Open City Documentary Festival

across London
Nov 4 — Nov 5

Sound Mixing for Self-Shooters (In-Person)

One Saturday and one Sunday, 10:30am to 5:30pm UK time

A new course aimed at professional/semi-professional filmmakers who frequently have to work without a sound designer, providing them with a range of techniques and approaches to create exciting sounding documentaries.

Price £250 / £225 Students / £210 UCL Students

Level: Professional/Semi-Professional Directors, Editors, Shooting DPs or Intermediate/Advanced Beginner Documentary Filmmakers

Who this course is for: Professional/Semi-Professional filmmakers who frequently have to work to budgets without a Sound Designer or Dubbing Mixer. Perhaps you create short-form video content for corporate/non-profit clients, or you might be a filmmaker employed by a company to create internal content, a video journalist or documentary maker creating short-form micro-docs. You may also aspire to create your own feature documentaries and would like to have a better understanding of the post-production sound process before working with a Sound Designer.

Prerequisites: Students must have working experience of editing in Adobe Premiere.

Aims/Learning Objectives:

After completing the course, you will:

  • be more confident in listening to sound and have a wider vocabulary to draw upon from which to speak about sound;
  • have a confident understanding and command of the audio tools available within Premiere, as well as its limitations;
  • be able to create better sounding mixes for your short-form online content;
  • be able to create more exciting edits for documentaries, using temp sound cues cleverly to drive the narrative forward;
  • be confident in understanding a range of techniques and approaches to create exciting sounding documentaries and to communicate ideas effectively with Sound Designers.

Course Outline

The course will comprise 4 sessions over 2 consecutive days. Throughout the course we will watch and discuss excerpts from documentaries, referring back to key concepts.

1. Introduction: Listening

  • listening to and discussing field recordings, exploring concepts such as frequency, perspective, foreground/background, reverberation
  • listening to and discussing dialogue, exploring concepts such as plosives, sibilance, loudness and frequency in relation to the human voice

2. Short-form Video Content ‒ Basics of Sound Editing & Dialogue

Working on a sample film project of a short interview in Premiere.

  • planning a sound mix in Premiere
  • using the Audio Track Mixer
  • comparison of fades and volume keyframes
  • dialogue edits/fixing mistakes
  • using wildtracks to create a smooth dialogue track
  • compression, EQ and de-essing dialogue
  • blending radio mic and shotgun
  • adding atmos to create a smooth mix
  • ducking music track to create a smooth mix

3. Observational Documentary ‒ Foley and Ambience

Working on a sample film project from a short documentary in Premiere/Audition, using Foley, Library FX and Ambience/Atmos to create an immersive and poignant soundtrack for a short observational documentary.

  • Post-production sound workflow, cinema and domestic channel formats
  • Planning a Foley cue list
  • Recording Foley
  • Using Library FX when Foley isn’t an option
  • Layering atmos to create an ambient soundscape
  • Adding movement/story to an expository soundtrack

4. Documentary Film Essay ‒ Narrative Soundscape

Working on a sample film project from an essay-style documentary in Premiere/Audition, using field recordings to create an abstract, narrative soundscape.

  • Discussing a range of different artistic approaches
  • Considering perspective, fidelity/contrast, silence, narrative arc

This course takes place over one weekend (4-5th November) from 10:30am to 5:30pm, with a one-hour lunch break.

If you have any enquiries regarding this course, please contact or call +442031084774.

Course location: Open City Docs, 4th floor, 40 Bernard Street, WC1N 1LE, London



Tim Bamber


Tim Bamber is a Sound Designer and Music Composer based in Bristol, working primarily with sound to picture but also across art, music, theatre and education. His interests include listening, field recording, installation and diverse music practices.
Recent work includes All My Friends Hate Me (BFI, premiered at Tribeca/LFF, available on BFI Player) and Sweet Little Despair (BFI Network, winner of the SW Award at Encounters).