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2 Helicopters and a Sony Bravia

Sound designing can be exhausting.

This video to advert the new Sony Bravia 3D television was an animation that arrived blank of any sounds, i.e. I had to build it all from scratch.

So to start with, I gathered a number of helicopter sounds that could fit the different scenes. For that i had to take into consideration the distance in which the audio was recorded, the type of helicopter and the overall frequency content of each sound. For example, for the Apache helicopter – the big one – I needed a deeper sound, something nearly scary. The small helicopter needed a more frenetic, hurried sound, to express the feeling of running away. I ended up using a combination of a lot of sounds for each scene. A lot of time stretch had to be done on the propeller sounds to pass the sense of movement as well as the different sensation of increasing hurry – the setting was “speed” in Logic 9’s Flex mode.

The most delicate aspect of this job was to ride the several controls to create the direction of sound, mainly where it was coming from. I think I spent most of the time writing automation individually for each helicopter and then for the bullets and the missile launched in the very end. And to make things worse, the guys kept changing the video edits over and over again. Suddenly in one of these edits, the scenario – that is, the webpage itself – was getting hit by the bullets and the helicopters, there was  debris falling like sand.. and it all had to cut through that intense engine drumming sound of helicopter propellers reverberated out in the Grand Canion. … Oh and did I mention the reverbs?

I used 2 of the same long reverb setting (modified to decay quickly, i.e. it was full but died quickly) and both set at different distances. In this way I was able to place them closer or further away according to the picture – another automation job. Besides them, I used a third one for the noise inside the Apache. Of course I did some EQing to get the reverbs right in the mix, and I’m quite sure I also used Expanders on them, because of the nature of helicopter sounds – I desperately needed to clean as much sound as I could to have things defined.

On top of all I mixed in the film score – composed and produced by Marcelo Fornazier – to turn it into a proper film. It’s been pretty exhausting, because I spent 3 or 5 days listening to helicopters and shootings and explosions (there was an explosion in one of the previous edits, but fortunately – in the name of peace – it was cut out). But I and the clients were eventually happy with the results. Job done.