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How to add Sound Effects to a Comedy Sketch

Learn how to use SFX for comic effect in this example, as we finish off a comedy sketch with the help of SFX Cellar 

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to enrich your content with aptly-chosen sound effects. Here's a before and after so you can see the difference reading this article can make!

Here's the raw video of the comedy sketch. It features a heating engineer coming round to someone’s house to carry out a repair. The jokes in the video need sound effects, so while you’re watching see if you can plan out where you'd be adding sounds in your own content:

→ Explore thousands of curated sound effects and add them to your SFX library. Royalty free high quality sounds ready for any platform. Start Free with SFX Cellar.

How to determine what's wrong with your video

As mentioned above, the video that you’ve just watched is a raw, unfinished version. The shots have been set up correctly and the recorded audio is good, but this comedy sketch needs to have SFX added in order to be complete. In its current state, the interaction between the two people in the video doesn’t really make sense, and everything just seems a bit weird and confusing! Always take a step back, and think like this like an audience member.

Sound effects are often essential to the creation of genre content like horror or comedy, and the task for this particular project is to find SFX that will tie the sketch together and add a punchline. As you can probably tell from the video there are obvious moments for sound effects, so all we need to do is find the right ones from the extensive library of high-quality royalty-free files on SFX Cellar. 

How to add Sound Effects to a Comedy Sketch

How to choose the right SFX

Because there are quite a few sound effects in this video, we’ll break them down into two categories: sound effects for realism and sound effects for comedy. Sound effects for realism, or foley, are sounds added during post-production that recreate every day sounds like footsteps, and clothes rustling.

The sound effects for comedy are the sounds that contribute to the joke about the malfunctioning boiler in the video, which are combining for comedic effect rather than to create realism.

  • Sound effects for realism 

The first step of the process of adding SFX to the video is to hit the moments where there’s an obvious action or motion that requires a sound effect. For example, at 0.09 seconds in the video we see the front door of the house being opened.

This is the type of thing that a foley artist working on a film set would embellish, and it’s easy for us to do the same with SFX Cellar. 

From the Household Sound Effects section we’ll combine “Doorbell domestic two tone fast”,”Door wood bedroom smooth interior pov knob turn reckless” and “Door wood sauna close slow easy” to cover the scene of the heating engineer arriving at the door and being let in.

We can also use “door wood bedroom loose interior pov close hard” for the final scene where the door gets slammed shut. 

The second thing we’ll add is the sound of the water coming out of the tap when it’s turned on. We can dive into the Household Sound Effects category again and find running water sounds from kitchen sinks, specifically: “Faucet running water'' and Water faucet tap sink kitchen on run air bursts long thin to gurgle die dribble”.

On top of this, we’ll add telephone beeps at 0.07 seconds in the video, to go with the buttons being pressed on the mobile phone. The exact sound effects we used for this were “Walkie talkie two way cobra off beep button press 1” and “walkie talkie two way cobra ring vibrate 7 doubles rf click”.

  • Sound effects for comedy 

The joke in the video is that the boiler is making an odd sound, and the heating engineer, instead of fixing the issue, uses it to create a dance beat. To ensure that the joke works, we need to grab dramatic sounds that you wouldn’t expect to hear from a boiler, and combine them rhythmically over a track from Music Cellar.

The first thing that we’ll do is create the weird sound that the boiler is making. You can find plenty of eerie creaks and groans in the Metallic Sound Effects section on SFX Cellar, so we’ll use “Hatch metal open close groan creak slow to release” as our base sound.

To make the boiler feel extra messed up, we’ll add in the sound of a damaged hard drive from the Computer Sound Effects subcategory of the Technology Sound Effects section.

Have a listen to the isolated sound effect below to hear the two sounds combined:

Boiler Sound

To make the sounds rhythmic, we can position them at different points on our NLE software’s audio timeline (we’re using Adobe Premiere Pro) and combine them with the beat from a track called Autow Nite Superstore – Orange Marmalade.

This music is only to underscore the SFX elements, so we’ll keep the volume low and use a bare section of the song where you can mostly just hear the drum beat. 

Take a listen to the full beat that we created below:

Beat

Final result

With a little bit of effort, and quite a few sound effects from SFX Cellar, we’ve kitted out our comedy sketch video. It required us to be imaginative with our SFX selection, and also to be pretty handy at adding the sounds into the audio timeline on our NLE.

If you’re taking on a similar project you can learn exactly how to add SFX to videos using NLE software in our informative guide on the subject..

  

Have a look at the final version of the comedy sketch below, and make sure you compare it to the original to see the amazing difference high quality sound effects can make!

August 27, 2021
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