Sound effects: The ultimate guide for content creators

Master the art of sound design and find out how sound effects can make your videos pop.

Jamie Chambers
Illustration accompanying a YouTuber's guide to using sound effects in videos.

As a content creator, getting to grips with how to use sound effects can make a huge difference to your videos. After all, watching video is as much an audio experience as it is a visual one.

Close your eyes and you can practically hear the whir of a lightsaber from Star Wars or the roar of a T-Rex in Jurassic Park. Sound effects aren’t just for the big screen either. Just think of the trademark ka-ching every time Mr Beast hands out money in his mega challenges.

Sound effects are a shortcut to adding big screen magic to your content, whether you’re filming Hollywood blockbuster-style action videos or a bedroom vlog. Adding a ding to your thumbs up animation and a satisfying click to your subscriber call-out are just a couple of ways you can take your content to the next level.

So let us guide you through how you can find the perfect sound effects and use them to improve your videos.

The importance of using sound effects in videos

Illustrations of different sound effects content creators can use in their videos.

The main aim of creating a video is to make something that people enjoy watching, right? Sound effects are a surefire way of upping the entertainment levels and keeping people engaged.

After all, quality audio is just as important as stunning footage. That’s why the sound in your videos shouldn’t be an afterthought. Superstar creator Peter McKinnon puts it best when he says that sound design makes his YouTube videos a thousand times better.

Using the right sound effects in your content can help bring your visuals to life. Once you’ve found audio clips that’ll complement your footage, it’s as easy as dropping them into your edit. And when you see the difference sound effects can make, you’ll never go back!

7 ways sound effects can improve your videos

Illustration of YouTubers Casey Neistat, Airrack, & SSSniperWolf using sound effects in their videos.

You can use sound effects in all sorts of ways. Choosing between a gentle breeze or a howling gale can completely change the ambience of a hiking video. While adding literal sounds like a trickling river can add even more depth to your content. Here’s seven ways to you can get creative with sound effects:

1. Hook your viewers from the start 🎣

Using sound effects in your intro can help to grab the attention of viewers right away. Check out how Airrack uses sound effects to ramp up the drama when attempting to make the world’s largest pizza. Make your intro even more exciting with sound effects and convince people to keep watching.

2. Match sounds with your visuals 🎬

This one’s pretty obvious, but using sound effects that match your footage will make the content pop. Simply add in the sounds that viewers are expecting to hear alongside the footage to create a more immersive video.

The iconic noise made by lightsabers is one of the best-known examples, but you could do it for anything from knocking over a vase to your dog barking.

3. Build texture with layers of sound effects 🦅

Use several sound effects at once to give your viewers a richer experience. For instance, footage of a woodland walk can be improved massively by adding the sound of birds, footsteps, and a babbling stream. Alternatively, you can hear how Casey Neistat brings New York to life in his videos by adding city sounds to his AI powered electric shoe review.

4. Fix bad audio ✈️

Ever checked your footage back and not been happy with the audio you recorded? It might not be possible to go back and film again, but you don’t need to settle for rubbish audio ruining your video. Simply add in ambient sounds that fit the footage and no-one will ever know. It’s a great option for covering up that plane flying overhead!

Said something you shouldn’t? Censor beeps are some of the most popular sound effects in the Uppbeat library and great for covering up swear words.

5. Set the mood with sound effects 🏆

Celebrate a big win with a fanfare of trumpets, or convey sadness with a sorrowful violin. Sound effects are great for giving your viewers emotional clues. Just pulled off an unbelievable basketball trickshot? The sound of a cheering crowd will have your viewers celebrating with you!

6. Provide more context for your viewers 😁

Use sound effects to emphasize what you’re trying to convey and add extra meaning to specific moments in your videos. Adding awkward crickets never fails to give content the cringe factor, like in this intro to SSSniperWolf trying dumb life hacks.

