Sound Design & Music

Sound Design & Music

Sound Design was the very beginning of One Big Production.

Way back in 1997 when digital audio was pretty new. Lots of dotcom clients. It was crazy.

Music production, sound effects, voiceover recording, practically anything that made sound and needed to be synchronized with visuals. 

Sound makes visuals more immersive. 

When it’s done right audiences scarcely notice. They just remember the experience and the impact the program had on them.

It’s worth considering the sound design of any production you’re starting, and One Big Production is a fine place to chat about it.

Sound Design & Music Services and Capabilities

Walk-on music. Sound effects for emphasis. Cues to be played at specified times. Things we haven’t even thought up yet.

There’s a lot more to be done with presentation sound than dropping in a .WAV file or hitting “play” on the iPod at the right moment. With a little planning, your presentation can become an elegant, engaging experience that won’t even seem like PowerPoint or Keynote.

Reaching more of our audience’s senses helps elevate the presenter, and good sound design can do that.

Everything you hear in movies, television, and presentations is the product of sound design.

Synchronizing music, sound effects, narration, replacing dialogue – these are done in digital audio workstations and can be tailored for any situation. Snippets from one source can be incorporated into other productions, and it’s more impressive if done with care.

It’s sometimes overlooked, but I believe sound should be given as much attention as the copy and graphics.

Here’s an example from a video game I worked on – a pinball machine that was part of an interactive marketing project. We talked to the client about the sound elements, and they said “the programmer would add some blips and beeps.”

We worked up a demo using real pinball sound effects, and the difference was striking. Even though the graphics were identical, the blips and beeps made the interface feel cheap and insubstantial. The authentic sounds boosted the game far beyond its previous form.

Now this one is near and dear to my heart.

I’ve been a songwriter, composer, and producer for years, and always love the opportunity to create new music.

Here’s one recent example, a pop single recorded and mixed at One Big Production:

I’ve written, collaborated, arranged, performed, and produced music in many genres to suit the mood of the project.

Beachy, futuristic, classical, industrial – anything can pop up when you’re working on corporate presentations, promo videos, radio spots, or web animations.

I composed and produced a suite of string and piano music for the White House Historical Association’s virtual tours of the White House and grounds. That site, built and animated by Inheritage.org, made the Forbes Best of the Web for several years running.

Sometimes third party music is called for, and I’ve placed plenty of that as well. Royalty-free music is made in every conceivable form, and it can help boost a production.

What’s almost as good as giving a presentation in person? Presenting remotely on demand.

That’s only one way voiceover can be used, and it’s an intriguing one.

The ideal thing would be to capture the presentation live, but that’s not always possible.

Then there’s the webinar-style reading along with the presentation method, but the conditions aren’t favorable. It also picks up a lot of unwanted noise and long silences. 

A presentation, especially a high-level one, can benefit greatly from having the presenter or a professional voice actor read the script. Then it’s edited and placed just-so into the program.

That’s the kind of thing you can show live at the conference, or bundle it up as a video and send it anywhere.

Non-linear editing changed my life.

I had been working to learn audio editing the old way, on reel-to-reel tape. The day I saw that you could move sound file regions around on the screen, I knew immediately that’s where I wanted to be.

I first started using Pro Tools in 1997, working on video and interactive projects. Pro Tools has long been industry standard for producing audio, and that was my primary audio workstation for many years until Logic Pro X arrived. I picked it up, and it’s been my tool of choice for several years now.

Both are formidable programs, and which to use depends on the project. I can accept and export files in any format we’re likely to see.

The most important thing – in fact, the only thing that matters – is what comes out of the speakers.

If that helps make a presentation better, then either one was the right choice.