production process. No matter how many sound effects libraries their are to choose from, there will always come a point in a project where you can't find the sound you need, and must either capture or create it. You will principally turn to either field recording, or foley as your solution.

Field Recording

The process of recording sounds "in the field". That means taking your recording equipment to a location that sonically matches the one in your project and capturing the sounds you need. The outdoors nature of field recording means that the microphones used tend to differ quite a bit in design from their studio counterparts. There is a particular focus on capturing sounds in their most natural form, and in the highest fidelity possible.

Check out our recap of the extensive field recording sessions that were completed in Feb 2021:

Check out our 5 essential tips for field recording:

Check out our post on 5 unique sounds you will find in the UK:

Check out A Sound Effects' post on urban field recording:

Soundonsound's post on what to consider when recording outside:

Foley Recording

The process of matching the physical movements an actors performance and recording the associated sounds such as footsteps, cloth movement and prop interaction. Foley differs from field recording in that it takes place in a studio environment, and you are capturing the actions of a foley artist instead of natural occurrences.

If you are interested in recording professional-grade foley in your studio, take a look at our guide to building your own D.I.Y foley pit:

You can find out more about foley in this great video from BAFTA Guru.

Crafting/Designing Sounds

There are 2 primary methods of designing sounds from scratch. They are making the sound using a synthesiser, or taking a real-world sound as a starting point and manipulating it for the desired effect.

Synthesis is the process of creating sounds using specialised hardware/software called synthesisers. Synthesizers typically come in two forms, hardware and software.

Hardware analogue synths are physical objects containing electronic circuit boards that generate sounds and allow the user to control them based on different parameters. The user shapes the sound using different physical inputs (knobs and sliders) to manipulate the voltage/signal travelling through the circuit. Hardware synths typically have a rich and fiery sound compared to software alternatives. Some hardware synths use fully digital sound generation, and therefore have more flexibility, but can sound more like their software counterparts.

Software Synthesizers function in a similar way except there are no physical components controlling the sound, meaning that everything happens digitally. Because there are no physical limitations restricting design, software synths generally offer much more flexibility than hardware, and will be more accessible to most users. Another huge advantage of almost all software synthesisers is the ability to save your patches for future use and to use an almost unlimited amount of iterations at once.

Synthesizers offer an unparalleled level of control when creating sounds, and will be useful for a wide variety of sound design tasks.

Our blog about designing sounds with hardware effects:

Our blog detailing the best Reaktor ensembles for film and game sound design:

Our demonstration of using hardware synths for sound design:

Our demonstration of using hardware effects for sound design:

Although synthesisers allow the user to manipulate sounds with the most precision, they often lack the sense of weight and physicality that comes from sounds occurring in the real world. The manipulation of real-world sounds is the way to bridge the gap, and will often yield results that would be very difficult if not impossible to replicate with a synthesiser.

This method is especially useful for creating sounds that have a 'designed' quality, but still feel like they exist in our world, which is a critical part of sound design. We have a huge array of tools to work with nowadays, so get creative and see what you can conjure up. Common everyday objects can become monstrous with the right care and attention!

A great example of manipulating everyday sounds is our sound effects library Household Drones:

Specific methods of audio manipulation to implement.

- Modification of pitch, playback speed or bit rate.

- Cut or boost frequencies with EQ or filter.

- Use modulation tools such as chorus, flanger, phaser.

- Use heavy reverb/delay.

- Reverse the sound.

- Apply harmonic processes like distortion and saturation.

- Degrade the sound using lo-fi effects.

- Layer multiple sounds together.

Understanding how to manipulate and re-purpose sounds will allow you to extract the maximum value out of the assets you are working with.

In this video sound editor Mark Mangini gives us a short masterclass on sound effects editing.

