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Holding out for a hero

Creative Outpost sound team worked with BRIT Award winning singer-songwriter, Jorja Smith, on the audio for the latest Audi commercial. The talented artist both stars in and provides the soundtrack for the new hero film starring Audi’s all-electric RS e-tron GT. The campaign, created by BBH London, will run across video-on-demand, social, print, digital and in cinemas.

Head of Sound Dave Robinson tells us what the creative process involved. “This project was right up my street because as well as providing an opportunity to blend some interesting sound design with a great music track, it also required a Dolby Atmos cinema mix.

“One of the biggest challenges was the sound of the car itself & ensuring its authenticity, particularly as it is an electric model. The E-Tron is equipped with an acoustic alert system which plays distinct audio that reacts instantly to acceleration or deceleration when driving. This acts as an external warning to nearby pedestrians as well as enhancing the tactile feel of the car for the driver internally.

“To begin with, we were supplied with a bank of audio samples that were used to create the car’s alert system. Senior Sound Designer Alex Wilson-Thame then edited and manipulated a selection of these to sync with the movement of the car and bring it to life. After laying down an initial soundbed, he recorded VO and ADR with featured artist, Jorja.

“With those elements in place, I began building up additional layers of diegetic and abstract sound design, being mindful of any sounds that could potentially clash with, or work against, the music. In particular, frequencies at the lower end of the spectrum, as the music track already includes a healthy amount of bass, meaning that some parts of the sound design required specific tuning and EQ to avoid muddying the mix.

“Once the stereo mix had been completed, I was then able to get stuck into the Atmos mix. Firstly, I concentrated on the sound design, panning and placing static elements around the room before animating specific sounds such as the car, relative to its movement on screen before moving on to the music.

“It isn’t always possible to have access to individual stems of the music but in this case I was given a full breakdown of the track. This meant that, along with the sound design, I was able to create a full Atmos mix of the music, making for a bigger, more immersive overall experience.

“Plus, it meant a lot more fun for me of course! Having regularly geeked-out in the studio listening to some incredible Dolby Atmos versions of commercial tracks that are now widely available, I referenced a couple of my favourites and had loads of fun creating my own new mix as part of the finished soundtrack.”