Course Title: Sound Design 1b

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Sound Design 1b

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


340H Art


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011

Course Coordinator: Dr Philip Samartzis

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 5201

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bld 9.2.47

Course Coordinator Availability: Via Appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course is for Fine Art Students from BP201 only.
Sound Design 1a (COMM1243)

Course Description

This course introduces students to the theoretical studies of relationships between sound and image, the different approaches both within and across Sound Design and Soundtrack, and the practical implementation of such ideas in  a variety of formats, medias and products.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

To instruct students to:
1.) understand the fundamental principles which underlie the relationship between sound and vision – with regard to both cinematic convention, neurological function and evolutionary biology
2). Understand the different precedents, conceptual needs and practical options associated with composing/sound designing for film, video, theatre, dance, computer games, and earcons
 3). Formulate Sound Design and/or Soundtrack suggestions for various project-formats
 4). Understand sonic relationships, both within a mix and in sound’s interaction with image
 5). Appreciate the genre, arrangement and/or sonic ramifications of the implied functional objectives and demographic demands of various projects, analysing different methods of achieving specific and successful responses. (Understand the consequences, and judiciously ignore when necessary.)
 6). Successfully justify and communicate their perspectives in a collaborative environment

Projects will enable students to: 
 1). Experiment with practical applications of the  audio-visual theories covered in lectures
 2). Explore their own aesthetic voice within a collaborative environment

Overview of Learning Activities

Process Workshops: 
Process workshops are presented to demonstrate ways in which to conceptualize, plan, manage and generally approach issues of composition and production for a variety of media and demographic outcomes. Central to this is the presentation of recent works and commissions professionally carried out by the lecturer.
Screening/Performance & Listening Program:
A series of viewing and listening examples will be drawn upon to analyze approaches to Sound Design. Similarly, methods of soundtrack composition will be explored through the examination of various Film, Theatre, Computer Game and Dancework examples, both on campus (drawn from historical and contemporary illustrations, the lecturer’s recent projects, and visiting practitioners from the industry) as well as through after-hours field trips to live theatrical and dance performances.

Assignments focus on scoring new projects – animations, narrative films video art, installations, dance, and theatre - sourced from Media Arts, Creative Media, and productions outside RMIT.

Fine Art Project/Advanced Studio (2nd & 3rd years):
To further develop concepts and techniques explored in the Sound Design course area within specific projects devised in consultation with their lecturers & course advisers. Students have the opportunity to either cover a wide range of  skills, or focus on a single area. Areas include soundtrack and/or sound design formulation, design & execution for film, video, theatre, radio, dance, computer games, or earcons;  The art of collaboration is a fundamental point of focus in the course.

Overview of Learning Resources

Hardware and Software necessary for the course are provided in the Sound Design bays in the Sound lab (14.2.04), with each student allocated a minimum five hours a week access. Home recording, is also a permissible alternative.

Wide viewing and listening is encouraged, with the campus audiovisual archives recommended as an adjunct to students’ existing avenues.

Recommended texts are discussed in class, and students are expected to deepen their understanding and broaden their perspectives through access to material in the library, websites and discussion groups.

 Students are able to make one-on-one consultation bookings throughout the semesters to revise and seek further advice on the methods and processes covered in the technical workshops, lectures & process workshops

Online resources via the Sound Design Blackboard is an essential component of the subject.

Overview of Assessment

Projects are deigned to allow the students opportunity to demonstrate many of the fundamental issues canvassed in class discussion, as well as to extend the fundamental parameters of their arts practice within a collaborative environment.

Assessment will take the form of three major projects (with a written report), review presentations and class/blackboard participation.