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

Overview of Learning Activities

Technical Workshops:
A series of technical workshops include instruction in Hard Disc recording, and film synchronization.
Students are instructed in practical handling of various formats, conversion, and file-transformation techniques.

Process Workshops:
As an adjunct to the Technical workshops, a series of 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 existing Quicktime files of finished projects animation, narrative film, video art and dance. (Active writing for developing works is reserved until Semester two)

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 controlled environment (ie. outside of collaborative practice)

Overview of Learning Resources

Hardware and Software necessary for the course are provided in the Sound Design bays in the Sound lab (9.2.22), with each student allocated a minimum five hours a week access. Home recording, where viable, is also permissible through negotiation.
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 ones throughout the semesters to revise and seek further advice on the methods and processes covered in the technical workshops, lectures & process workshops.

Overview of Assessment

Assessable tasks are chosen to hone both the students' conceptual and technical skillsets, as well as their compositional methodology. 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.
Assessment includes technical exercises, student-driven projects, class presentations, semester reviews and class participation.

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.

Course Coordinator details:
Darrin Verhagen
Ph: 61-(0)3 9925 3718

back to courses