Plan An Audio Design Brief

Step one - Always have a plan.

Step two - Always write down your plan.

When I first began recording sounds for my collection I would stick a microphone at anything that sounded interesting and pressed record.

Now that worked out all well and good for me when the recording session was spontaneous, or I was only planning on recording a few sounds that session. But it became more difficult to keep track of things when projects became more involved.

One project that came round to kick me later on for not creating a plan in the beginning was my own car. At the time, I owned a small car and so happened to not have many sound recordings of vehicles. I set about on creating a complete collection of sounds from drive bys to Foley within the car's interior. I owned the car, so I did not have any issues with limited access and could record at anytime I felt like. So, without any concern I decided to hit record and start collecting sounds.

I wasn't keeping track of which sounds I had previously recorded and which I still had left to do. I was slating each track by voice over so that I could record as much as possible and edit and master the audio files at a later date.

Fast forward a few weeks… This project wasn't high on my list of items to do. After all, I always had access and the ability to record these sounds so I felt no need to rush…

Then my car decided to kick the bucket. Working seemingly perfectly one minute and then bang, gone.

I had hoped that I had captured enough sounds to create a good “go to” car collection. During editing and mastering I realised that this would not be the case.

As I did not plan which sounds I would record I had mistakenly created many recordings of the same sound. But much worse, I missed out a lot of sounds I thought I must have already captured.

for example I had drive bys at 10, 20 and 50mph but no other speeds, whereas I had interiors of 5, 10, 30, 40, 60, 70mph. I had car door opening and closing interior at various angles but only captured a single door closing exterior.

There was no order to the sounds and all it would have taken would have been a plan. A written plan. Even a checklist of sounds would have been more useful than editing all my sounds only to realise that I had many missing.

Shortly after this mistake I began creating design briefs for all projects that were not a limited set of sounds.

A design brief should contain, if nothing else, at least the sound names and descriptions… A written document showing a plan of some sorts.

This design document has been helpful for me to keep track of all the assets I create for both personal and client based projects. It has all the details I find important, such as if the sound has been implemented, to be “tagged” with an asset.

Below are links to my personal design briefs. Some parts of if may not work for you but feel free to change it however you like. I myself change this template to remove all client based items when I am recording for my own purposes.

I've included links for both Apple Numbers and a copy for Excel.

Audio Assets Template For Numbers Audio Assets Template For Excel