Credit points


Campus offering

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MEDA200 Making Track: an Introduction to Audio Production

Unit rationale, description and aim

From the chest-thumping chaos of the cinematic battlefield to the zips and whirs of a quirky robotic cartoon character, the impact of connecting sound to image is foundational to the craft of 'visual’ storytelling. Sound creates drama, builds character, suggests periods and places, extends the screen beyond the frame’s edge. As the mobile phone assumes its crown as the ruler screens, in both the narrative and videogame realms, sound takes on more storytelling responsibilities, and its ability to create the illusion of three-dimensional worlds beyond the frame is more important than ever.

This unit focuses upon the design and composition of sound for the moving image. It offers a thorough grounding in the history, theory and criticism of sound design. From a production perspective, you will explore track laying, editing, and mixing techniques using an industry-standard digital audio workstation. From a theoretical perspective, you will study historical and contemporary trends in sound design for film, television, mixed reality and videogames.

The aims of this unit are twofold: firstly, to provide you with a language to describe sound and its relationship to the moving image, and secondly, to develop practical skills in sound design that may be applicable in a variety of media production contexts from videogames to videography.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Discuss the historical and theoretical aspects of sound design as both practice and profession (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9) 

LO2 - Analyse the impacts of sound on the potential meanings of the visual image (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9) 

LO3 - Record and build unique sound effects and ensembles of sound effects (GA5, GA6, GA7, GA10) 

LO4 - Successfully track lay, edit and mix a complex sound design project in an industry-standard digital audio workstation (GA5, GA6, GA7, GA10) 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 

  • The historical evolution of sound design as a discipline and art form, as well as current trends (e.g. sound design for videogames) 
  • The place of sound in post-production pathways 
  • Advanced field and studio microphone techniques for effect creation 
  • Audio file management techniques 
  • Editing techniques (e.g. synchronisation, creating rhythmic support for or counterpoint with the visual image) 
  • Basic psychoacoustics 
  • Designing effects, atmospheres and foley 
  • Mixing and mastering sound to the visual image 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The hybridised practical and theoretical nature of the unit is best realised through three-hour workshops where new material is ‘chunked’ into small segments, allowing you to grasp theoretical concepts via immediate application in practical exercises. The flexibility of the 3-hour workshop format means that where a lecture-style is appropriate, this can be accommodated, but so can practical demonstrations in the TV studio, radio studios and editing suites.

Workshops and assessments are sequenced in accordance with constructivist principles. Practical workshop-based exercises will be offered each week that place individual aspects of sound design practice within historical and industrial contexts. As you navigate these tasks with the support of your workshop tutor, it is hoped that you will acquire not only the skills themselves but also the confidence to deploy them autonomously in summative MEDA207 assessment, and in your future creative endeavours.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, to develop skills set out in the learning outcomes. The unit will include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video and practical skills development in theory and practice in sound design.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit have been designed to contribute to high-quality student learning by both helping students learn (assessment for learning), and by measuring explicit evidence of their learning (assessment of learning). The first assessment task encourages you to refine your sound analysis techniques and develop a language for communicating with other media professionals about sound and its varying storytelling functions. You will then undertake two authentic (Ashford-Rowe 2014, p207) production projects that closely model industry practices in the non-linear and linear subsectors (i.e. game and film/TV). This mimics the developmental sequence evident in the learning outcomes from skills of analysis (LO1 and LO2) to skills of application (LO3 and LO4).

In MEDA207, you will be asked to demonstrate their engagement with audio software, technology and cultural forms. The theory task requires you to discuss historical and theoretical aspects of sound design, and in doing so you will begin the development of a language that can be used to plan and implement the practical work that follows. The practical task requires you to demonstrate skill acquisition in field/studio recording, track laying, editing and mixing to the visual image. As a summative task, the sound design project requires you to synthesise your theoretical and practical understandings to produce a more substantial sonic work in response to a visual prompt.

In order to pass this unit, you are required to achieve a final grade of 50% or better as an aggregate of all points from assessment tasks completed in this unit.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Theory Task: 

Critical written or oral tasks, which demonstrating the student’s grasp of historical and theoretical aspects of sound design 


LO1, LO2 

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Practical Task: 

Focused, practical tasks, which demonstrate skill acquisition in field/studio recording, track laying, editing and mixing to the visual image 


LO3, LO4 

GA5, GA6, GA7, GA10

Sound Design Project 

Sound design projects (and associated written tasks), where students are encouraged to synthesise their theoretical and practical understandings to produce a more substantial sonic work in response to a visual prompt 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Ament, V 2021, The Foley Grail: The Art of Performing Sound for Film, Games, and Animation, 3rd edn., Routledge, London.

Avarese, J 2017, Post Sound Design : the art and craft of audio postproduction for the moving image, Bloomsbury Academic, New York.

Beauchamp, R 2013, Designing Sound for Animation, Focal Press, Burlington.

Buhler, J & Neumeyer, D 2016, Hearing the Movies, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, New York.

Deiorio, V 2019, The art of theatrical sound design : a practical guide, Bloomsbury, London.

Fry, G 2019, Sound Design for the Stage. The Crowood Press Ltd, Ramsbury.

Holman, T 2018, Sound for Film and Television, 3rd ed., Focal Press, Boston.

Izhaki, R 2018, Mixing Audio: concepts, practices and tools, 3rd ed., Routledge New York.

Owsinski, B 2017, The Recording Engineer’s Handbook, 4th ed., Bobby Owsinski Media Group, Burbank.

Owsinski, B 2017, The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook, 4th ed., Bobby Owsinski Media Group, Burbank. 

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