Synthesis vs. field recording, which is more effective? Our article on 5 films to study for their amazing sound design:

Our 3-part guide on how to create your own Kontakt Instrument:

How to make horror sound effects:

How to sound design Halloween:

How we created the sound for the racing film Challenger:

How to create Anime style sound effects:

An introduction to creative sound design:

ASMR and sound design:

Writing music with toys:

Electric coil pickups:

Top 5 audio manipulation plugins for Pro Tools:

Voice Manipulation

The Human voice is an incredibly powerful sound design tool, not only for the range of sounds it can produce but for the simple fact that it is accessible to everyone.

Orcs, trolls, zombies and everything in between are brought to life through the use of manipulated voice sounds, and there are several staple effects that show up time and time again. These include pitch shifting, reversing, and modulation.

Pitch shifting is a great tool for changing a voice into a new creature. Lowering the pitch for example will give the impression of the voice being from a large creature, whilst raising the pitch will do the opposite. Pitching things down can also bring out different harmonics in the voice that weren't apparent at its regular pitch. This technique is especially useful for creature effects like growls and snarls.

Modulation effects such a chorus, flanger and frequency shifters are used to give a voice an electronic or metallic quality. These effects are frequently used in science fiction for robotic and AI characters. Vocoders are also a great option for this kind of sound, as they give the voice a resonant tone that is very synthetic.

Another staple effect is the use of reversed whispers and vocalisations in a horror film to raise the creep factor. Try blending a reversed whisper with the un-reversed signal and apply a heavy reverb to create an unnerving wash of sound.

Some of our sound effects libraries that were created using the human voice:

Here are some useful voice manipulation plugins for you to check out:

How To Build A Sound Effects Library

Creating a sound effects library is a task that combines creative thinking, technical execution and project management skills. At 344 Audio we have developed an efficient and effective process that has been honed over countless releases and allows us to consistently generate new content over time.

Step 1 - Concept

The first thing you need to figure out when creating a sound effects library is the concept. This can be anything you want, but it helps to focus on a certain theme, aesthetic or type of sounds that work together.

Some previous examples of our library concepts include: Practical Doors - Practical Doors contains a range of interior and exterior door sound effects with common uses: open, close, creak, slam, keys, locks, latches, knocks and many more! Trailer instruments Designed - Trailer Instruments Designed contains a variety of effects captured from instruments and manipulated into impacts, drones, stingers, risers and more. The Burger Kitchen - The Burger Kitchen contains a wide variety of food preparation, eating and handling sounds captured in our foley suite.

As we can see, these libraries each have a unique theme and focus on different kinds of sounds, and would be useful in different contexts. Having a solid concept is key as it not only gives you boundaries to work within, but will help add some personality to your library and help it stand out in the marketplace.

Step 2 - Structure

Once you have your concept nailed down the next step is to decide on the structure of your library. This means how many sounds will there be in total? How will you organise the sounds within the library and how many subfolders will your library contain? Let's use an "Impacts Library" as an example 80 files in total Folder 1 - Electronic Impacts - 20 Sounds

Folder 2 - Organic Impacts - 20 Sounds

Folder 3 - Designed Impacts - 20 Sounds

Folder 4 - Crazy Metallic Impacts - 10 Sounds

Folder 5 - Sub Impacts - 10 Sounds

Using this structure as a reference, you can make a list of sounds that you will need to record to build the library.

Structuring your library in this way breaks up the content and makes it easier for the user to find the sounds they are looking for. It also helps you during the recording and editing phase as you know exactly what you are working towards in terms of the number of sounds and what is in each subfolder.

Step 3 - Recording

Now we are getting to the fun stuff. The recording phase is where the magic happens, so it's crucial that you get this stage of the process absolutely spot on! A few things to consider before you begin recording are: What kind of sounds are you recording? Are they more external "field recording" sounds or are you able to capture them in a controlled studio environment?

