Sound design learning resource

Suitable for Years 4-6 

Why is sound so important in television and film? How does sound help bring audiences into a screen world? What is the workflow followed by screen professionals when creating, capturing and editing sound for a production? We answer these questions and more in this video sequence resource.

Teacher notes

Suitable for Years 4-6, this learning resource shares interviews with creatives and behind-the-scenes footage exploring sound design from the award-winning children’s television program, Hardball. It is structured so that students can work through the resource independently or as a class. By working through the short learning tasks and video interviews, students discover the importance of sound design first-hand from Hardball sound designers Serge Lacroix and Liam Whiting. After learning all about sound design, students can download our Foley Kit and create their own soundscape.

Australian Curriculum links:

  • Year 4 English and Media Arts: ACELY1697, ACAMAM059, ACAMAM059, ACAMAM064
  • Year 5 English and Media Arts: ACELY1707, ACELY1700, ACAMAM063
  • Year 6 English and Media Arts: ACELY1710, ACAMAM063, ACAMAM064

This resource was co-developed by the ACTF and ACMI Education.

Meet Hardball sound designers, Serge Lacroix and Liam Whiting

We asked Serge and Liam to introduce themselves. Read their introductions below:

Originally from Montréal, Canada, I have been working in sound since I was 19 years old. Over the years, I have designed and created sound backgrounds and mixes for television shows, movies, documentaries, and commercials as well as mixing several studio music albums. I have been in Australia for 25 years and I founded and own a production company whose focus has been non-fictional TV programming - you might know it better as reality TV. Try watching a TV show or movie without the sound and you’ll see how important sound is to the whole experience. - Serge Lacroix

Hello! I’m Liam Whiting, a Sydney born composer and sound designer. Sound and music have always been an important part of my life, having played music from a young age. While studying sound and music design at UTS, I collaborated with animators, discovering a love for composing and storytelling. I joined Post Op Group with Serge in 2018 and have since been involved in many television and feature productions. Hardball is a heart-warming and hilarious series. We would like to show you how we brought this show to life, through sound design. - Liam Whiting

Watch the following video to meet Serge and Liam.

What is sound design?

Sound design incorporates everything you hear when watching screen content. It is a way to enhance the mood, atmosphere and tone of the story. Sound design is used in television, film, gaming, advertising and much more. It is usually the final and most important element needed to create a believable experience for the audience. A sound designers' job is to make sure all the sounds are mixed perfectly with each other to support the visual environment.

Reflection: Why so you think sound design so important in a TV show? Discuss this question in small groups and share back to the class.

We asked Serge and Liam to tell us why sound design is important in just one sentence. Have a listen to their answers.

Reflection: Are there any similarities with your answer?

What are the steps sound designers follow when building sound?

There are many  elements involved in sound design. These elements work together in layers, building up a rich soundscape in the world we watch.  

Activity: Create a class glossary to define the elements of sound design.

  • Audio
  • Dialogue
  • Atmosphere, atmos or atmospheric sound (hint: not relating to weather)
  • Foley
  • Sound mixing (hint: not about making a cake)
  • Music

Here are some resources that can support you to build your glossary:

Watch Serge and Liam discuss their workflow for Hardball. As you watch the remaining videos, write down any terms Serge and Liam use that you are not familiar with and add them to your glossary.

Reflection: Do you remember the steps Serge and Liam followed in their sound design process? Discuss this in groups and see if you can remember the order.

Hardball scene study - Mixing sound

Let's look at an example.

Activity: Watch the following scene as a class and list all the sounds you think Serge and Liam had to add and mix into this scene.

We asked Serge and Liam to break down this scene and explain to us how they built up the sound. Watch the next video.

Reflection: What sounds did Serge and Liam mention that were missing from your list? Discuss the quiet and loud sounds and how they work together.

Foley sound

You have heard Serge and Liam mention Foley. We asked Serge and Liam to explain Foley in more detail and to share some examples of how they capture Foley in their studio.

Activity: Look around the room you’re in and list some of the objects you could use to make weird and wonderful sounds. For example, swinging a skipping rope to create a whooshing sound.

Hardball scene study - Foley sound

Serge and Liam suggested you watch this scene that they found a little weird and wonderful to work on.

Activity: Now you understand a little more about how Serge and Liam build sound in Hardball, watch this interesting scene and list all the sounds you think Serge and Liam had to add and mix into this scene.

Now watch Serge and Liam break down this scene.

Reflection: After watching, reflect on the sounds mentioned by Serge and Liam. What sounds were missing from your list? Discuss the different Foley sounds and how they work together.

Advice for budding sound designers

Before you get started on your own sound design activity, watch Serge and Liam share their advice for young sound designers.

Foley Kit student activity

Now it is your turn to have a go!

Activity: Download the Foley Kit below. In this kit you will find four folders. They include:

Video Clips - In this folder you will find scenes from Hardball, Round the Twist and Li'l Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers. You will see two versions of each of these scenes; one with the full sound mix and one without. Choose the scene you'd like to edit and watch both versions. Then, using the scenes with no sound, create your sound design like Serge and Liam.

Planning Tools - In this folder you will find your audio spotting sheet to help you plan your sound design.

Foley Room Sounds - In this folder you will find all the Foley sounds used in the ACMI Foley Room which you can used in your sound design edit.

Freesound.org - In this folder you will find a range of sound effects we have selected from freesound.org.

You can use the sounds files in the Foley Kit, find your own copyright-free sound files online, or you can capture your own Foley sounds when creating the sound design for your scene.

Watch the video tutorial below to learn how to use the Foley Kit to edit the sounds into your scene using iMovie.

Foley Kit

Download the Sound Design Foley Kit Here.

Continue learning with Hardball

Hardball Series 1 Digital Download
Hardball Series 2 Digital Download
Hardball Series 1 Teaching Toolkit
Hardball Series 2 Teaching Toolkit
Hardball cast Q & A webinar

Share your work with us

We would love to see what you create! Send in your final products to education@actf.com.au

We welcome feedback from teachers who have delivered and adapted our resources. Please reach out to education@actf.com.au with questions, comments and suggestions.

This resource is co-developed by the ACTF and ACMI. 

This learning resource is supported by the Strategic Partnerships Program through the Department of Education and Training.

Search ACTF

No results