What is asynchronous sound in film?

Asynchronous sound is audio that doesn’t match up with visuals. Discover clever ways to introduce asynchronous sound into your next film project.

When sound doesn’t match a film’s visuals, it’s asynchronous. Video and filmmakers use asynchronous sound to manipulate emotion and narrative — and if you learn how to master it, it’s a powerful tool.

Power up your video editing software and give these tips a try to introduce asynchronous sound into your film or video project.

Build tension with asynchronous sound.

Sounds without visual sources crank up tension. Imagine a character as they walk alone down a dark hallway, and you can hear their footsteps as dogs bark — but you can’t see any dogs, so the sound is asynchronous.

In this example, the asynchronous sound forces your viewer to ask questions about the character and wonder whether they’re in danger. In other words, your film’s tension grows and you can watch the opening sequence of Jaws to witness this in action. The film’s famous musical score is played over a scene of a young woman swimming for an ominous effect.

Exercise creative expression.

You can develop a creative style with asynchronous sound. For example, start with a match cut transition — switch from one shot to the next but keep a consistent composition or subject matter. — then, lay an asynchronous sound over the match cut for added drama, connectivity, or emotion. Swap out tracks in post-production to find what works best for the film’s message.

With practice and the right tools, you can add a unique style to all your films or videos. Discover everything you can do with Adobe Premiere Pro today.