Do the sounds need to be in mono or stereo? Mono is most common for "spot fx" and stereo is more commonly used for atmos, or sounds with an inherent spacial element to them such as a car passing left to right, trains going past etc. What kind of microphones and pickup patterns will you be using? Dynamic, Condenser, Shotgun, Cardioid mic etc. Are the sounds being processed heavily during the editing & design stage? Once you have given this some thought and have decided on your approach, it's time to start making some noise. Whilst the recording stage can most definitely be completed by one person, it is much easier when there are 2 people doing it, as one of you can take charge of recording whilst the other can "perform" the sounds. We recommend working in a team of 2 for maximum speed and efficiency during this stage of the process.

Operating as a pair, work through the list of sounds that you wrote during the structure phase until you have captured all of the source material that you need in order to build the library. As a general rule it's always more favourable to have too much source material over not enough, so make an effort to capture as much as possible. By taking a little extra time and capturing as many sounds as you can you will be giving yourself the most amount of content to work within the editing & design phase.

Step 4 - Editing & Additional Design

With the recording complete it's now time to move into the editing and design phase. This is where you will take your raw source material and start bringing them to life, either through editing or additional design and effects processing.

When editing your sounds, it's important to consider the end-user and in what context they will be using the sounds. For example, when editing our Practical Doors library, we specifically made all of the doors have a consistent level and frequency content, so that they would all feel right when placed in a scene together. You should edit your sounds in a way that makes things easy for the sound editor so that they can drop sounds into their project timeline and work within the scene with minimal fuss. There is a lot more to editing than just chopping files, making fades and stripping silences. The editing phase is your chance to be really creative, and give your sounds that bold, dramatic feel that will make them stand out. Some techniques to implement during editing include: Play with extremes - Don't play it safe. Embrace large dynamics and make use of contrast between quiet and loud sounds to maximise their impact.

Heighten the drama - Try and edit your sounds in a way that conjures up an image, indicates some real-world physicality and motion or has a visceral effect on you when you hear it. For example, in our gore library "Slaughter" we were editing sounds for a human body being crushed. We spend a lot of time thinking about how this would actually play out in reality, and the different phase's of the body being broken down, skin, bones, blood, guts etc. Approach editing like this took our sound from "decent" to genuinely stomach-churning, which is exactly the effect a gore library needs to have.

Fill out the frequency content - Combine and layer different recordings together so that you can fill up the frequency spectrum and give each sound that big, bold weightiness that is so characteristic of modern movie sound effects. There may be instances where editing isn't enough and you must use effects processing to create the sounds required for your library. This is something we do quite often, especially on libraries with an otherworldly or Sci-Fi concept to them, or when we are constructing drones and atmospheres from everyday sound sources.

Some go-to processing methods that we love to use are: Reverbs with long decay times.

Modulation effects - Flangers, phasers, chorus. Crazy comb filters, LFOs and modulation delays. Pitch and formant shifting.

Step 5 - Quality Control

The quality control phase is super important, as it is your last chance to address any errors in your library before release and make sure that everything is sounding perfect. Once you have exported all of your sounds from your daw, listen through all of your sounds from start to finish and be attentive to any technical or aesthetic issues as you go. These may be things such as excess silence in the file, unwanted clicks and pops and sounds being cut off from improper fade ins/outs.

Most common issues can be avoided by paying close attention during the recording and editing phases, but it's always worth double and triple-checking in case any unwanted sounds have slipped through the cracks and made it all the way to this stage without being flagged up and corrected.

Once you have checked through all of your sounds and are happy with everything it's time to embed metadata into the files. Metadata are additional tags that you can attach to a file that makes it easier for people to find when they are searching through their sound libraries.

For example, we may have a bone-breaking sound called "Bone Break 01.Wav" but we would like to give it additional tags so that it appears in searches relating to "horror" and "gore".

There are several programs that will allow you to achieve this but we use the sound effects platform Soundly, as it has a great interface and is really helpful for organising your sound effects. Within Soundly, select the sound you want to add metadata, right-click and go "edit metadata". This will then bring up a window where you can edit both the file metadata and file originator (Author of the file, in our case 344 Audio). In the metadata section simply type your additional search tags each separated by a comma. File Name: Bone Break 01

Originator: 344 Audio (In your case it might be "Johns Samples" etc.) Metadata: Bone, Break, Snap, Injury, Gore, Horror, Violent, Fall, Fracture

By adding the metadata it makes it much easier for the user to find your sounds and gives them a little bit more information about the context in which to use them.

