Director of audiography

Director of audiography

The Director of Audiography (DoA)[1] is the head of the sound department and the person responsible for planning the audiography and managing the audiographers of a film. The role of audiographer and the title "director of audiography" derives from Indian filmmaking, where it is an established title credit.[2][3][4][5] The DoA understands the Director's vision, identifies the tasks necessary to realize this vision, budgets for those tasks and coordinates all the work from preproduction to postproduction whilst keeping an eye on overall sound quality.

Since the emergence of the "talkies", a creative and professional conflict has emerged out of the ongoing tension between the visual and aural dimensions of film. Production sound crews often complain at the lack of consideration given to sound on film productions [6] [7]. Having a DoA in preproduction helps to exert a powerful presence to defend the dimension of sound in filmmaking.

In the early days of the Hollywood studio system, every studio had a Sound Director (SD)[8] or a Recording Director (RD)[9], who headed the sound department and took sole credit for the work done by a large crew of sound technicians [10] [11]. Notable Sound Directors include George Groves of Warner's [12], Thomas T. Moulton, Gordon E. Sawyer and Don Rogers of Goldwyn Studios - who also worked at Warner Hollywood Studios.[13] Douglas Shearer is credited as the Recording Director at MGM from 1930 until 1953.[14]

Hollywood sound editor David Yewdall bemoans the loss of the SD in Hollywood[15] and recalls the story of film producer Ross Hunter, working on the film Airport, who neglected to take the advice of sound editor Joe Sikorski to record aircraft sound effects on location; a SD would have immediately appreciated the financial implications of not taking such advice[16]

Following the demise of the studio system and the loss of the Sound Director[17], part of this role was delegated to the Post Production Supervisor, Supervising Sound Editor, Sound Designer or Production Sound Mixer - each role having less knowledge, influence, responsibility and scope than the former SD. Where no DoA is hired - as is often the case when filmmaking in the West - there has been some debate on the most appropriate role to head the sound department; a Supervising Sound Editor is seen as a technical manager - comparable to an Art Director - whereas a Sound designer is viewed as a creative visionary, analogous to a Production designer[18][19]. In practice, the industry sees both roles as equivalent.[20]

The Director of Audiography should not be confused with a Production Supervisor or Post Production Supervisor - both are administrative roles in the Production department. In contrast, the Director of Audiography is a technical role blending leadership, management and administrative skills with creative audiography ranging over preproduction, production and postproduction - constrained only by the Director's vision and the production's schedule and budget. In many ways the DoA role is a natural extension of the more limited postproduction role of Supervising Sound Editor.

No-budget productions have been among the first to employ a DoA in the Western world, since their producers and directors are less constrained by Studio practices or trade union demarcations[21][22].

The Director of Sound (DoS)[23][24] and Audio Director (AuD)[25] roles have also been proposed as alternative titles to that of DoA.

Director of Audiography - Lines indicate chains of command. Arrows indicate paths of communication and coordination


  1. ^ The Culture-Specific Use of Sound in Indian Cinema(1999)
  2. ^ Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu (1958)
  3. ^ Yehi Hai Zindagi (1977)
  4. ^ Virasat (1997)
  5. ^ Bhoothnath (2008)
  6. ^ An Open Letter from your Sound Department by John Coffey et al. (v 1.0)
  7. ^ An Open Letter from your Sound Department by John Coffey et al. (v 1.4)
  8. ^ The Lost Sound Director (page 35) in The Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound by David Lewis Yewdall, M.P.S.E., Focal Press (1999).
  9. ^ Douglas Shearer at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ Sound-On-Film by Vincent LoBrutto (1994)
  11. ^ Walter Murch
  12. ^ George Groves & Warner Bros.
  13. ^ Sound-On-Film by Vincent LoBrutto (1994)
  14. ^ Douglas Shearer
  15. ^ The Lost Sound Director (page 35) in The Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound by David Lewis Yewdall, M.P.S.E., Focal Press (1999).
  16. ^ The Lost Sound Director (page 116) in The Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound by David Lewis Yewdall, M.P.S.E., Focal Press (1999).
  17. ^ The Lost Sound Director (page 35) in The Practical Art of Motion Picture Sound by David Lewis Yewdall, M.P.S.E., Focal Press (1999).
  18. ^ Sound-On-Film by Vincent LoBrutto (1994), page. 254
  19. ^ Sounds of Movies by Nicholas Pasquariello (1996, 1997), page. 130
  20. ^ AMPS website - see the note on Supervising Sound Editors in the Directory of Members PDF
  21. ^ The Park (2009)
  22. ^ The Last Time I Saw You (2009)
  23. ^ Randy Thom
  24. ^ Togetherness Supreme (2010)
  25. ^ Audio Director

See also

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