Course Title: Develop sound designs

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

Course Code: VART6065C

Course Title: Develop sound designs

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6087 - Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media

Course Contact : Program Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nat Bates


Nominal Hours: 50

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This unit of competency is delivered in the class Sound 3. This unit covers the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to develop sound designs from production briefs.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUSSOU501A Develop sound designs


5. Design sound elements

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Develop sound design concepts taking into consideration the brief and the ideas generated

5.2 Determine the relevant sound components required to implement the sound design in line with creative and technical requirements

5.3 Establish a clear relationship between the use and integration of sound components and the function, context and objectives of the work to determine the sound design

5.4 As required, hold ongoing discussions with relevant personnel to consider, confirm and incorporate additional or changed production requirements and new ideas to achieve best sound design concept

5.5 Present the sound design in a specification that best conveys the concept to relevant personnel, including those responsible for implementing the design

5.6 Confirm final design concept with relevant personnel to ensure that implementation is consistent with the design and that potential difficulties are addressed


6. Evaluate completed sound designs

Performance Criteria:

6.1 Discuss and obtain agreement from relevant personnel on evaluation techniques to evaluate the completed sound design

6.2 Focus the evaluation on whether the sound design meets all aspects of the design brief, and on the viability of the implementation plan

6.3 Obtain detailed information and opinions from legitimate sources and document results for evaluation

6.4 Communicate results of evaluation to relevant personnel and use results to improve future practice


1. Interpret and confirm sound design briefs

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Participate in preliminary concept meetings with relevant personnel to discuss creative and technical sound requirements of productions

1.2 Continue liaison with relevant personnel until all sound requirements have been confirmed in the context of overall production requirements

1.3 Identify and confirm additional personnel needed to fulfil the sound design brief


2. Break down components of sound design briefs

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Identify and document the sound sources specified in the design brief to determine the content, quality and duration of the required sound components

2.2 Determine and where necessary document the creative and resource requirements for each sound component

2.3 Confirm and document the role of personnel required for the process of developing sound design projects


3. Experiment with sound components to express ideas

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Cultivate and create an energy and environment that will promote the generation of ideas among team members and provide the motivation and incentive to bring ideas to fruition

3.2 Gather information from a variety of sources and generate, explore and record a range of ideas and options as a creative base for developing the required sound design

3.3 Transform and manipulate the ideas generated and select those ideas that have the most potential for technical and creative development of the required sound design


4. Assess creative ideas

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Contemplate and consider the ideas selected from the creative base, reflecting on and evaluating their viability, cost, technical feasibility and suitability to meet the requirements of the design brief

4.2 Continuously evaluate and verify creative ideas for the components of the design brief based on the overall sound design concept

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will have developed skills and knowledge required to develop sound designs across a number of screen and media platforms.

Details of Learning Activities

In class activities include, but are not limited to:

  • lectures
  • group discussion
  • practical demonstrations
  • teacher directed group activities/projects
  • work shopping of students’ own projects

Out of class activities include, but are not limited to:

  • online research
  • independent project based work

Teaching Schedule

While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.

Week Class Content Assessment Elements
1 Overview of course content and assessment requirements. What is sound design? How to analyse audio visual material to reveal how the soundtrack works.   1, 2
2 Sound storyboarding for audio-visual media - the 5 categories; atmosphere, dialogue, voice over, sound effects and music.  
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
3 Designing sound for animation - no sounds come with the image, they all have to be created from scratch.   1, 2
4 Producing sound for animation - placing and synchronising sound with animated frames   1, 2, 3
5 Class presentations and evaluations of Assessment Task 1 Due: Assessment Task 1 - Sound design for animation (ungraded) 6
6 Acoustic theory and microphones - sound waves, amplitude, frequency, dynamic and condenser microphones, recording techniques   1, 2, 3
7 Digital audio in theory and practice   1, 2, 3
8 Recording foley sound for screen content   1, 2, 3
9 Editing sound, creating spot effects and looping   1, 5
10 Transforming sound with effects - including EQ, reverb, delay, compression, etc   1, 5
11 Class presentations and evaluations of Assessment Task 2 Due: Assessment Task 2 - Recording, editing and applying effects to sounds (ungraded) 6
12 Stereo and location recording of atmospheres   1, 2, 3
13 Recording voices for dialogue and voice over   1, 4, 5
14 ADR Automated Dialogue Replacement   1, 4, 5
15 Assessment Task 3 workshop - finalising the sound design. Due: Assessment Task 3 - Sound design for major project (graded) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
16 Review of recording, editing and adding effects and file types.   6