Step 6 - Artwork, Description, Demo Track

The final stage before releasing your library is to create some killer artwork, write up an enticing description for use on online stores, and make a demo track to show off your library and get people hyped up. Artwork - We think its best to keep things simple and consistent when it comes to artwork. Use an online tool to create some custom graphics that can be saved as a template for use across your future library releases. There is a range of awesome websites that allow you to make custom graphics. We use Adobe Spark as it has a large range of stock images to choose from and a user-friendly interface.

Choose a background image that links to the concept of your library and then overlay some text with the name of the library. You can then finish it off with your company or brand logo in the corner to let your users know who the library is from. Descriptor - This covers all of the text that will be used to help sell the library and is broken down into product tagline and product description. Your tagline should be short, sweet and enticing. Try and write something that will whet the appetite of a potential customer and get them intrigued about the sounds in the library. Our tagline for "British Soldier Voices" - "British Soldier Voices contains 800+ soldier vocalisations including orders, commands, shouts, grunts and more performed at different intensities. All recorded up close and personal for use in video games, film and other media content. Recorded in 24Bit 96kHz, allowing for further sonic manipulation."

Your product description goes into more detail and explains to the customer exactly what is contained within the library, and some specific technical information such as the number of files and sample rate etc.

Our product description for "British Soldier Voices" - Phrases include genuine language used by SAS, Army, Royal Navy and Paratroopers as well as exaggerated script elements. We consulted real British Armed Forces Personnel to ensure that our scripts were accurate and performed correctly by our voice talent. Both modern phrases and historical phrases are included, extending the libraries use beyond modern warzones.

Whether you are making an FPS game featuring the SAS, a film featuring the armed forces or need voice effects for training purposes, this library covers both real-life commands as well as phrases included for dramatic effect. All lines are included clean along with a processed version to add quick army radio comms to any project, perfect for video game implementation!

If you think your sound collection is in need of some reinforcements then this is the library for you!

Here are the included folders:

Whispering: Perfect for stealth mission and special forces operations, using the element of surprise.

Talking: Soldiers speaking at normal levels, perfect for instructing commands or for training exercises.

Shouting: Perfect intonation for heavy battle in close proximity with the enemy, lock and load!

Grunts: A collection of grunts and efforts perfect for close-quarters combat or when a soldier is hit. Specs: 1600+ files • 1600+ sounds • 24 Bit / 96 kHz | 16 Bit / 44.1 kHz • 435 MB • Includes metadata Demo Track - Most people are going to want to listen to some examples of the library before making a purchase, so here is where the demo track comes in. The demo track should be about a minute in length and show off the full range of sounds within your library in an interesting and exciting way. Be creative and try and create something that is fun to listen to and links back to the concept of the library. Try and give your demo track a sense of rhythm and that it is building towards a climax. Even if the sounds in your library don't have a musical quality to them, injecting a bit of rhythm and bounce to your demo track will help your library stand out and give the potential customer a positive impression.

Keys To Success

Whilst we have given you our step by step process in a general sense, below are a few extra tips that will help you turbocharge your workflow and generate consistent results over time. Teamwork is king - There's nothing that you can do alone that wouldn't have been done in less time and to a better standard than in a team. Develop a team of people to work on your libraries and you can complete a more diverse range of projects in less time than alone. Break up the workload - Split the different stages of the process amongst the different members of your team. Whilst one person is recording someone else can be preparing the pro tools session for editing. Or if one person is editing someone else can be writing the descriptions and creating the artwork.

Develop a repeatable process - It sounds like a no-brainer but develop a process for creating sound effects libraries that you can repeat time and time again. This way no matter what the concept or content of the library is, everyone will be on the same page and know where they are up to in the process, and what stage comes next.

