The Power of Sound

From thought to sound for beginners.

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Course Level
ECTS credits
Course location(s)
Utrecht, The Netherlands
The Power of Sound for beginners


Most people assume that the sound they hear on film is the real sound of the film. This is what it sounded like when it was shot.

Nothing could be further from the truth. 80% of the sound was added later and is a dramatic addition to the story. Dialogue, ambiance, foley, effects and music are the sound emotions and part of the sound story. Ultimately, these components together are the DNA of the film sound. How do you go about that added value which sound can have? This applies to drama as well as to documentaries, and it is called ‘sound design’.

In this course you will learn to communicate about and with sound. How do you assess what kind of sound you need for a film and where can you find it? Using examples, you will gain an understanding of the power of sound. You will learn to realize that manipulating the sound you hear can make your narration stronger. We will practice storytelling with sound. In order to work with sound, you need to get a basic understanding of a microphone and recorder and how to edit it in an editing programme. As the course progresses, you will learn more about the technology you need. You will also hear about what is involved before the sound of a film can be heard in the theater, on television or on the internet.

We will influence the narratives we come up with in such a way that an adequate narrative is created by the sound.

You will have to rely on your own ears a lot, and learn what you actually hear and what its meaning is. Why does sound make you feel safe or unsafe, what does silence or noise do to your brain? How can you handle sound subtly? You work in groups and will discover that sound is different for everyone. What do you find beautiful or ugly? In addition to this content assessment, you will also look for multiple combinations of sounds that can affect your story. What happens when something is soft, sounds far away or has a lot of reverb. What are ambiances and what is foley anyway? You will learn how to use sound ingredients to create a landscape. That cooking of sound ingredients is a process that is not finished overnight. It grows and you have to learn to taste it.

There is also a focus on magnifying sound and transparency. About loud and soft and how does that work in cinema? Afterwards you may have more questions than when you started because you have become aware of all the sound factors.

Day to Day Documents

Power of Sound Program 2024.pdf


Erik Langhout, with 50 years of experience as a soundman. Working in feature films and documentaries, a sound designer and foley artist. He is also a teacher at the Dutch Film Academy and has been a sound teacher at the HKU AVM department for the last 10 years. Together with his partner Nicole Talsma he has made a number of “sound installations”.

Target audience

Anyone, young or old, who wants more with storytelling in sound. No technical prior knowledge required.

Aim of the course

The participant will learn how to use sound to tell a story. How to record and collect sounds and how to process them into a whole in an edit programme.

Study load

The Summer School days include lectures, demo's, discussion and feedback sessions on work-in-progress. Every day there are two sessions: a presentation on a certain aspect of creating soundscapes and a session in which assignments are being viewed and discussed. In the remaining time the student is expected to work on the exercises and a final assignment. The teacher will be around all day.


  • Course fee: €1000.00
  • Included: Course + course materials + lunch
  • Housing fee: €400
  • Housing provider: Utrecht Summer School

Additional information

The housing costs do not include a Utrecht Summer School sleeping bag. This is a separate product on the invoice. If you wish to bring your own bedding, please deselect or remove the sleeping bag from your order. 


For this course you are required to upload the following documents when applying:

  • Motivation Letter
  • C.V.