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ITU Presents: The Art of Sound Design with Emmy Award Winner Michael Kimball


On Tuesday, December 2, ITU is proud to welcome Emmy Award Winning Sound Designer Michael Kimball to ITU Presents. Kimball comes to the university having worked on productions like X-Files, Steel, and Millennium. His presentation will focus on his work as a sound designer, and examine how sound design fits into the greater whole of filmmaking.

Kimball’s work as a sound designer involves the capture and manipulation of sound for use in video productions. While video is considered a visual medium, sound is a key contribution to the overall look and feel of any film and TV show. Without great sound design, many of the best films of our generation would not exist. Sound sets the tone for every genre, from horror to comedy; it’s the slight increase in sound on a great punch line, and the spooky scream in your favorite scary movie.

Kimball’s presentation will dive into why sound is so important to a visual production, and explain how filmmakers go about mixing, taking, and bringing the sound of modern cinema to life.

From Hollywood to San Jose

IMG_4104Kimball started his career in sound design as a sound effects editor for the TV movie The Good Old Boys. The 1995 movie was one of his first jobs in the business. He was able to quickly parlay his work on the film into other work on the hit TV show The X-Files. On the series, he worked as a sound editor for five years.

He worked at West Productions in Burbank for both projects. While at the company, he wore multiple hats as a sound effects editor and chief sound designer. During his time at the studio, he won two Emmys for his work on The X-Files.

Uncovering the Art of Sound

IMG_4115Good sound is often just expected in modern cinema and television. Sometimes taken for granted, good sound is only noticed when compared to bad sound. Think about the last movie or TV show you’ve seen, and consider the time and craft that went into getting the sound just right. The creak of the wood floors as the hero walks through an old house, or the swooshing sound of airplanes passing by in your favorite blockbuster. Sound brings an undeniable sense of emotion to each production.

A third-generation sound designer, Kimball is well aware of the importance of sound in filmmaking. Many filmmakers tend to focus on getting the great shot or right performance, yet sound is often overlooked. That is where Kimball comes in. He is able to use his expertise to perfectly craft the volume, effects, and audio pitch for a film.

He uses a variety of tools to capture the perfect audio for his films. From post-production editing to live audio, Kimball is able to take sound recorded from multiple resources and build a vivid accompaniment to every scene.

Sharing Knowledge with ITU

itu_presents_header_v2Kimball’s illustrious career was one of specialization training and self-teaching. Following a short tenure at Peirce College, majoring in business and theater arts, he decided to drop out of school to pursue independent training in the field. It wasn’t until he had over 10 years of experience in the industry that he decided to go back to school, and pursue a degree in sound design. Kimball received his BS in Digital Arts and Sound Design in 2010.

His decision to go back to school ended up being a fortuitous one, as he will become an instructor at ITU this Spring trimester. After building a relationship with the university as a sound designer for ITU Presents, Kimball found an appreciation for working with students, and decided to take a teaching position at the university. He’ll be taking his knowledge to the Digital Arts Department’s Sound Design course starting early next year.

Learn More

To see Kimball’s presentation, be sure to RSVP by going to our EventBrite page. Please remember, ITU students who started in Fall 2014 are required to attend 12 ITU Presents before graduating.