Be consistent - By keeping things consistent you will be able to produce content as faster speeds. By working in the same studio, following the same step by step process with the same team of people and equipment you are eliminating unknown variables and will over time become a well-drilled and efficient unit.

If you are interested in sound design and want to know more about building sound effects libraries, check out the links below or head over to the 344 audio store and check out some of the products that the team have created:

Our step by step guide on how to build your own sound effects library for commercial release:

Further articles & guides on building your own sound effects library:

Working With Sounds

Knowing how to make cool sounds is one thing, but being able to work efficiently with them is a whole different game and shouldn't be overlooked. Time is always a critical factor in delivering great work so you should work to maintain an efficient workflow when building soundscapes.

Take a car chase or fight scene for example. We know that there will be lots of similar sounds use to fill out this scene in the form of engine noise, tire squeals, punches, kicks etc. It therefore makes sense to work with a batch of sounds you have auditioned and are happy with for each layer. These can be can quickly copied and pasted across your scene rather than sifting a gigantic library and placing sound effects one at a time.

You can also use a common element to "glue" sounds together such as a low frequency sine wave layer to add some beef to punches for example. This can be copied and pasted in place each time the same effect happens to give a consistent tone across the scene.

Implementing these techniques will give you a more architectural approach to building your scenes and maximise your efficiency.

Check out this video from Pro Sound Effects where veteran sound designer Richard King talks us through how to approach a project with multiple scenes.

Our top tips on action sound effects editing:

Our post on how to use subconscious sound techniques in your film:

The 5 best online sound effects resources:

Hyperbitsmusic's 5 innovative sound design techniques:

Designingsound's guide on adapting your sound editing workflow for your mixer:

Where to Purchase/Download Royalty Free sound effects

344 Audio Store:

Pro Sound Effects:


The Sound Pack Tree:

22GB free sound effects in the Game Audio GDC Bundle:

A huge library of free sound effects - Freesound:


A film's musical score is an important piece of the puzzle. Music has the innate ability to convey the emotion of a story and is a powerful device for the director to employ. Its important from an audio post perspective to have a good knowledge of the music composition process and to understanding the key terminology. You will most likely be collaborating with a composer at some point, so knowing the language that they speak in will be a huge help. Composers, whilst falling under the umbrella of "sound" tend to come at things from a different direction than sound designers and the audio post team. Its important to consider how the overall sonic picture of the film will be built up and to leave space for the music to shine through. 5 tips for film composers:

How to record an orchestra:

Working with a live string ensemble:

Raindance's guide on recording and mixing music for film:

Thanks for taking the time to read through our ultimate guide to audio post production! We have condensed countless hours of knowledge into this guide, with insights from our whole team that have been gained from years working in the industry. Please consider supporting us by making a purchase from the 344 Audio store!

Mixing Process / Delivery Standards

Mixing is the process of balancing all of the different pieces that make up a film's soundtrack.

The mixing stage usually consists of pre-mixing and the final mix...


The pre mix stage is where each section of the tracklay (dialogue, foley, backgrounds, sound effects, music) will be individually mixed into the film. The mixer will work to ensure a consistent tone throughout, making sure that each element is positioned and that the levels are consistent. The pre mix stage aims to provide the Dubbing Mixer/Re-recording Mixer with as many creative options as possible in the final mix, and as such may contain a lot more content than what ends up in the final delivery.

Final Mix

This is where all of the different elements will be balanced against each other. This stage is usually conducted in a specialist mixing environment that offers similar acoustics to a cinema system.  The Final Mix will be performed by the Dubbing Mixer/Re-recording Mixer after all of the tracklay is completed and the Director has approved the work. The Re-recording mixer takes the audio tracks that the team has assembled, deciding which elements will remain (in line with the Director's notes) as well as their overall tonal balance, distance perception and technical needs for the final deliverables of the Sound Mix.

