What Are SFX And How Can They Make Your Videos Better?

Tap into the power of sound effects to create engaging videos! See our detailed guide on sound effects to see how they can elevate your content.

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Snapmuse Published: Sep 08, 2022 Updated: Jul 17, 2023 9 min read

How can SFX make your videos better?

It is almost impossible to create a good video without the power of sound. From music to special effects, sound is what brings videos into life. 

With the right editing, high quality royalty free music and sound effects, any video can be a hit. In order to enhance and elevate your videos, learn the subtleties of sound design. 

Music is one of the most important elements of sound design. That is why content creators use free beats, popular songs, and non copyright music to make their videos more appealing. 

Yet music is not the only component of sound design. Often overlooked, SFX is what makes videos feel more realistic and natural. Without proper and high quality SFX, videos feel very flat and artificial. 

Imagine that you are watching the critically acclaimed masterpiece, Jurassic Park, and the dinosaurs make absolutely no sound. Or try to envision how the Lord of the Rings movie series would be without orcs making gruesome sounds, ents speaking in that mysterious tone of voice, Gollum whispering “Precious,” in that menacing yet fragile style. It would be terrible, wouldn’t it? Even the cinematic masterpieces would make no sense, nor evoke no emotions in the audience without proper SFX.

That is why many professional content creators, producers, editors and video artists pay great attention to SFX. 

If you want to add some more pizzazz to your videos and make them feel more authentic, see our detailed guide on SFX below.

What does SFX mean?

“SFX” is an abbreviation that means special effects. 

“Special effects” is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of techniques and applications that aim to create a sense of realism and immersion in the video. Editing tricks, camera effects, animations, creative use of certain lenses, sound effects, audio editing techniques like delays and reverbs are all special effects that aim to make the content more appealing and believable for the consumer. 

Special effects are used in a wide range of industries such as theatre, video games, film, television, podcasts, vlogs, amusement parks, and simulator industries. The main goal of special effects is to simulate the events told or shown in a story so that the content is more engaging and realistic.

The very first special effects were created in 1857 by Oscar Rejlander: He brought together different parts of 32 film negatives to create a single image. Since then, special effects have changed and improved drastically. 

Optical effects, mechanical effects, computer-generated imagery, and sound effects are four main categories of SFX. 
Optical effects, as it name suggests, involve employing optical illusions in-camera or in post-production. Multiple exposure and using green screen to add a different background are two examples of optical effects.

Mechanical effects, on the other hand, involve certain tools and techniques during the live-action shooting: Pyrotechnics, atmospheric effects like artificial rain, scale models, mechanized props, animatronics, prosthetic makeup, and scenery.

Computer-generated imagery involves using computer tools and certain software to create desired visuals. With the advancements in technology, CGI has replaced most optical and mechanical effects since it makes room for more creativity and costs a fraction of other effects in terms of money and time.

Sound effects are specifically recorded, generated or edited sounds that allow the content creators to create a vivid ambiance. Sound of raindrops, noise created by a wrapping paper, barking of a dog, crackling of fire are examples of sound effects. In addition to these “real life” sounds, certain audio effects can also be used to create sound effects -such as reverb or distortion.

What are SFX in music?

In music context, “SFX” means sound effects or audio effects. It is an essential element of sound design. 

SFX can be created or processed sounds. Sounds created by everyday items or animals can be recorded carefully to create sound effects, or certain editing techniques can be followed to distort, amplify, enhance or change existing sound sin a video to create desired sound effects. The main goal of sound effects is to add realism and improve the sense of presence through giving voice to the world presented in a video: When we see someone unwrapping a bar of chocolate, we expect to hear the rustle of that package, or when there is a fantastic beast in the screen, we want to hear its otherworldly sound. Sound effects help producers and content creators answer our needs as the viewers and give voice to the things we see in the video. 

Noise generated by a crowd, footsteps, splash of water, animal sounds, crack of the wood are all examples of SFX. When used correctly, such sound effects immerse the viewers in the right environment. This way, the viewer feels like not a spectator but a participant in the video.

What are SFX used for?

SFX are used to establish a believable world in all forms of storytelling: Podcasts, YouTube videos, TV shows, films, theatre and so forth. 

With the SFX, it is possible to create the content that draws the viewer in, evokes strong emotions, and leaves memorable moments behind. 

The main reasons to invest in and use SFX are as follows:

  • Sound effects add a strong sense of realism to the content. As a result, sound effects make the story more believable. Whether you are telling the story of an alien or an everyday man, you need sound effects to create a realistic atmosphere for your viewers.
  • With SFX, it is easier to make the viewer “feel”. Strategic use of sound effects creates intense emotions thus making the film, game, play, podcast etc a livelier experience for the consumer.
  • SFX set the scene better than almost any cinematic tool. For instance, let’s say that you want to indicate that a specific scene is serene, calm and happy, you can incorporate the sound of birds singing. Or if you want to make your viewers feel nervous, on edge and in a rush, you can add faint tick tacks of a clock in the background to create the feeling that the time is running out. Sound effects help you immensely when you are trying to establish a mood, set a scene, indicate a feeling.

What is SFX in a movie?

In cinema, SFX can mean optical illusions, computer-generated special visual effects, or sound effects. 

Filmmakers use SFX to create an illusion: an explosion, a mythical creature, a fight scene, a fire and so forth require the use of special effects. 

SFX in a movie can be pyrotechnics, prosthetic makeup, creative use of certain lenses and angles, stop-motion animation, miniatures, special backgrounds like green screen, props and such. 
Certain techniques, tools and software are used for SFX. 

In addition to visual SFX, filmmakers and producers also use sounds and sound effects. They can combine various audio clips to create a sound effect or record the noise created by various items. Then they strategically use these sounds to create a desired effect, increase believability of a scene, set a mood, or evoke feelings in the audience.

What is SFX in editing?

SFX in editing can be adjusting the speed of a clip, concatenating several visuals and sounds, amplifying or distorting the sound of a clip and more. 

Filmmakers and producers use a wide array of tools and techniques in editing to create mesmerising SFX. 

What does SFX mean on TikTok?

In order to support content creators, TikTok offers thousands of SFX: Music clips, sound effects, video filters and more. 

You can use the green screen filter to add interesting backgrounds to your TikToks, employ fun and quirky filters to make yourself look like a mythical creature, add sound effects to make your videos pop, or incorporate popular songs to create fun and memorable TikToks. 

With the right use of SFX on TikTok, you can create viral videos, reach wider audiences and grow your follower base.

If you want to create interesting TikToks, you can use the sound and effects library of the platform itself or find high quality sound effects on non copyright music libraries. 

On Snapmuse, you can find royalty free instrumental music, vlog music no copyright free download, or discover our comprehensive sound effects library.

From non copyright Christmas music to intro songs for your TikToks, we offer a wide range of royalty free songs and audio.

How can I find SFX for my videos and films?

You can find thousands of high quality, non copyright sound effects on Snapmuse. Take a closer look at our sound effects library now to create viral TikToks, fun YouTube videos, engaging podcasts, impressive advertisements, thrilling movies and much more.

If you don’t want your videos to get flagged or removed by social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram, you must only use no copyright, royalty free songs and sound effects.  

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