Sometimes you don’t have to be asked, you just do it yourself.
Here is a basic casino spot we did for our friend Brian Tario at Aujom Productions. His client directed us to give the video a "secret agent 007" tone while maintaining a familiarity with generic casino commercials. It was my job to help find a piece of music that would feel "secret agent 007" but that also wouldn't distract the viewer from the casino's promotion. Additionally, I would sound design the giant vault and some of the title treatment animation. I really wanted to go big on the vault sound design but the client's direction basically called for a “paint by numbers” approach. They would be happy if all I did was dig trough our sample libraries, find some basic SFX and slap them up against the video... but I saw an opportunity to bring new life to the animation while staying within the confines of the client's direction.
Let me show you what I mean…
I called Brian the night before and told him I would be making an early morning trip to Home Depot to buy some different sized washers to be used for foley. The idea was to record the washers pouring out over numerous different surfaces. I would then take those recordings and layer them together, pan them around, pitch them up and down, and send them through various FX chains until they sounded big enough and fit the animation. First I had to find the perfect sounding washers!
Back at the studio, I recorded numerous takes of washers pouring out onto the foley room floor, a cement block and a music stand. Even our client, Brian jumped in to record a few takes! Once I had enough recordings to work with, Brian went back to his office and I got to work editing and mixing.
Here is the sound design against the animation! I used a lot of recordings of clocks ticking to not only build the locks clicking but also to create an urgency to get to the casino before the promotion ends! I also added a layer of ocean waves to the coins to make them feel heavy and aggressive. I think the extra effort was well worth it and really elevated the video. The SFX bring the animation to life in a way that the music could not do alone!
I hope that that this blog shows the power that audio holds. As a sound designer, I understand that I have a responsibility to always bring the best and most unique sounds to every project even if I am not being asked to. Sometimes you just have to do it yourself. Investing in quality audio over generic will always increase the value of any project and that’s why the world needs Dog and Pony Show!
James von Boldt