Heighten how your audience reacts to a cheesy punchline with an ironic drum sting. Unveil a big reveal with a lush harp chord. Be creative with sound effects and add an extra layer to your most memeable moments!

7. Don’t go too big! 🙅

There are times when using lots of different sound effects at once can make a powerful impression on your audience. But it’s possible to take things too far. Bombarding viewers with too many different noises can make content overwhelming. Sometimes less is more, so don’t feel like you need to shoehorn too many sound effects into your videos.

How to find sound effects for your videos

Image of the Uppbeat Sound Effects library featuring audio clips for content creators.

Different creators approach making videos in different ways. Seeing how Airrack, Caisey Neistat and SSSniperWolf include sound effects in their content shows that there are tons of options for using them in your creative process.

At Uppbeat, we’ve created a sound effects library that you can turn to for inspiration at any stage of your creative journey. Find sounds to ignite your creative spark, right through to audio clips that provide the ideal finishing flourish. However you approach searching for sound effects, find out how the Uppbeat library can turbocharge your content.

Match memorable moments with situational sounds 👏

Sound effects are super effective at punctuating memorable moments and specific situations. Meme sound effects are especially effective at drawing your audience’s attention to the best bits in your videos.

Say you’re making a compilation of your biggest and best BMX tricks. Ramp up the tension with the sound of a heartbeat before taking on a huge jump. Then celebrate with a hallelujah chorus when you land it!

As you can see, you can use sound effects to take your viewers on that journey with you, getting them even more invested in your content.

Explore sound kits hand-selected for creators 🎙️

Delve into a one stop shop of popular audio effects with our specially curated sound kits, perfect no matter what your niche is. They’re inspired by how the creator community uses sound effects in their content, making it easy to find packs of the most popular sound effects.

So if you make yoga videos, finding the sound of wind chimes and hang drums in our Wellness playlist is a breeze. Or if you’re creating tutorial content, turn to our Arts & Craft sound kit for duct tape noises and pencil scribbles.

You'll find Pops & Dings to make your subscribe overlays stand out. Or, fire up your creativity with Voice Clips and other curated sound kits designed to elevate your content!

Construct an audio environment with ambient sounds ☔️

Creators often use sound effects to add in extra ambient noises that complement their visuals. Like adding a siren to a clip of an ambulance driving past, or editing in the patter of rain on a rooftop.

Ambient sounds and environment noises are a great way of making your content more immersive, especially when your audience are expecting a certain sound. And they work just as well for travel vlogs as they do for cooking tutorials and unboxing videos.

Find the perfect Crowd Walla to make your social gathering sound like a lively party. Emphasize some gnarly waves with the sound of giant waves crashing. We’ve even got an entire collection of bird songs to make sure you can find the perfect chirping!

Punctuate videos with cinematic audio effects 💥

Content ceators absolutely love cinematic sound effects. They’re a great way of giving your videos the Hollywood treatment and adding big-screen energy to scenes.

Explore space age Drones that’ll add suspense to any scene, and epic Rumbles to soundtrack dramatic moments. Find the perfect Whoosh sounds for transitions and show-stopping Explosions to emphasize mind-blowing revelations. They’re the little touches that add drama to your videos.

Make videos more immersive with sound effects

Image of a YouTube video with examples of the sound effects that could feature in it.

You don’t have to be George Lucas to use the force of sound effects in your videos. Massive creators like Airrack and Casey Neistat have shown how YouTubers can use sound effects too. And now you’ve learnt different ways that creators are using sound effects, take our seven tips and use them in your upcoming videos.

You'll see how sound design makes your content a thousand times better, like it has for Peter McKinnon. Audio clips will add depth to your content and ultimately make your videos more enjoyable to watch.

Head to Uppbeat to find the ideal sound effects for videos. Our whole music and sound effects platform has been built with creators like you in mind. So visit Uppbeat, dive into our specially-curated playlists and see how sound effects can improve your content!

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