It’s the 11th hour. Your commercial must be trafficked by 5 pm. If not, it’s off to the client guillotine you go. But wait…they haven’t signed off on the edit yet. Final color and sound are forgotten about like a middle child. Or a band’s bassist. Or all of Matchbox 20. So what do you do? Do you miss the deadline for the sake of great audio? DO YOU??
Because sound is really really really important. (So is color, but that’s another O-News.) Audio can make or break your video and I’m sorry to say…it takes time, dang it.
In comparison, think about the visual process. The amount of time it takes to develop a look, a storyboard, create the right lighting, etc. Well, Scorsese, it’s equally important to make sure the audio environment correlates with the video and engages the audience. That requires experimentation…with EQ, reverb, compression, and many other “sound nerd” buzz words.
Look at (err, listen to) the NFL’s new anthemic hype video. (Try not to get hung up on the iffy grammar.) You’ll notice how the sound builds, then cuts out. How the chant is layered and perfectly mixed and EQ’d with the on-screen sound. And how the marching band music is introduced at the end to help it reach a full fist-pumping, high-fiving, chest-bumping crescendo. This video is all about audio (and shirtless dudes).
Spike Jonze has a myriad of great examples to choose from. One of my favorites is this Adidas commercial. Now you’re probably thinking, “hold up, chief…that’s just music.” My point exactly. That haunting, minimalistic Karen O song pairs perfectly with the dreamy visuals to make this video what it is: weird and great and memorable and effective.
In summation: regardless of the project, finding, mixing, and mastering the audio to perfection takes time. So make darn sure you build in the appropriate amount. Or it’s off to the sound engineer’s guillotine you go. (Don’t worry, it’s just used for foley.)
Have a great sounding weekend, everybody.
-Your favorite audiophiles at Brokaw