- Blogger & Music Supervisor Alexander Nijmolen

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wat is - Blogger & Music Supervisor Alexander Nijmolen?

monster . so for instance, children playing, cars driving by etc, and of course this can easily be referred to as Foley sound, but the brief was to make these sounds an integral part of the musical design too, so it blended and melted into each other, Have a look at all 11 Idents: Ala Kondre | Alexander Nijmolen Posted in Categories: Uncategorized | No Comments » Timbre Swap Experiment March 12th, 2010 With my previous post “The Intel Logo as benchmark for Audio Idents”  in mind – we can...


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H1-6 tagsH3: - but the client still complained that the files were corrupted.
H3: Ala Kondre | Alexander Nijmolen
H3: Ala Kondre | Alexander Nijmolen
H3: Ala Kondre | Alexander Nijmolen
H3: Ala Kondre | Alexander Nijmolen
H3: Sound Experiment #1
H3: Sound Experiment #2
H3: Ala Kondre | Alexander Nijmolen
H3: Alexander Nijmolen | Ala Kondre
H3: A : The Timbre and Tonality – which is the colour, texture, tone and character of a sound or group of sounds . .
H3: B : Pitch and Melodic Structure – for example, what notes are where, the melodic composition and how the melodic points relate to eachother harmonically and emotionally.
H3: C : Rhythm or Phrasing, the starting points of tones and notes, the rhythmical structure, and what can be referred to as the phrasing of a musical design – the phrasing could also be thought of as syllables in a word.
H3: According to the client, the track was still distorting in certain places.
H3: Although I still personally like the audio design very much, I also believe that creating so many and varied versions was a little unnecessary and detracted slightly from the main goal. In total Ala Kondre produced 11 variations. Don’t get me wrong – we did actually enjoy working and creating these variations from a creative satisfaction point of view, we even recorded one of the versions in a huge old cathedral in the Netherlands, performed by the organist who plays at all the Dutch royal events, and on the original pipe organ that was once played by a young Mozart.
H3: Although it sounds a bit obvious, you would be surprised . .  truly! At how many times we have been described something in terms of music or audio, but it is absolutely not what was meant by the person or persons using these particular terms.
H3: An Audio Ident or a sound logo, in general, consists of more than just musical notes.
H3: And now you will hear the T-mobile sound logo using the timbre of Intel.
H3: And then I got this phonecall from the client, saying “ Hi Alex, we’ve received the mastered AIFF audio files but the quality of the main track is really poor or corrupted …could you please send it again?
H3: And this is where a very interesting experiment carried out by the Technical University of Delft comes in.
H3: And to the point where we were under the impression that we had a final approved and signed off music design . . .
H3: Another interesting and vital aspect to keep in mind in terms of briefing and feedback is the Terminology used and referred to and what is understood by each creative and client party by that Terminology.
H3: Another interesting aspect of this project and brief, was that the audio brief placed a very strong emphasis on two things – 1) the melodic recognition element  – 2) the soundscapes in terms of real places and situations in the idents.
H3: As I mentioned earlier, I believe that the challenge is to break the briefing down into a more fundamental key value status.
H3: At that point we decided to “analyse” the audio track and ident frame by frame with the client.
H3: Because of the visual design concept, it was important that the audience really HEARD the place it was set, and what was happening where we see it etc . . so for instance, children playing, cars driving by etc, and of course this can easily be referred to as Foley sound, but the brief was to make these sounds an integral part of the musical design too, so it blended and melted into each other,
H3: But in our experience, we have found that it’s a little more complicated than that. First of all there is a determined and heavily backed up effort to have the Intel logo featured in so many of it’s partners commercials, Intel pays its distributors roughly 350 million dollars a year to have their sonic branding design included – and secondly this audio logo fits the brands values perfectly. It’s a perfect little audio mnemonic, in the sense that it conveys the key values of Intel very effectively . . .
H3: Certain elements of the brief were that the audio should be distinctive, modern wth Western influences but with some light refrences to Arab culture – and the audio should be cutting edge …. so we all got quite inspired and motivated by this brief, and we wanted to produce something cutting edge and modern –  but as the project developed and we meanwhile produced several versions of the track, the visual style changed and became gradually more and more mainstream . . . although, we felt, that the music design was still working, especially considering that we had moven on from the main generic version and we were working on the variation, cutdowns and underscdore etc etc . .
