Ten seconds …. that’s all you have ….. ten seconds.

Ten seconds to make an impact, ten seconds to establish your identity, ten seconds to make a lasting impression.

This was the constraint I was faced with when I created the Sound Design for the ident of Creative Compass Design Studios. This studio is founded by Kyle Stephen who is also the Creative Lead for the company. You can see his Linkedin profile here . He created the visuals and I was responsible for establishing the sonic identity for the Company. This combination of visuals and audio will be the standard from which the quality of the company would be known and will be used on basically all of the company’s products in the foreseeable future.

So let’s start with the completed ident. See below.

Click, Click, Tick, Tick

The first aspect I wanted to tackle was the moving image of the compass itself. The reason why, besides the name of the company having the name COMPASS in it, is that that image is the first part of the animation that is seen and it is also the focal point of the whole animation. If you notice there are two times in which the compass rotates – the beginning and near the end of the animation. Three clock tick sounds were used. The first series of rotations consist of one sound while the second half consisted of the other two.

The compass, when it first appears, begins to rotate to the right, then left then right.so I matched up the first series of rotations to my clock tick sound.

The logic of using that particular sound was that is was loud, gave the impression that it was recorded in a large room and complimented the spatial feeling of the other sounds that would be layered underneath it. The other two clock tick sounds (one has a higher sound than the other) had a less spatial feeling and were placed sequentially (low, high, low … etc) until the video fades. The amount of layered audio begins to gradually fade underneath this second series of clock ticks so that they begin to audibly stand out. Each sound was individually mapped out to each rotation of the compass as can be seen in the following video.

See The Light

What I find very interesting, visually, is what goes on after the compass glows. Call it a visual surprise if you will. Look at the video at the top of the blog again. What do you see?

For me this is the highlight of the ident, when the compass reveals what is hidden in the background. The sounds should reflect, all at once, a feeling of mystery, artistry, seriousness, quality and surprise all in one shot.

This was done by layering different sounds, adjusting volumes (at the top and/or bottom of the sound) and dropping the tone of one by 10 semitones to create a deeper, slightly ominous sound. As you can see it took a total of 6 tracks to produce the sound I was looking for.

Well that’s it for this blog entry ……. except for one more thing. Your client has to be satisfied with the final result. I always strive, through my work, to make my clients very happy so if this final pic is not an indication well ….

What else to you want me to talk about in regards to Sound Design or Film Composition? Let me know in the comments.

2 Replies to “TEN SECONDS”

  1. Fantastic read, fantastic insight and excellent breakdown. I personally would NEVER have guessed that it required so many different levels and layers to the process. I am completely happy with the Ident Sound Design and even happier to see and hear about the breakdown and process behind it.

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