Decisions about sound range from voice over considerations to soundtrack and yes even sound effects. One of the first areas I focus on with regards to voice over is the avoidance of redundancy. I have students spend time editing stories to make sure that they eliminate words that convey meaning that is already conveyed with an image. There is no need to describe the color of the ocean if the picture is there. The other consideration is pacing. First students need to slow down to allow viewers time to process images. Second, nothing adds more to meaning than to start the voice over at least one full second after the image appears. Again this allows the viewer time to process the information. I tell students, “You know your story, but your audience does not.” Soundtrack first rule: instrumentals only. Lyrics tend to distract away from the narration—the heart of the story. One thing to keep in mind: it is not essential to have music throughout the story. A break in music can add drama to a piece, especially at the turning point in the story. Students also want to know if it is beneficial to use several different songs in a story. Once again, I go back to asking them why and to emphasize the “less is more” philosophy.

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