The MA/MSc in Post-production with Sound Design is designed to give a solid grounding in the latest post-production systems and techniques as well as a rich understanding of digital sound design creation for contemporary media. The programme is unique, as it allows students the choice of focusing on production-orientated work (for an MA degree) or on formal research into the technologies behind post-production systems (for an MSc degree). As a result, graduates of the programme are technically informed practitioners or researchers, with a complete understanding of the creative process.
This course is accredited by Creative Skillset, the UK film and TV industry sector skills council.
The modules unite powerful scientific/technical training with industry-inspired hands-on examination of issues surrounding sound design creativity, program creation and artistic decision-making. Our facilities include:
Nearly two-thirds of our graduates are currently working in the industry, with companies such as De Lane Lea, Envy and Sumners Post. Feature film credits for our graduates include Prometheus (20th Century Fox), Savages (Universal Pictures) and The Knife That Killed Me (Universal Pictures). Nearly a quarter of our graduates so far have furthered their studies by pursuing a PhD in Sound Design.
The Department has strong industry connections, and guest sessions from professionals are a regular part of the course.
The course is run in parallel with the MA/MSc in Postproduction with Visual Effects to ensure a rounded understanding of the post-production process as a whole.
MA/MSc in Postproduction with Sound Design Course Structure
This term provides the fundamental basis from which to build a rich understanding of postproduction and how sound design integrates into the production pipeline.
1. Digital Production and Postproduction Workflows
This module looks at digital production and postproduction processes for the creation of commercial film and television programmes. It examines the latest technical and aesthetic workflows for picture and sound. There are two associated labs - one for Picture Techniques and one for Sound Techniques - in which students put theory into practice by applying concepts and techniques covered in lectures. It is taken by all MA/MSc Postproduction with Visual Effects, MA/MSc Postproduction with Sound Design and MA Digital Film and Television Production students. Assessment is through closed-book tests and portfolio-building individual project work (20 credits).
2. Languages of Film and Television
This module examines the various strategies through which moving images communicate with audiences. Drawing on the close analysis of film and television texts as well as the industrial and technological conditions underpinning their production, students will explore the connections between theories of film and television and the practice of its production, distribution and consumption. It is taken by all MA/MSc Postproduction with Visual Effects, MA/MSc Postproduction with Sound Design and MA Digital Film andTelevision Production students. Assessment is by essay (10 credits).
This term provides students with greater opportunity to apply concepts and techniques presented in the first term as well as to expand on their understanding of the creative process.
1. Group Projects
Teams of students (from Visual Effects, Sound Design and Digital Film and TV Production) will undertake one exercise that first involves the creation of a title sequence for a film or television programme that leads into an an action sequence similar to those found in films and high end TV drama. Students will specialise in their respective areas of study but work in collaborative teams to create programmes to professional standards. This exercise enables students to gain an understanding of the creative process and hone problem-solving skills in an industry-inspired applied setting. Assessment is through practical work and reflective essay (20 credits).
2. Audio Effects Design Lab
This module introduces students to the fundamental theory and practical skills involved in the creation of sound design. It involves an examination of technical design and implementation of sound synthesis and sound processing systems as well as their creative application. Practicals involve extensive hands-on experience with software packages such as Pure Data, Reaktor and Matlab. Assessment is through a series of directed practical exercises and an in-class test (10 credits).
3. Spatialized Audio and Surround Sound
This module introduces the concept of spatial audio recording, looking at production and surround-sound reproduction with a particular emphasis on the common methods and formats employed in the entertainment, broadcast and games industry. It features work on our Euphonix System 5 Fusion console, which is an industry standard. Assessment is through practical project work (10 credits).
4. The Business of Production and Postproduction
This module aims to provide students with a realistic picture of the film and television industries including the development, financing and distribution of projects, as well as an understanding of the business aspects of the postproduction. It features regular guest sessions from major industry personnel. Past guests have come from Warner Bros/De Lane Lea , Pinewood Studios Sound, Prime Focus, Molinare and many other top companies. It is taken by all MA/MSc Postproduction with Visual Effects and MA/MSc Postproduction with Sound Design students. Assessment through presentation and written assignment (10 credits). Assessment through presentation and written assignment (10 credits).
