A sound director, also sometimes called an audio director, is the professional in charge of sound in a media project. He or she can work in television, but is typically associated with the filmmaking business. A sound director is generally expected to oversee every element of audio used in the production, such as sound effects, dialog and music.
This type of professional is usually hired by the producer or manager of a project and begins working as early as the pre-production stage, or before filming begins. An individual in this field needs to work well with the main director in order to plan for all the ways sound will be used. A sound director often considers how much of the budget can be spent on audio, what are the necessary expenses and what resources can be spared. He or she may also hire sound technicians or operators, and request all necessary equipment.
Managing sound effects is an important part of a sound director’s job. Since film cameras sometimes do not capture the right type of audio, some sounds may need to be reproduced artificially. To do this, a film sound director usually works with a Foley artist, an audio specialist experienced in creating or re-creating specific sounds. For example, in a movie scene that features a man being punched in the face, the Foley artist may hit a piece of cabbage with a hammer to produce a sound similar to the punch, which is later edited into the film. Such effects are often used not only in movies, but also in video games and theater performances.
All the spoken lines in a movie or performance are known as the dialogue. The sound director usually supervises this element as well, and makes sure the speech is clean and loud enough for the audience to hear. Much like sound effects, some pieces of dialogue may not be captured well during filming, and the actors involved may have to recite the lines again in a studio.
The use of music is often one of the most important components to any media project. A movie's music can include both the use of songs, called the soundtrack, or the score, which are instrumental tunes specifically composed to heighten the mood for certain scenes. For example, creepy music during a suspenseful scene would be described as the score. A sound director usually suggests a composer for the project and offers his or her opinion on which songs may be purchased for the soundtrack.