The Four Sound Areas
The Four Sound Areas framework within the Sound for Moving Pictures book presents a novel approach to sound design that enables the reader to more fully appreciate audience emotions and audience engagement; and provides a flexible, practical model that will allow professionals to more easily create and communicate soundtracks with greater emotional significance and meaning.
Of obvious benefit to sound specialists, as well as motion picture professionals such as directors and picture editors, Sound for Moving Pictures also provides valuable insight for others interested in the subject; such as those involved with teaching soundtrack analysis, or those researching the wider topics of film studies and screen writing.
Whilst author Dr. Neil Hillman regularly presents bespoke webinars and tutorials for HE university courses, FE facilitated specialist programmes, and on behalf of commercial training providers, the Sound for Moving Pictures Academy also offers a structured learning programme, currently comprising of 5 paid modules.
See our ‘Trailer’ and ‘Season 1 to 4’ training modules below…
Learning to Listen –
In Part 1 of this module, students learn about the challenges faced by the location sound recording team; the impact on audio post-production if recording clean dialogue on location is compromised or disregarded; the major issues between shooting and recording with boom and personal microphones; Automatic Dialogue Replacement (ADR); the different operational roles in audio post-production; historical and current film sound design theory; and soundtrack analysis utilising the four sound areas framework, looking at examples of successful soundtracks.
In Part 2, a dynamic 1-minute movie trailer is tracklayed, edited, mixed and delivered with students working on their own machines, lead by the trainer and guided collectively as the project progresses to delivery.
This is a one-day (6 hours) live online course, suited to industry newcomers, as well as directors and picture editors who recognize that they have gaps in their knowledge and understanding of sound production and audio post-production processes. The practical session introduces and uses the FREE DaVinci Resolve editing and mixing software platform, eliminating any hardware or software access costs for students, whilst providing transferrable techniques to other editing platforms.
Constructing the soundtrack –
A hands-on, guided introduction to editing and mixing sound for moving pictures, and an ideal starting point for industry newcomers with some basic knowledge, as well as directors and picture and sound editors who want to take their skillset to a higher level.
Students will increase their confidence and competence in handling audio by looking at fundamental audio operations, as well as the concept of sound design planning using the unique Four Sound Areas framework.
This is a one-day (6 hours) live online course with hands-on exercises that utilise and introduce the FREE DaVinci Resolve editing and mixing software platform, eliminating any hardware or software access cost for students, whilst providing transferrable techniques to other editing platforms.
Deconstructing the soundtrack –
A one-day live online (6 hours) introduction to editing and mixing audio in the Fairlight Digital Audio Workstation within DaVinci Resolve, with training based around the free download version software, thereby eliminating any hardware and software access costs for students. The practical exercises are as specified by Blackmagic Design in preparing candidates for the fulfillment of the Fairlight End User certificate, and is supplemented by the sharing of knowledge and insight from a highly experienced dialogue editor and re-recording mixer, Dr. Neil Hillman MPSE.
This programme is suited to both early career and experienced picture and sound editors, and contains transferrable concepts and techniques for other editing platforms.
Communicating the soundtrack –
A five-day, (6 hours per day), more detailed Fairlight operator’s live, online course taking an in-depth exploration of the Digital Audio Workstation within DaVinci Resolve. The core curriculum is as specified by Blackmagic Design in preparing candidates for the fulfilment of the Fairlight End User certificate and is supplemented by the sharing of knowledge and insight from a highly experienced dialogue editor and re-recording mixer, Dr. Neil Hillman MPSE. Optional Fairlight End User and Advanced certification exams are available for students who wish to achieve verifiable outcomes from this course, and this programme is suited to both early career and experienced picture and sound editors who desire a more comprehensive understanding of sound editing and mixing processes. Although based on the Fairlight DAW, this course contains transferrable concepts and techniques for other editing platforms.
Conceiving the soundtrack –
A two-day (6 hours per day) deep-dive into the philosophy of the Four Sound Areas, with conceptual and practical exercises designed to familiarise students with the use of a sound design framework, based on the teaching of the Sound for Moving Pictures book.
Taught by the author Dr. Neil Hillman, this workshop can be taken as a stand-alone module, or as the culmination of the work undertaken in ‘Learning to Listen’ or Season 1 to 3’s workshops.
It is relevant to all students and practitioners involved with sound for moving pictures, particularly those with aspirations to produce, direct, shoot, record edit and mix; as well as those students and practitioners engaged on film studies courses or those who write, analyze or critique film.
Controlling the soundtrack –
‘Shorts’ are a series of classes of either 2 and 3-hours duration and comprise of individual elements of the approved DaVinci Resolve audio post-production syllabus, with the input of experienced dialogue editor and Re-recording mixer Dr. Neil Hillman MPSE.
These units may be taken in isolation from the Series 2 and 3 modules, and students are able to choose from specific topics to review and revisit, increasing their confidence in manipulating audio for a small ‘refresher fee’, rather than the cost of a full course.
Typical topics include such things as: Working with audio layers, Preparing multi-channel clips for dialogue editing, Sweetening the mix, Simplifying the mix with busses, Mixing with automation, Recording VO and ADR, Editing dialogue tracks, Advanced dialogue repair and Pre-mixing levels and panning tracks.
The full list of topics covered is here. Although based on the Fairlight DAW, this course contains transferrable concepts and techniques for other editing platforms.
The Fairlight DAW
It’s important to appreciate that The Four Sound Areas framework is completely independant of any platform that you may choose to edit your pictures or sound on: whether you’re already an audio professional working with Pro Tools, Reaper or Nuendo, or a picture editor cutting on Avid, Final Cut or Premiere Pro. (Other systems are available…)
However, the legendary Fairlight Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), now contained within the FREE professional editing, grading and mixing software DaVinci Resolve, is close to our heart… For more than 20 years, Fairlight has been the DAW of choice for Neil Hillman MPSE at The Audio Suite.
Excitingly, this means that Fairlight – a comprehensive, fully-featured professional DAW – is now at the fingertips of picture editors; and happily, no longer out of the financial reach of any aspiring sound editor and mixer.
The Sound for Moving Pictures Academy is a Blackmagic Design Certified Training Partner, and Neil is a DaVinci Resolve Fairlight Certified Trainer. The Academy is proud to offer bespoke Fairlight audio training from Fairlight User level to Fairlight Expert level, with access to the official End User and Expert certification examinations, ensuring that the full potential of this remarkable post-production software is fully explored and better understood by Academy course attendees.