The final term is dedicated to the design and development of individual project work.
1. Extended Research Project
Students will propose an individual project and agree this with their supervisor. If the nature of the work is production orientated (e.g., creation of a soundtrack for a short video, sound design work for animation, etc.) then it will be considered in support of an MA degree.
If the nature of the work is highly technical in nature, informed by current research and seeks to advance knowledge in a specific area of media technology (e.g., development of new software in support of sound design, acoustic modelling and sound synthesis for audio effects, etc.) then it will be considered in support of an MSc.
Work on the project will take place during the remainder of the Summer term and throughout the summer period with regular supervisions. Final submission is in mid-September (100 credits).
Throughout the year there will be regular seminars featuring practitioners from industry discussing how theory relates to practice and sharing first-hand experience. These are not assessed and are simply to provide additional opportunities to chat with working practitioners.
Up to date information on Postgraduate fees and funding are available from the central university website.
Although the film and television industry is highly competitive, there is a constant demand for sound designers who not only have a solid knowledge of current software and post-production techniques but also possess a firm grasp of story and how technology can be adapted and applied to enhance the audiovisual experience.
Likewise there is an increasing demand in both industry and academia for researchers with a firm understanding of how post-production tools are applied to facilitate creation of the next generation of post-production technologies.
No university can guarantee work after completion of a degree but many graduates of this course have gone on to work for major film and television companies including De Lane Lea, Pinewood, Envy, Sumners Post, Green Screen Productions, Partizan, and more.
Others have gone on to further study or work in academia pursuing a PhD in Sound Design in this Department.
These skills will make you suitable for graduate jobs in many areas of work. To see where our graduates get jobs, see our Graduate Achievements page.
Our own sound design expert Dr Sandra Pauletto, leading wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, sound artist Marco Donnarumma and composer Adam Linson were invited to discuss the meaning and boundaries of sound design as discipline and practice at the Symposium "What is Sound Design?" at the University of Edinburgh.
David Sonnenschein, sound designer and author of "Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema" visited the Department and talked to our students about his unique approaches to sound design for film and other media, sound mapping for storytelling and his latest sound design project: the game "3 Deaf Mice".
Our Professor of Interactive Media, Nick Holliman has just had his research into using audio to improve depth perception in 3D TV published.
Meanwhile Dr Gavin Kearney's work on simulating the cinema surround sound experience in a living room has just been featured in an advert for some loudspeakers.
Sam Hughes a Department of Theatre, Film and Television MA student in Postproduction with Sound Design, is one of only three students in the UK to receive the Prince William Scholarships in Film, Television and Games, supported by BAFTA with Warner Brothers. This scholarship includes fees funded by Warner Brothers, a short funded work placement within the Warner Brothers group of companies and access to additional Warner Brothers mentors. Take a look at the images from the recently held BAFTA Scholarships Celebratory Reception.
Adrian Rhodes a sound designer and re-recording mixer from Goldcrest and ex-York University student, talks to students about "Mixing and Sound Design: The Industry", this event was organised by the York Audio Network.
Leading sound design researchers and practitioners come to York for the Symposium: Perspectives on Sound Design chaired by our lecturer Dr Sandra Pauletto. Take a look at Andy Farnell's review on this Symposium which appeared on the Designing Sound Website and the piece that appeared in the Calrec community website.
Read about audio in broadcast, postproduction, recording and multimedia production in the Resolution Magazine. This edition features our MA/MSc in Postproduction with Sound Design as one of its pick of audio educationalists in Europe and an article entitled "In Search of High-Fidelity Education" by our very own Dr Gavin Kearney, which argues that of all the audio skills to be taught, the ability to listen is the most important.
Who to contact
- Dr Gavin Kearney
How to apply
You can apply for this course using our online application system.
If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.
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