• Dustless Digital

When to drop the 'sonic bombs'


Many of us have a favourite film soundtrack, or remember, with excitement, a particular scene when 'that tune' was playing, which accompanied and enhanced the moment so perfectly. For many, music can indeed be the make or break of a film but for a moment, let's take a look at those superb moments of sound design where the music is not only appropriate but perfectly timed with the visuals. Before sound design, I studied music production and before that, I was a club DJ for many years (vinyl only of course!) so I have, embedded in me, the importance of those 'drop the bomb' moments in compositions, the big hands in the air moments followed by the return of the pounding beat and euphoric chords to send the crowd wild!

Sound design is all about marrying the visuals to the sound to enhance the sensational experience of the viewer, so if a great record is being used to accompany a scene that has a pivotal moment in it, that record must be aligned correctly in order to provide maximum emotional impact. Be it excitement, sadness, love, anger, it is the timing that give the real impact not just the composition one hears.

How it should be done:


This is perfect timing, Huey Lewis' Power of love playing way down in the mix but perfectly aligned to be brought to the forefront as Jennifer's kiss hits the mark!

Missed the drop entirely:


This example always staggered me even before I studied sound design, how on earth could they have made the decision not to align the Jet take off with the drop "CD Player, Player, Player, Player......"

However, if they had got it right I wouldn't have been so incensed and wanted to study sound design and music (every cloud!)

When putting together the showreel for Dustless Digital we have taken the approach that music can also interact with the visuals, thus crossing the line into the sound effects area of the post production. Lovely tricks that we sometimes see in film, like a tune on the radio of a car that then brightens in the mix to become the prominent soundtrack as the character walks from the car. Gardians of the Galaxy, Jackie Brown, most 80's classics...etc, etc! Just a few that come to mind where this 'fade in/fade out' trick is used to allow the soundtrack to live inside the visuals for a few moments.

Below is an Ubisoft trailer for the game release 'For Honour' where we have remade the sound effects and music entirely. By way of an example, the music (a bespoke composition comprising a heavily time-stretched Wagner Pilgrims Chorus) is allowed to interact with the character's movements(1min03secs). He momentarily controls the music and then set's off on a short run which has been artistically translated into a musical 'build-up' to that 'sonic bomb' moment as the camera sits high above the land on an Eagles wings.

Dustless Digital For Honour trailer:


Subjectivity will always dictate some peoples enjoyment of such sonic tricks but there are more to be found on our showreel page should you be one of the positive readers http://www.dustlessdigitalaudio.com/ddashowcase

#Sounddesign #Musicproduction #Postproduction #Audiotricks #Dustless #Digital #Trailers #StarWarsDrones

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