Mixing sound for picture involves a lot of artistic performance. Re-recording Mixers tend to cue the picture while moving faders, pots and touching screens on digital mixing desks, which yields a very fluid sound. Their eyes, ears and hands are used in tandem whilst working.

Another crucial element to mixing is the distance perception of sounds. Dialogue is usually situated at the centre of a mix, but will have effects added to push it further from the viewer when characters are further away visually. The remaining tracklay will fill and take advantage of whatever 'percieved space' the given speaker system and delivery specification provides. This means that the more channels you have in your mix (common setups include Stereo 2.0, Surround 5.1 or Surround 7.1), the more options you have to immerse the audience and place sounds in different areas of the listening environment.

For Theatrical Release, the Final Mix should have more dynamic range (the difference between the loudest and quietest sounds) than a mix for Television or Online Distribution. This is to allow for a more pleasant and emotional journey when listening through an ideal system (cinema) vs. a more consistent and louder mix when listening through a less than ideal system (television speakers, phone speakers).

Paul Maunder discusses mixing surround sound in Pro Tools.


Deliverables are the final product that you deliver to the Editor, Producer and Director for use in the final master version of the film.

See the following table which details the deliverables needed for the most platforms.

Standard Mixing Levels

Standard mixing levels for different formats are a common area of confusion for many budding audio post professionals. Lets break down some of the key terminology.

True Peak Level - Refers to the absolute peak amplitude of the audio signal.

Loudness - The perceived loudness of an audio signal measured in loudness units measurements such as LUFS or LKFS.

Loudness Units - A measurement unit to describe the loudness of an audio signal. There are different types of standards depending on the broadcast territory or streaming service.

LUFS - Loudness units relative to full scale. LUFS was developed to ensure the consistency of audio levels, and is tailored to how our ears perceive sound.

DBFS - Decibels relative to full scale. This is the measurement most commonly seen on the standard peak metres in your DAW.

LKFS - Loudness, K weighted, rela

tive to full scale. A standard loudness measurement for broadcast television in the USA.

EBU R128 - Refers to the recommended loudness for film/radio broadcasters in the EU to measure and control programme loudness. EBU R128 regulates that all broadcasts must meet the following audio standards: Max integrated -23 (±0.5) LUFS, Max True Peak -1dbtp. Reference: link

ATSC/A85 - Refers to the recommended loudness for film/radio broadcasters in the USA. Max integrated -24 LKFS, Max True Peak 2dbtp.

Reference: link

TASA - Regulation to cover maximum loudness level for theatrical trailers and commercials. This is measured using the Dolby Model 737 soundtrack loudness meter with a measurement technique called Leq(m). TASA regulates that trailer loudness should not exceed 85 dB Leq(m).

AES 'Online' Standard - Loudness recommendation for online streaming platforms such as Youtube. Min Integrated: -20 LUFS, Max Integrated: –16 LUFS, Max True Peak: -1dBtp.

Reference: link

Netflix Standard - Max Integrated Dialog: -27 LUFS Max True Peak: -2dB

Reference: link

Mixing for Theatrical/Cinema Release - No loudness standard. When mixing film for cinema, the mixer relies on their own judgement in order to craft the loudness journey of the film and the sonic experience. They should, however, be operating in a calibrated listening environment.

Here is a video showing how to calibrate your monitors for theatrical mixing:

Youlean's list of loudness standards:

Our 5 Pro Tools mixing secrets:

5 ways to improve the sound of your mixing room:

Reliable 5.1 monitoring on a budget:

The Interesting history of home monitoring systems:

Noise reduction, how much is too much?:

Rebuilding your studio:

Audio Branding

Audio branding encompasses the use of audio/music alongside a brand or product to communicate brand values to the customer and reinforce brand identity. It has its origins back in the days of radio advertising, and is an important area of audio post production, music composition, and sound design.

Audio branding is effective because sound has the ability to convey emotion in a way that visuals cannot. Companies want us to associate their brand and products with positive emotions. Sound is used to thrill and excite us, all in the hope that when the time comes we will choose their product over a competitor.

