Regularly on our blog we like to showcase client projects. We find it helps customers understand our specialties – especially with audio production. Today we will feature a recent audio production project for TK Design & Associates, an architecture and design firm.
When Katie Hallett of TK Design and Associates approached us, she had both audio and video production needs. We’ll outline their video project in a future post. The first desire they had was to create an “audio commercial” instead of typical on-hold music for their phone system. After a phone discussion to review the requirements, we went to work.
Here is the workflow of the project:
1. Audio File Requirements. We first had to determine the requirements of the phone system where the audio we produced would reside. This helped us determine the length of time for the commercial. A review of the phone system specifications defined that a 5MB mono WAV format audio was required. While I knew technically this meant we could have 5 minutes of audio information, from a practical stand point 5 minutes wasn’t necessary.
2. Music Bed. To give more depth and interest to the commercial I suggested purchasing a piece of stock music that could be used as a “music bed.” I have used and suggest Pond5.com for anyone looking for royalty-free stock media. Pond5 has a great search function so if you want a certain “feel” from a piece of music, you can search by keyword or category. I directed Katie to the website and asked her to search for some music. She found a few possibilities, we both listened and then decided to move forward with a 3-minute long instrumental piece.
3. Script. I asked Katie to provide a script, which she created by pulling content from their website About Us page, marketing brochures and testimonials from builders and customers. She emailed me the script in a document.
4. Voiceover. Katie left the voiceover recording to us, and decided she wanted a female voice. My husband David is our lead recording engineer. He set up an audio recording rig and our digital multi-track recorder right in our home office. We don’t have a traditional studio space because with proper microphoning techniques and some acoustic tile we can achieve great recording quality. Recording the actual voiceover took me about a half hour. I recorded in WAV format which provides the best quality file to use for editing.
5. Edit and Mixdown Audio. I used Adobe Audition to edit the audio files. I edited my voiceover audio to remove any noises on the recording (these were noises from me like taking a deep breath before starting a paragraph, or bumping the mic stand, etc.), and adjust the levels for consistency. I realized that we had recorded about 3 minutes, 40 seconds of audio, but the music bed audio was 3 minutes long. Since I wanted the music bed to extend for the entire length of the voiceover recording, I knew I’d have to edit the piece of music by adding in a section. After some critical listening I was able to choose a part of the audio that I could “copy and paste” into the recording to extend the length of the song (without it sounding like it was an edited version. My parents would be happy to know that I relied on my music degree to help me determine where in the piece an editing point would make sense). I brought both the voiceover audio and the edited music bed into a multi-track session in Audition. I mixed the audio so the dynamic levels of the stock music didn’t drown out the vocal recording. Truly their story was the feature of the recording.
Take a listen to the audio commercial for TK Design & Associates. This is in WAV (aka hi-quality audio) format.
6. Review and Revision. I created an MP3 version of the song so that I could easily email the audio over to Katie for review. After a few tweaks we settled on the final version. I then made some settings changes to the audio so that it would match the audio requirements for the phone system, and sent the file along to her tech to upload to the phone system.
Take listen to the final product: Audio Commercial for TK Design
Have you created an audio commercial for your “on-hold” phone system? What recording and editing techniques did you use? Maybe you have questions about this project. Feel free to comment below.