The Digital Age & the Future of Sound Engineering in India


Sound Engineering

The Indian sound engineering industry has come a long way in a short space of time. Gone are the days of magnetic tapes and analogue recordings. Today we are in the digital era, where crisp 115 dB sound and Dolby digital SRS rule the roost. Sound technology has evolved and progressed steadily over the years, and India has marched along to the beat of this progression along with the rest of the world. Today the sound engineering industry in India is bigger, better and more advanced than ever before.

The state of the industry

To see how the digitisation of sound has affected the industry, look no further than India’s only Oscar winner for sound – Resul Pookutty. In this extract from a transcription of an interview appearing on Seamedu who offer their own sound engineering degree courses in India,he spoke about how complex the process is for making rain sound right in films, he said, “Understand the science of sound. I had done tons and tons of recordings of rain. I had probably used more than 300 layers of rain sound. Different kinds of rain. So that every time the scene has changed, audiences perceive something, or when you watch it a second time, you hear something else, so that it keeps interest.”

He talks about using 300 layers of sound for something as minute as rain falling in the background, this is only possible in a digital era where layers of sound can be easily interspersed with each other and you don’t need reams and reams of tape to record the data.This is technology that is already available today though, what does the future hold for sound in India though?

Future trends in sound engineering

India plays host to one of the world’s biggest film industries in Bollywood, we all know that. India also has a massive television audience and diversity of languages and regions in which both film and television audiences consume content, again this is no secret. However, India’s burgeoning role in the global animation industry, and rapid growth in game development are both not as widely known. All these industries rely heavily on sound.The fact that film, television, gaming, and the online medium such as podcasts and vodcasts are all slowly snowballing into massive industry segments in India means the requirement for top notch sound engineers will continue to grow.

Industry wise, the next big thing in sound recording is spherical sound technology such as Dolby Atmos. Pixar’s Brave is one of the few movies to employ this technology already. A movie in fact who’s technical director is based out of Pune.This technology takes the now traditional 7.1 surround sound to a whole new level of immersion and depth. The idea is providing moving and flowing sound so seamless that the listener feels like they are positioned in the centre of the action.

Even the role and characteristics of a sound engineering are evolving. From being a learning-on-the-jobtype of career and a job that was more mechanical than creative, the role of a sound engineer today is completely different. As the quote from Pookutty exemplifies, the sound design team don’t just replicate the audio but enhance it and add details to improve the experience. Whether you are a music production engineer, a film sound engineer or into game design, sound is looked at as an integral and important, and new and innovate talent is always in demand.

The number of sound engineering courses and institutes that have cropped up in India are clear proof of this rise in stature for sound engineering in India. The numerous professional sound engineering courses in India help young students obtain their sound engineering degree and lay down the groundwork for them to express themselves and their creative ideas in the industry in the future. From theory to practice and teaching the nuances of sound, India’s latest generation of sound engineers and armed to the teeth with knowledge of both the science and art of sound engineering.

Marcus Haney

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