SURE MEN | CHELSEA FC
Providing the Sound Design for this stylishly executed advert was a dream. When terms like ‘go as abstract as you like’ and ‘we want it to sound Matrix – esque’ are being thrown around I knew I was going to have a blast!
The first section of this commercial is edited and played back in reverse. It followed that of utmost importance to the client was that we really ‘sell’ the reverse, through Audio Design.
This firstly meant designing tons of sound files that would be suitable, e.g. culturally significant and recognisable when played back in reverse. These sounds were subsequently put through an exhaustive array of post processing tools prior to editing and sequencing.
Many of the Sound Effects in the reverse section were designed to give the illusion that they were being played back in reverse, while in fact they were not. (Imagine the sound of a referee’s whistle, reversed – unimpressive right?). Various tricks came in useful for creating this illusion of reverse playback, including time-based pitch manipulation, and rendering long reverbs for subsequent reversing, to give a ramping up to the sound and a sense of the surreal.
In addition to the two distinct reverse and forward sections, the commercial importantly also occupies two separate ‘worlds’. In high-pressure moments we zoom into the world of Eden Hazard – or his mental space to be precise. At the fast-paced skills / action sections we zoom back out to the real world.
It was in these headspace moments where the huge, bass driven sound effects were most appropriate, a la The Matrix. We go into super slow motion in these sections, and in addition to creating thunderous whooshes and bass tones to signify the visual action, much care and precision was taken in manipulating the crowd sounds to further bring us out of reality, and back into Hazard’s mental space. A great example of this can be heard at between 24 and 29 seconds – everything goes slow, we hear no crowd as we are with Hazard – we move inside his head, then as we cut back to the fast paced action we hear the huge crowd gradually ramp up in both pitch and amplitude (this was also achieved with some fancy trickery!)
Below are three additional versions of the commercial – a 20 second cut down, and two 6-second ‘stings’. These were designed for broadcast on Sky as well as for promotion on the web.
PAUL SMITH AUTUMN / WINTER 2016 CAMPAIGN
Sound Design project for Paul Smith, promoting the fabulous Autumn / Winter 2016 collection.
Stylistically speaking, I was tasked with recreating classic computer game Sound Effects in the familiarly retro 8-bit style, to compliment the low-res visual material.
This was more challenging than I imagined - but no less fun!
Once upon a time the playback medium (the games console) was the limiting factor in the creation and playback of Video Game Sound Effects. Nowadays mimicking that particular retro aesthetic - [while Audio Hardware & Software and Video Games Engines are magnitudes more advanced, operating at far higher resolutions] - is ironically challenging. It's of course pretty easy to create something that sounds dirty/crunchy (insert alternate adjective here) without much consideration to aesthetics and good taste - but for the style icon Paul Smith, that clearly would not do!
I am proud to say I have satisfied the client, and created five pieces which sound fun, quirky, and immediately recognisable - while all clearly distinct from one another while maintaining a common style!
The Dino campaign was a huge success.
NS&I - PSYCHOLOGY OF SURPRISE
How does surprise feel? Imagine it now. Intensified feelings of ‘what’ and of ‘wow’!
I provided Sound Design for this gorgeous film, which beautifully depicts the feelings and emotions occurring in moments of Surprise.
This was very challenging indeed, as you will notice, all Sound Design elements overlap, and contribute to both the preceding and succeeding shots, creating a 'woven patchwork' in the narrative. The Sound Design had to be very subtle - yet still present enough to immerse the viewer - the poem definitely needed to take centre stage. Not to mention that the whole piece is shot in super Slo-Mo!!!
The interwoven nature of the Audio Effects meant that Sound selection and it’s subsequent treatment had to be very carefully considered. You’ll notice how the Sound Effects seamlessly blend into one another, for example the dirt under the bicycle tyres which turns into the sparkler, becoming into the rain, which links into the babbling brook, which then somehow seamlessly morphs into applause at the lady’s birthday celebration. I am very proud of the subtlety and nuance I have created in this piece, culminating in a heightened sense of emotion and involvement in the overall narrative.
SONY MDR-1000X HEADPHONES
I was asked to provide the Sound Design and Mix for this advert for the new Sony noise cancelling headphones – the SONY MDR-1000X. My task was to mimic their functionality - through the various modes - so that viewers could really get a sense of the remarkable features of this exciting new product!
I was given a set of these headphones for reference, which I tested in a variety of environments before getting to work on creating a soundscape with which to show off the technology they possess.
The degree to which background noise and/or Music is muted or attenuated through the various modes remains faithful to the actual product, which required a lot of carefully considered filtering and eq automation to achieve. Technically this was quite a challenge, as the number of tracks and subsequent automation ‘groups’ I had running was enormous! I should note that I was given a small degree of ‘artistic licence’ so I added the odd stylistic flourish, for example at the reverb drenched squeal of the tyres as the Ferrari speeds off, and the surreal foley pigeons’ wings flapping as a response – these are small departures from the actual functionality of the product – but the guys at SONY loved what they added to the piece, and so did I.
I feel the sound design replicates and the fantastic noise cancelling functions of the headphones very well indeed - hopefully you'll be intrigued into hearing a pair for yourselves!
Custom Music Composition by Eleni Hasabis
TECH EXPLAINER FILM
I was tasked with providing the Sound Design and Music and VO Edit and Mix for this cute brand film for the Happy Eggs Company.
The Sound Effects here needed to be fun and light – so I started to design lots of pops, whizzes, and bangs, often with a focus on making these quite resonant, and as such, distinctive and a bit ‘wacky’. There are many fast transitions in the animation, so plenty of whoosh effects were designed from the ground up, often incorporating a ‘tinkly’ or ‘sparkly’ layer to keep things sounding playful and happy. These were used to signify a scene change, a camera shift, and in some cases would often incorporate further Audio Effects such as the tree branch as we transition through the tree hitting the leaves in the process. This is an interesting layering of both diegetic and non-diegetic sound, at the very same moment signifying the same action.
I provided the Sound Design for this animated campaign for O2. It was designed for display in o2 stores across the UK, and uses a fresh, fun aesthetic, which is stylish yet simple and playful. I feel the bold, brash, and boisterous Sound Effects reflect this look rather well.
Animation by Dave Goodall
METHOD POWER FOAM
Bespoke Sound Design, and Music edit, for this fantastic animated online ad campaign. The 'luckless superhero's voice, is actually my own voice, heavily manipulated! I also recorded foley for his footsteps and the bottle squeeze... A nice mix of audio media :) I had great fun in making this!