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The Playback

Episode 5: The case for documentary sound design

Take an immersive look behind the scenes of nonficton storytelling.

Samuel Vladimirsky

June 1st, 2023
Episode 5: The case for documentary sound design

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, documentary people: sound 🔊 There’s a mainstream expectation in nonfiction storytelling that sound has to be “real”, but the filmmakers behind “A Woman’s Place” prove that sound can also show us emotional truth--what is happening in a way we can't experience in real life or real time. This is the case for documentary sound design.


Featuring: Rayka Zehtabchi, Sam Davis, Jackie Zhou

Series Producer: Sam Vladimirsky

Editor: Dylan Chant, Aeris Nguyen

Animator: Tricia Cenit

Executive Producer: Sky Dylan-Robbins

Footage: Courtesy of Ventureland

The Playback is a digital series from the Video Consortium that takes viewers behind the scenes of their favorite nonfiction storytelling, from feature documentaries to The Washington Post's viral TikTok account. Each episode explores a different element of the craft and new episodes are released every other Thursday.

Sam Vladimirsky is a filmmaker & artist whose hunger for a good story has taken him through the underground tunnels beneath the Met, inside the homes of New Yorker cartoonists, and onto remote farms, developing cities, gun ranges, catacombs, and costume shops. A New Jersey native, he is an advocate for the tiny but mighty team, and collaborative storytelling that is fearless and uncompromising. His work has appeared on PBS, Vogue, the British Journal of Photography & more. Most recently, he served as the creative marketing director at the Academy Award®-winning Breakwater Studios. In his previous incarnations, Sam directed documentary shorts for The Billboard Creative, co-taught archaeology at the Dalton School, worked in MoMA’s photography department, and served on the education team at the Met. He graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in History and French and earned an M.A. in Art History from University College London.

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