SFX in Action


In this activity students reflect on the importance of sound effects and music in films. They develop several art skills as well as the autonomy and the discipline required to perform tasks related to sound recording for an animated film.


An animation needs several sounds, from sound effects to narration or complete dialogues. In order for students to better understand the importance of sound in films, present pieces of soundtracks and sound effects from famous animated films to the class. Ask them to discuss the meaning behind the use of sounds and the impact this has on each scene. Hopefully, they will begin to understand that a soundtrack can define a film… and vice versa.

Before getting them to work on the sounds for their film, clarify the steps involved. Organise the groups and assign them sound production tasks. One group can be responsible for the narration, another one for the sound effects and another for the sound track. To record the audio files we suggest using Audacity, a free and simple to use audio editor. Use the previously made materials (storyboard and animation files) so that students have a head start. To help with the task, let students use two computers – one to view the animation as they work and another to perform the audio recording and editing. Save all the files to specific folders on the computer (make sure students choose the same file type for all their work), and don’t forget to name the files according to the scenes to which they belong. This will make the merging of the sound files into the film quicker and easier.

Time needed 2-3 hours.


  • Internet access.

  • Audio editing software: Audacity – http://audacity.sourceforge.net

  • Rooms with sufficient sound isolation or rooms in quiet areas of the school!

  • Microphones.

  • Materials previously made for the film (animations and storyboard).

Hints and tips

  • Remember that synchronism between animated scenes and recorded audio is needed for a good final result. But if it turns out not to be so good, you can always improve the recordings during the assembling of the film.

  • Take your time! The recording process requires concentration and rarely comes out perfect first time. Give the students several opportunities to work on it.

  • Ask students to be creative when it comes to sound effects and to experiment with different types of materials to produce the sound they want.

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This post is also available in: Dutch


  1. Animation and Cinema | TACCLE 2 - October 1, 2014

    […] Station 6: SFX in Action Students use audio editing software (Audacity) to add soundtracks and audio special effects to their films. […]

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