Sound and Fixed Media – course description

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Students advance through a series of lectures, demonstrations, practical project work, exercises and critique in a group context. Full attendance and punctual arrival is expected of all students whether auditing the course or taking it for credit.


This course introduces concepts and techniques relevant to analysis and design of soundtracks in fixed media productions. The  focus is primarily on film and animation but also includes discussion of radio plays, documentary, music video and advertisements. Students are required to analyse examples of film and animation and to develop ways of interpreting and “reading” soundtracks.  These studies subsequently inform their own practical design work in this area.



  • Familiarity with sound recording, editing and mixing software
  • Experience using professional sound recording hardware
  • Ability to read and understand academic English


  • Experience of integrating sound and image using digital tools
  • Experience of film sound or film music theory/analysis
  • Willingness to collaborate as a sound designer in a fixed media context

Learning Outcomes

  • ability to design sound for visual and fixed formats
  • a well developed understanding the role of sound in synchronised media (film)
  • a well developed understanding of technologies used in sound design for fixed media
  • ability to articulate and discuss the functions of multiple audio components in media (e.g. music, sound effects, soundscape…)
  • ability to prepare sound for visual media
  • a well-developed appreciation for the value of analysis of the work of others for their own artistic and creative development

Lecture topics

See the online course calendar for latest details


Project 1 – An illustrated film sound analysis (30%)
Project 2 – Sound Design for moving image part 2 (70%)

Work will be assessed on the basis of;

  • Demonstrated competence with sound design and synchronous sound and video editing tools
  • Skills in creatively deploying allocated resources, whatever their quality
  • Precision and competence in presentation
  • Clarity of thought and expression in text-based analyses
  • Demonstrated understanding of the texts introduced on the course and extent to which wider reading and research has been explored
  • Ability to meet the requirements of the project brief and deal creatively with its open-ended aspects
  • Design quality of the work in terms of meeting functional requirements, legibility, usability, interactivity, and appropriate use of media
  • Account will be taken of the risks taken and degree to which the design deviates from standard solutions

Please note that assessment will take account of trade-offs between the above criteria, particularly taking account of the diverse backgrounds of students in the class. You are encouraged to seek feedback during the development of your work, but please note that adhering to feedback does not guarantee a high assessment of the completed work. Note also that the assessment of the work is not necessarily commensurate with the amount of time spent on the project work.