Friday, June 6, 2014

When sound dances with picture - perfectly - Creative Excellence Fridays

Sound plus picture. When it's mixed together well, fission happens and the imagination explodes. Choosing the right sound, the right music, the right beat, the right rhthym, as important as choosing the right partner. When it's right, you feel it deep in your gut.

A gifted sound editor takes a normal piece of footage and lifts it off the screen and into the imaginary world you thought of when you first wrapped a towel around your neck as a cape and jumped off the picnic table. A truly gifted sound editor also transforms pop culture.

Ben Burtt definitely qualifies. Without him, all the iconic sounds from Star Wars wouldn't exist. The lightsaber hum, the sound of the blaster guns, the heavy-breathing sound of Darth Vader and even the voice of R2-D2 all come from 4 time Oscar winner Ben Burtt. And he enjoyed voicing R2-D2 so much he also was the voice of 2008's Wall E.


 Here's an interview with Ben where he talks about some of the methods he uses to make it all "sound" great.

  Charles L Campbell (Back to the Future), Mike Hopkins (Lord of the Rings), Karen Baker Landers (BladeRunner, Braveheart) all are part of a proud group of sound surgeons who know what it takes to make sound and picture sing. Nothing makes the imagination soar like pride for country. The Olympics bring that to life every four years and this year happens to be world cup soccer mania in Brazil. In keeping with our theme of skillful sound design, listen to the way the tapping beat is introduced at the beginning of this ad for Nike. That tapping pulls the whole commercial together as the sound designer layers on top of it building it to a grand crescendo. Credits - Wieden & Kennedy.

 Admittedly, this is one of the highlights of everything we do in picture and sound at Ontrack. When you lay in just the right visual effect over a perfectly chosen music bridge, the goosebumps kick in and you know it's time to click save on the project and step away from the mixer. Your work is done.

With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

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