Homework 4 /7: Sound


Start by reading the following:

  • Chapter 6. Sound in Making Media [1]

Keep notes in your notebook as you read and jot down questions to look up later or ask about during class discussion.

After you finish the readings, engage in the following activities: [2]


  • Watch the videos in Video Playlist 4 in Video Playlists and write a brief response to each of the videos in your notebook.
  • It's particularly important to take notes on “Recording Sound on Location” by Lizi Hesling as this provides a good introduction to location sound recording, and you'll be applying the guidelines and techniques covered in this video in the Location Sound Workshop/


Go to a location that will provide an exciting mix of sounds and where it is safe to sit and listen for a while. Listen and write down a description of the location along with your responses to the following in your notebook:

  • How many distinctive sources of sound can you hear in a 20-minute period?
  • Where are those sounds coming from?
  • How do they compare in terms of amplitude and frequency?
  • Are there sounds that start as background sounds and become foreground sounds, or vice versa?
  • If you heard these sounds blindfolded, could you identify your location without knowing where you were?


Practice using the following terms in various sentences to demonstrate that you understand the concept's meaning and how to use it to describe media production practices and artifacts. If you’re not sure about a term, review the reading. You will use these terms in writing, discussion, description, and analysis of works, so take some time to review the reading if the concepts are unclear. 

  • ambiance
  • amplitude
  • attenuate
  • balanced audio
  • bidirectional
  • binaural hearing
  • bit depth
  • cardioid
  • compression
  • condenser
  • crest
  • decibel (dB)
  • dynamic
  • frequency
  • frequency response
  • handheld microphone
  • harmonics
  • Hertz (Hz)
  • impedance
  • lavaliere
  • level meter
  • lossless compression
  • lossy compression
  • monitoring
  • omnidirectional
  • on-axis
  • overmodulation
  • peak
  • phantom power
  • pickup pattern
  • pitch
  • quantized
  • radio frequency
  • reverberation
  • ride the gain
  • room tone
  • sampled
  • sampling rate
  • shotgun microphone
  • signal-to-noise ratio (S/N)
  • sound envelope
  • sound perspective
  • sound presence
  • stereo
  • streaming
  • surround sound
  • timbre
  • transduction
  • trough
  • unbalanced audio
  • unidirectional
  • voltage
  • wavelength
  • waves
  • XLR

  1. Making Media: Foundations of Sound and Image Production by Jan Roberts-Breslin (4th edition, Routledge, 2018), is available for online reading from O'Reilly Media (requires subscription or access through your educational institution). E-book and print editions are also available from booksellers including Amazon. If you choose to purchase, I suggest the newer edition↩︎
  2. Acknowledgment: This text is based, in part, on the "Putting it into practice” sections in Making Media and has been revised better to fit the structure and learning objectives of the course.↩︎