The Vimeo Blog

More Posts

Weekend Challenge: Starting with Sound

Rebecca Tharp
May 16, 2014 by Rebecca Tharp Staff

Hello Vimeans!

I hope y’all aren’t too upset that I’m temporarily replacing Cameron, but he’s on a well-deserved vacation and I’m the stand-in for the Challenge this week!

The idea of “sound,” as vague and open-ended as it seems, has really been on my mind lately. Perhaps it’s living in a city as big and loud as New York, but I feel as though everyday I hear some particular sound that I’ve never heard before. Or everyday I hear snippets of conversations that beg me to hypothesize about strangers’ lives (I guess this is technically “eavesdropping,” but let’s let that slide). Or even hearing my footsteps on different types of ground – cement, grass, gravel – can be fascinating. Focus on the specificity of sound in this past Challenge winner, "Still life red," by Sequentia.

Do you hear those beautiful, delicate details? Of course the imagery is also fantastic, but it's the sound that really gets me here. The natural noise of things is spectacular.

Now, typically, I think that folks envision great films starting with an image. Right? But, can’t sound do the same thing?

That’s my challenge for you this week. Let a sound, or a series of sounds, inspire the rest of your film. The best way to do this is to be attentive of your surroundings, and perhaps carry a recording device around with you for a day (don't stress! You can always use your phone for this if you don't have a different recording device). Think about the following for your process:

  • LISTEN! This is the most important and most crucial aspect of this week's challenge.
    • Record sound with an idea of how it can pair with visuals later.
    • No dialogue! It's ok if your recordings feature folks talking in the background, but no scripts or interviews here, folks!
    • The emphasis of this challenge is on capturing meaningful sound and communicating that to your viewer. I recognize that not everyone has advanced recording devices, so don't worry if the quality of sound isn't the absolute best.
    • Let sounds lead you to images, instead of vice versa. Once you're settled on some super sounds, add in imagery that lends to the sound of the piece!
    • No additional sounds can be added in post!

Any questions? If so, please ask away in the comments below!

If you need a little more sound-spiration, check out this Gondry-directed Partizan spot for Gillette. Your ears will be absolutely tickled, so prepare yourselves.

+ Use sound to lead you to imagery in this aural-based challenge.
+ Max. length: under 3 minutes
+No need to worry about adding music, since you can't add anything in post!
+ Anything goes for the title, but add this at the end of your video's description: "Created for the Weekend Challenge:"
+ Upload and post your video to the Weekend Challenge Group by *****Wednesday, May 21, 2014***** at 11:59 PM (EST).

Only videos made specifically for this Challenge will be considered.

+ The winner will receive a badge and a free Vimeo Plus account for one year! If you're already a Plus member, you'll get another year.
+ The runner-up will receive an extra 3GB of upload space!

All videos must be approved by the Vimeo Staff before appearing in the Group, so don't worry if your video doesn't show up at first; we'll get to it! [challenge: Get out there and record some soundscapes! ,url:]

In this ongoing Vimeo Video School series, we present our community with fun challenges to help hone their video-making prowess.


Michael Adonts

Are the pictures have to be stills? Or can they be like short videos of things that are connected to the sound you use?

Øystein "Austen" Haugen Plus

As the rules say: " Record sound with an idea of how it can pair with visuals later."

So what is visuals? Everything you can see. So no, to answer you question. Use your imagination.

Rebecca Tharp Staff

Hey Michael! Correct, it can definitely be video. You can also incorporate stills, but video is of course encouraged! Good luck!

Nolan McNally

Can the sounds we find be mixed or looped to create an effect similar to the Gillette commercial?

Rebecca Tharp Staff

Sure! You can cut / mix / loop the soundscapes that you record, but be sure that you aren't adding additional sounds or music in post!

Ana Dumbara

Are collages also accepted? Meaning can we sounds recorded by us but images recorded by others? Gracias!


So we can only use sounds we recorded ourselves? Can we layer and eq them to give more depth to the soundscape?

Rebecca Tharp Staff

Hey Richie, as I mentioned above, you can cut / mix / loop the soundscapes that you record, but be sure that you aren't adding additional sounds or music in post!

The key is to really focus on sound and build your video around it!

Jibran Bisharat Plus

Hey, cool. Can I use audio I captured a few weeks ago? I have amazing stuff (like rain storm inside a tent) from the desert that I'd love to use for this. -J

Rebecca Tharp Staff

You can use sound that you've recorded in the past, but you can't submit a video you've already made! Only videos made specifically for this challenge will be considered.

Hershey Plus

Wow. What a great challenge. I'm a Foley mixer and people often forget how important good sound is. People forgive a lot of picture issues but if your sound isn't good, you are dead in the water and going to possibly pay through the nose to to fix it.

A. L. Crego

I completely agree with you. I'm not mixer or producer, but I apreciare too much the good sound! I wish I had a better recorder and better knowledge about sound!


A great challenge, really look forward to seeing the participating videos :)

David Zabriskie Plus

So a shot I needed required a sunset on the water and it was cloudy every day until today...I hoped that the video would be finished editing by midnight tonight but it doesn't look like that will be the case. Is there any way I could get a couple hours' extension on the deadline?

A. L. Crego

i'm uploading right now…. I'm enter??? please!! all day coffee and no sleep!! ;)

A. L. Crego

I reply in your comment because I were in your same situation. Sorry if disturb!

Scott Duffy Plus

Just wondering when the page will be updated with the entries?

Daxcat Plus

So disappointed I couldn't participate in this one due to other commitments. It's of great interest. I hope you do another similar challenge soon.

Noel Pineda

The due date has expired, am I wrong? Or Can I still upload it today? Thank you

Jose Fuentes

Recording and editing will affect sound, can anyone point into a video or web page with technical detail of sound codecs, recording best practices for selecting digital formats for recorded sound.

A. L. Crego

google ----- it's my best teacher…… don't conform with the 12 first pages…. seek and seek.. and READ

This conversation is missing your voice. Please join Vimeo or log in.