But audio branding is about much more then making sales, it is a statement, a way to convey the essence of your company down into a single digestible piece. Think 20th Century Fox, Intel or the Mcdonalds whistle. Audio branding allows companies to communicate their vision to the masses without a single word being spoke. Powerful is an understatement.

When working on an audio branding brief, You will likely be given a set of descriptive words that sum up the values of the brand, or the values they wish to express. This could be something simple like innovative, prestigious, exciting etc. The brief may also give further guidance on the structure and general flow of the piece if its music, or if its something more sound design based they may give references to similar sounds and aesthetics. If asked to create an audio logo you may also have to re-purpose it into different variations for different circumstances such as advert, corporate video, company conference etc.

Take a look at a piece of audio branding that we have completed along with a blog detailing the brief and how we achieved it.

Audio branding is worth paying attention to, especially considering the rise of voice based technologies such as Alexa and Google Home that allow consumers to interact with a brand through sound. As these technologies continue to develop and new advertising channels are opened up, there will be considerable new opportunities for sound professionals to employ their skills and expertise.

Thanks for taking the time to read through our ultimate guide to audio post production! We have condensed countless hours of knowledge into this guide, with insights from our whole team that have been gained from years working in the industry. Please consider supporting us by making a purchase from the 344 Audio store!

Business Skills

Audio post production is a business like any other, so its important to invest time outside of the studio and develop professional skills such as networking, marketing and promotion.

In a competitive freelance environment like the one in which we operate, you need to know how to brand and promote yourself. If you imagine you are walking down a supermarket aisle and filling the shelves to either side are rows and rows of sound designers, what are you offering thats going to make someone pick you?  

You should also pay close attention to how you present yourself to clients and prospects both online and in person, and make every effort to act in a professional manner. Regardless of what anyone tells you, appearances matter, regardless of how good your work is. Making films is expensive so why should someone take the chance on you if you haven't made the effort to present yourself properly. This is crucial to get right in the process of building relationships that lead to repeat collaboration. 

Building A showreel

Your showreel is your professional calling card that shows off what you can do. It gives potential clients a complete overview of your skills and the sonic style that you bring to the table. If you don't have much experience with editing videos, enlist the help of a friend, and assemble a selection of your best audio work from the projects that you have completed.

Resist the urge to play it safe. You want your showreel to be bold, exciting and impactful for whoever is watching. Your showreel should have a sense of flow to it, with building intensity until the climax in the final 3rd, much like a piece of music. Make sure to include some of your most interesting and unique sounds, as this is what will help you stand out from the crowd. It also helps to show some variety so try and stay clear of using the same 2 or 3 projects. Animation projects are always great to include as they are usually visually striking and usually allow for some fun and creative audio work to sell the story.

Watch some of our showreels here:

Our article on the importance of repeat collaboration:

Our interview with Spirit Studios:

5 new years resolutions for your audio business:

How to stand out in sound design:

Our case study on business growth hub:

Masterclass' tips for becoming a sound designer:

Music Radar's post about the sound design career:

Careers in Music's post about the sound design career:

You can also learn about our Lead Audio Craftsman Alex Gregson's story of how he found his way into the industry.

Personal Care

A career in audio post production is going to involve long hours sat in front of a screen, with large doses of stress and external pressure in the form of deadlines. It's important that we make caring for ourselves a top priority, not only to avoid burnout, but to ensure quality work. The happy blacksmith makes the sharpest sword. 

Avoid smoking and excessive drinking. Make an effort to eat properly and partake in some regular form of physical exercise. Treat sleep with reverence and don't pull all-nighters if you can help it. Also, go easy on the coffee and consider a glass of water instead.

When the pressure and stress of meeting deadlines becomes a little too much, just take a second to step back and reflect on the things you love about your job. Remembering your grand vision and your reason for doing what you do will help you get through any tough times you might face.