OPINION:  Celebrating Sound


Three keys to sound design for your film
By Dave Skinner and Ed Barratt

Sound design is a key component in any film we create. It can be broken down into three elements, ambient sound, dialogue, (either into camera or voice over), and music. 

When planning a film, it is helpful to have a direction for sound design from the outset. This can come from the client, the director, the story or even the tone set by a certain destination or yacht. Pairing the sound with the visuals for a film greatly enhances the storytelling and emotional journey the viewer goes on, thereby creating a connection to a brand. Without sound films are made up of moving images that lack depth and connection with the audience. We have all seen this when we watch a silent clip on social media or a horror movie on mute. 

So let’s take a look at three key contributors to sound design.  

Ambient sound - this comes in the form of natural sounds, which you may expect to hear if you were actually on location. For example, a beach shot with the sound of the waves. Or, seeing the sun come through the trees and hearing birds chirping. Ambient sound is one of the layers to the sound design. Sometimes the ambient sound can come from the footage itself, other times it can come from our own collection or from online libraries.

Dialogue - this can be in the form of people speaking on camera or a voice over (VO). Dialogue is most useful for brand films where the philosophy of a company, its history and culture, are all key components. Depending on the subject, context or film objectives, either a professional VO artist, brand representative, (or both), can be used to convey tone and direction to help create a human connection with the film. Regardless of the what and how, the main purpose of dialogue is to improve the communication of the desired message.

Music - this can greatly influence the mood of the film and the perceptions of the viewer. The music, or soundtrack, is vitally important for setting up your story – get it right and the whole film falls into place. The choice of music can come from online libraries or be specifically composed for the film. 

An audience can be greatly affected by the use of creative sounds. It can be so simple, think of the movie JAWS as an example. Two notes were used to create fear and suspense. Da-Dum...Da-Dum.

Sound design is a process which greatly influences the outcome of a production. It sends secret messages to the emotions of the viewer and is a key component in taking them on a journey as they view the film. Without it the film can fall flat. To fully influence the perception of the viewer a relationship needs to be crafted between the sound and the visuals so they compliment each other.

Ambient sound - Millennium Cup Regatta

Dialogue - Bannenberg & Rowell Brand Film

Music - Khalilah

Voice over - Sarp Yachts Brand Film

OPINION:  Superyacht Marketing – the disconnect

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 Superyacht Marketing – the disconnect
By Robert Gleed

As creators of photo and film lifestyle content for the superyacht industry we are always discussing with clients the stories they want to tell. Virtually all are stories about families, couples, and friends, enjoying the superyacht life - often without a bikini in sight. 

Recent industry conversations I have been part of seem to paint a different picture. Some say the stories we (as an industry) communicate focus too much on bikinis and people of unattainable beauty. They say this helps fuel a negative image and a barrier to entry by potential owners, charterers or brand partners.

Sure some stories include people swimming and enjoying the spa but what do you expect - it’s a yacht, it’s in the sun, at sea and it has a pool so of course people will sunbathe and get wet, but this does not go hand in hand with a negative image. 

I think the real problem lies with the disconnect between the stories that are actually being created and the communication of them to potential markets. Bridging this gap often falls at the feet of those commissioning the film and photo shoots and most do a great job of spreading the right message. But it’s a mistake to think we can rely on this small group to do all the grunt work for the entire industry.

So, to those who seem happy to do nothing but sit back and express frustration think about how you can help, even in a small way. Maybe look at co-productions, shared campaigns and other initiatives like Superyacht Life because there are already great stories being created, we just need to work together to make sure they are told to the right people.

In the meantime, check out three superyacht stories without a bikini in sight :)

1. Moonen Yachts - Brand Film

2. Tansu Yachts - Cyclone

3. Camper & Nicholsons International - Making your world brighter

OPINION:  The Art of Storytelling…

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 The Art of Storytelling…

Virtually every project we do, photo or film, is based upon some sort of narrative around a yacht, a business or an experience. When creating a film, audience engagement is critical to its success.  Success that is measured by the viewer receiving and understanding the desired message. This is where the art of storytelling comes in.

There are four tools we use to enhance the storytelling in our films: 

Emotion: This is the biggie, the number one tool for success. Whether it’s a good cry or a side-splitting laugh, humans love and respond to emotion like nothing else.  Just check out the most viewed videos on YouTube for proof.  What’s more, we remember messages that include some emotion far more than those that don’t. Whether you want your audience to remember your brand, or your yacht, you simply can’t go past focusing on emotion in the story. This doesn’t mean you have to script a tear jerker, emotion can be depicted visually and, or, audibly.  Slow motion, soundtrack, natural sounds, models laughing and interacting, as well as lighting, are just a few examples how emotion can be injected into the story.  If we had to pick one of these as number one it would be the soundtrack which is why it deserves its own section.

Soundtrack: The value of the soundtrack for a film should not be underestimated. The music helps take the viewer on an emotional journey and can set the pace and tone of the film. Music can add drama and anticipation to a film, it can also provide an element of surprise. The right music, linked to the visuals, keeps things moving and is an essential part of storytelling. The song dictates the flow of the film and the flow of the shots.  

Theme: A theme is developed for each film. This may come from us, the client, or may be something we work on together. Sometimes deciding the theme can be the most challenging aspect of the strategy because, not only must it be in synch with overall objectives, it needs to help the film stand out in the crowd so it’s remembered.

The theme becomes the central driver for the creative strategy setting the tone for how we approach the whole film.  Whether we bring in brand associations, the type of models we use, the locations, how we shoot the film and the genre of the music. Sometimes we try to add in a twist – family separated who want to be together, a birthday or an element of surprise – a female yacht owner arriving by motorbike.

Models: The human touch or use of models, gives the audience a reference point for the story. Whether it is the owners of a design business talking about their business, three generations of family, or a single model on a yacht, the addition of people greatly enhances the story telling capability. The team have the flexibility to create different subplots, scenes and scenarios not otherwise possible.  When it comes to specifically shooting a yacht film the use of models brings spaces and features to life, helping the audience picture themselves there. When the film is for a charter yacht this is especially useful.

When it comes to a film or video for your business or yacht give some thought to the story, or narrative, you’d like to create around what you are selling. It is the story that captures the audience’s imagination and makes your product or service memorable. When you need help give us a call, we can make sure your film stands out.