auditory sensations - fcp audio - your brain on sound
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When analysing sound for visuals whilst watching one of your favourite movies, a whole myriad of different feelings and emotions can be experienced. The feelings and sensations we experience when watching a film and the reasons we feel them, are far too often overlooked by the general populace.
Inception film scene still
hans zimmer
sound for visuals
The movie ‘Inception’ is a very well crafted piece of modern cinema but would not have the same impact without the powerful soundtrack from Hans Zimmer
Most of us take for granted the feeling of nostalgia one often experiences when encountering a smell. It could be the aroma of a spice used in one of Grandma’s family recipes or the smell of petrol emanating from Dads clapped up old Harley. It might be the scent of perfume worn by a forgotten lover, or even the over chlorinated odour of a holiday swimming pool. For me, it is the very distinct yet subtle smell of sweet, synthetic strawberry. On the rare occasions I encounter this unforgettable fragrance, I am instantly transported to Gibraltar sometime in the early nineties. The hot sun is beating down, while my brother and I are eating ice cream sandwiches, sloppily playing ‘Keepyups’ with one of those strawberry flavoured footballs, synonymous with all family holidays of the era.


The worlds leading chefs have a firm grasp of this concept. Along with smell, our taste receptors can deliver the same effect. Perhaps more subtle than the olfactory receptors, but the same rules apply. The food on offer in the finest Michelin Star restaurants often takes advantage of these feelings. It captivates diners by feeding the nostalgic part of their brain, (as well as their bellies). There is nothing more contemporary than nostalgia!

plate of food
sound for visuals
Aesthetics are often as important as flavour, the same applies to the relationship between visuals and sound
Recent studies have found that the auditory sensations experienced when eating food can change the way in which our taste receptors identify flavour. When wearing headphones, high frequency sound waves enhance the foods sweetness, whilst low frequencies emphasise bitterness. Furthermore, it is also often said that we eat with our eyes! The visual aesthetics of a plate of food also play a very important role in providing an unforgettable dining experience.


The concept of emotion and nostalgia being amplified by smell and taste also applies to music. We all have a personalised compendium of songs stored within our brains, which when heard can teleport us directly to a vivid memory. Good or bad, the creative application of this process can be harnessed to captivate your audience. Consequently, when producing a film, music is the most powerful tool in our arsenal.
We have devised a great way for you to be fully aware of the importance of your soundtrack selection, along with its relationship to the sensations we feel when observing footage. The next time you are at home, cozily sat with a bowl of buttered popcorn. Watch the scariest horror movie you can find. Wait until the most spine chilling scene, mute the sound and play ‘I’m too Sexy’ by ‘Right Said Fred’. All of the fear and suspense will instantly evaporate and transform even the most scary of films into a comical parody. Following your fit of giggles, attempt the same process with a range of different genres and styles to see how they affect the mood of the film. 

joker movie scene still
sound for visuals
The clown has become synonymous with horror, however, if the audio selection for a clip is more jovial, the mood of the footage can be changed dramatically

Through years of exposure to music, television and cinema, our brains automatically connect certain chord progressions, tones, instruments, timbres and melodies to very specific moods and feelings. Taking all of this into consideration when producing your video can help you to connect with your audience on an emotional level. This is of paramount importance, but having a firm grasp and understanding of the senses and how our brain perceives sound for visuals takes practice and a lot of patience.


Here at ’FCP Audio’ we understand the subjective nature of musical taste. We are striving to provide a genre, style and mood for every visual category. However, we only provide the sound for visuals, the rest is down to you! Whilst developing your skills, learning to know how the human brain connects sound to visuals is an integral part in producing the best films. We recommend heading over to our ’SoundStack’ page. Take a look and preview the tracks to hear what sounds best with your footage. Our unique audio player continuously loops the selected audio. Not only does this allow you to hear how the loops sound in an arrangement, but you can also open your FCPX project and view your clips to see which audio is most fitting.
Finally, you will find that genre specific audio is generally similar. Always keep in mind that your personal taste is not always the same as that of your viewers. Choosing a song because you like it may be counter productive in some cases. With that in mind, always try to select audio which will appeal to your target audience.


This is an article by FCP Audio | the home of the ‘SoundStack’ | Customisable Royalty Free Music 

FCP Audio offers a customisable, Royalty Free music plugin specifically designed for Final Cut Pro X users. Welcome to the home of the ‘SoundStack’.

We offer a diverse library, packed with authentic genres and styles of music for the world’s YouTubers, filmmakers and Vloggers. Amateur and Pro alike, we are the number one solution for high end customisable audio.

For more information visit our website and follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.