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts



Sonnenschein, D 2001, Sound design : the expressive power of music, voice, and sound effects in cinema, Michael Wiese Productions, Seattle


Farnell, A 2010, Designing Sound, MIT Press, Cambridge


Gibbs, T 2007, The fundamentals of sonic art & sound design, AVA Academia, Lausanne.


Cancellaro, J 2006, Exploring sound design for interactive media, Thomson Delmar Learning, Clifton Park


Other Resources

You are advised to look at the course at myRMIT for ongoing updated information.

Portable storage (4 Gig minimum)

Headphones - professional studio headphones, preferably ’closed’.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises, practical project work and through the application of learned skills.

Assessment Tasks

To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete all of the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive written feedback on all assessment (refer to myRMIT for assessment criteria).

Assessment Task 1: Sound design for animation (ungraded)
In small groups (3 to 5) you will create a sound design for the short animation clip provided. All sounds must be able to be produced by objects that have been collected in the class ‘foley box’. You will then exchange your completed sound design with another group – you will evaluate and attempt to produce their sound design, and they yours.
Due date: week 5 

Assessment Task 2: Recording, editing and applying effects to sounds (ungraded)
Record and edit sounds and place them in the soundtrack for a short video or animation clip (provided), transforming sounds using effects where appropriate.
Due date: week 11

Assessment Task 3: Sound design for major project (graded)
Develop a sound design for an individual project including an animatic or interactive walk through or game demo.
Due date: week 15

Once you have demonstrated competency, your final assessment task will be graded (refer to myRMIT for grading rubric).

Grades used in this unit are as follows:

CHD - Competent with High Distinction
CDI - Competent with Distinction
CC - Competent with Credit
CAG - Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC - Not Yet Competent
DNS - Did Not Submit for Assessment

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available through the course contact in program administration.

Unit Title  Develop Sound Designs RMIT Unit Code:  VART6065C                  
Assessment Task Elements/PCs  National Code:  CUSSOU501A       Required Knowledge   5  Required Skills Critical aspects of evidence 
  E: 1 PC: 3  E: 2 PC: 3  E: 3 PC: 3  E: 4 PC: 2 E: 5 PC: 6  E: 6 PC: 4             
1  1 - 3  1 - 3  1 - 3  1  1, 2, 3, 5  1 - 4  2, 3    1,2,3,4,5    1 - 3  
2  1, 2  1      1 - 3    1, 5    1,2,3,4    1, 2  
3  1 - 3  1, 2  2, 3  1, 2  1 - 6    1, 4, 5    1,2,3,4,6    1, 2  

Other Information

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:

The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that students attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.

Cover Sheet for Submissions
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning (web link)
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process through which people can gain entry to, or credit in, recognised courses based on competencies gained. The competencies may have been gained through experience in the workplace, in voluntary work, in social or domestic activities or through informal or formal training or other life experiences. Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) applies if a student has previously successfully completed the requirements of a unit of competency or module and is now required to be reassessed to ensure that the competency has been maintained.

Assessment and Feedback (web link)
You will receive verbal feedback during scheduled class times, and written feedback from teachers on your work . Where appropriate, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Student Progress (web link)
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential.

Special consideration for Late Submission (web link)
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension. You can apply in writing for up to a week’s extension from your course teacher. If you need a longer extension, you will need to apply for special consideration.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism (web link)
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity

Course Overview: Access Course Overview