Eric May – Media Consultant




Using natural sound gives a rhythmic, musical shape to your story, and helps viewers experience what it was actually like to be at the location.


“Types” of natural sound include:

• “The sounds of the natural world”, the birds in the trees, the waves on the beach
• “Man made sounds” like music, traffic and construction
• “Human interaction”, the sounds of people in a cafe, a crowd or at a concert 
(not a sound bite)
• ...and “silence” - in the real world, silence is not silent...

1. Observe and record the atmosphere of the location.


2. Natural sound breaks are no less than two to three seconds. 
Less than that is too short to make an impact on the viewer.

3. Use at least three to five natural sound breaks in a standard one minute-thirty or two-minute story.

Where to use natural sound in stories:

• Always at the beginning of the story, before your narration begins.
• Always after sound bites.
• Always in transitions, when changing the subject in your text.
• Always in transitions, when changing locations in your story.


4. Using background sound throughout your finished story is essential. Always record at least two minutes of everyday sound from the each location for background sound (traffic, waves on the beach, crowd noise, etc). 

5. Use longer natural sound breaks, up to ten seconds or more, when the location sound is truly exceptional– when the “sound IS the story.”