How’d they construct the T-Rex’s roar in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park? Who was behind the alternation between bombs dropping and quiet ocean waves in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk? Well, both have to do with sound editing and sound mixing, two terms you likely hear every year during the Academy Awards. But do you know the difference between the two? Despite frequently being lumped together and sharing similar qualities, the two categories are actually quite different—yet both are equally crucial to the filmmaking process. Sound editing refers to the process of capturing sounds, both on set and after filming, and sound mixing refers to how the sounds are adjusted and layered during post-production. Putting the terms that simply, though, belies the artistry that goes into generating a film’s auditory feel (just ask iconic sound designer Walter Murch). So, next time you watch a great film, take a moment to appreciate the work that went into making it truly sound like a movie, and not an iPhone video. At the very least, you’ll be ready and able to explain these categories to your friends during next year’s Oscars.
Watch Now: The historically important short film Walter Murch helped restore and return to the public eye, Dickson Expiremental Sound Film.
Want to dive deeper into the world of sound? Check out our videos on the origins of sound in film, the art of foley, and then take a moment to “guess that foley.” To get a better feel for sound in action, take a look at our videos detailing how directors like Steven Spielberg, Agnès Varda, Wes Anderson, Guillermo del Toro, and Paul Thomas Anderson all utilize sound in their films.