Sunday, February 16, 2014

Linnycakes Audio Branding

Bespoke sound design for animation promoting Linnycakes, a line of confections by cupcake maven Lindsey Wanek. Here's the finished spot:

We got to play around with a lot of different ideas for this piece. I'll share some of them here. The original creative brief was a fairly blank slate, just general encouragement to integrate music and sound design to reflect the dynamic visuals. The audience is, of course, home baking enthusiasts, so I thought in terms of family-friendly whimsy for starters.

Initially I leaned pretty heavily on the musical aspect, using melodic and rhythmic elements to represent movement events and sneaking in some firecracker sfx in the background. I assembled this intricate piece as a first draft:

I also produced a couple more minimal options, exclusively musical but much more restrained. The first employed tremolo and delay effects to build some mystery and tension:

The next iteration retains the tremolo but incorporates a glockenspiel-type voice to offer a more friendly palette:

Another version went in a more laid-back direction with a Rhodes keyboard line:

These early drafts came across as too musically focused; sound effects became a more desirable communication element. I retooled the Rhodes piece with some audio I hoped would be familiar to bakers (a cracking egg, the ticking of an oven timer and the ding of its bell) to assemble this proof:

The next steps were to dial the music back even further-- removing it from the top of the piece-- and to introduce some tinkling bells to accompany the suspension of the star and its attendant particles, expanding on the "bellish" sensibility with the final ding. An abstract, rising warble heralds the star's launch into the air. The egg crack at the start became a smoother motion cue.

Ultimately we removed the final musical element and retained only sound effects. Here's the finished piece again, just to bring things full circle:

Hope this provides some insight into process. Thanks for your time!

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Into the Void: Original Musical Score for Feature Film

"Into the Void" is a feature-length sic fi adaptation of "The Sea Wolf" by Jack London, directed by Wayne Johnson. I composed a musical score that's equal parts strident orchestration, melodic delicacy, psychedelic rock, and ominous atmospherics.

The music falls into two categories. First I'll share the actual score, dramatic elements that support action and enhance emotion, heard by the audience but not the characters:

The spacecraft in the film is entering the Void, a region of space that bounces back all the radio waves ever transmitted throughout Earth's history. So I created a variety of "antique" music cues to simulate music of varied vintage, mixing the cues with an appropriate amount of distortion and crackle. These, then, are "source" cues that exist within the reality of the film and are heard by the characters within the scenes:

Below: longer excerpts of music from "Into the Void".

Mike Hallenbeck home page