H3: For many years now, it’s been a popular trend to develop an audio logo or a channel Identity design package that we could compose, produce and develop in lots of variations and arrangements. So you have a main or generic 3 or 4 note Audio Ident played on a piano, but a sports ident variation played on an electric guitar or analogue synth for instance, and your Cultural or Arts Ident played with violins or in a classical style.  Personally, I doubt very much if this helps us in creating a strong and memorable audio brand (If that’s your objective) for your channel.
H3: For the majority of participants, the timbre was the most salient factor in assigning it to a reference sound. This factor took precedence over all other available factors.
H3: Have a look at all 11 Idents:
H3: Have a look…..
H3: Have a look
H3: I asked Charlie to explain what the intention was in the audio aspect of the idents and he explained that in three parts:
H3: In my opinion, a great example of this are the  BBC1 idents of 2006 , created by Charlie Mawer and the people at Red Bee Media.
H3: In order to look at some examples of how and what audiences do recognize in Audio Idents we first need to understand what the audience is actually hearing or listening to.
H3: It may sound like I’m being a little negative about one of our own audio branding projects, but that’s not the case!, although for us some important lesson were learned though this project . . .
H3: It occurred to me recently – just how distinctive can you be these days? . . and in this ever-expanding soundscape of ding ding ding dongs!
H3: It’s important to make sure that all parties involved in the creative process have the same reference point in terms of a definition of a particular word or description.
H3: Most people think they are hearing DA DA DA..
H3: Now for us, and our clients, this was all quite exciting – and it created a great “story behind the scenes” kind of thing – though once we had seen all the finished results and final package, our opinion was that in terms of a branding project it didn’t really support the original idea (in terms of audio branding) so I think it’s important to say that if it’s your objective is to create a strong memorable audio identity – you need to be careful in terms of how much you progress and develop from the original idea – no matter how amazing and exciting the ideas sound and appeal to us at the discussion stage . . .
H3: Now  play the clip again but now you can open our eyes and watch the film as well.
H3: Often this mis-communication can lead to dissatisfying results, or even to quite difficult situations. But of course this is also something that a good audio branding agency will be aware of and protect the client from . . .
H3: Ok . . so now you will hear them swapped over and exchanged.
H3: Please have a listen first to both the original sound logo’s:
H3: Please have a look first at the Ned 2 Ident  ” TRANSPORT” :
H3: Please play the following clip but I would like to ask you not to watch it but to listen to it.
H3: Since the Intel benchmark, we are in many ways even more aware of the power and potential contained within an effective Audio Mnemonic, although with this thought in mind, I feel we should also be a little careful – because as much as an Audio Logo can help to develop, consolidate and strengthen a brand – it can also harm or have a detrimental effect.
H3: So it’s important to keep in mind, that if one of your goals or intentions is to create a memorable or recognizable audio mnemonic, the traditional 3, 4 or 5 note musical logo may be the right solution but it may well not be the right audio solution, although the goal is indeed a device to create ongoing recognition and the hook factor!
H3: So please have your eyes shut…
H3: So we checked the master files, which were all fine, and re-sent them and also uploaded to a secondry FTP server and seperately for them to download  – just to make sure there was no corruption occurring during download. –
H3: So what was he saying?
H3: The Star Wars audio experiment  was carried out by Lucas Films and the Sky Walker Ranch sound design guys a few years ago . . .
H3: The experiment involved using a 20 minute segment from the movie Star Wars. They would show this segment of film twice to an audience of about one thousand people in a THX movie theatre, one after another etc . .
H3: The first was to have a unique tune at the heart of every ident – a sonic mnemonic to brand the channel – this would be subtly used – not like the “intel inside tune”. But this musical theme would very important because the visual design of the idents were going to be so different, it would help establish them as a coherent set.
H3: The idea of a seamless connection of musicality and soundscapes is something that I feel isn’t explored and utilized as often as it could be . . . as it can be a hugely effective process when applied in the right way . .
H3: The only difference between the two pieces of film was the audio and sound design layers . . . .  and this is what they did: the first piece of film did not use the proper soundtrack, it was essentially the original soundtrack (music, sound design, and sound effects etc) but it was altered, very slightly so that it wouldn’t be obvious, so some things were very slightly off sync, a few frames here and there etc, the music was mixed slightly less dynamically than the original and some audio ques were even left out, but the important point was that it should not be noticeable that the viewer would notice anything different about the soundtrack immediately .
H3: The other important factor in the success of this audio mnemonic can also in some way be linked to the very strict guidelines that are applied and adhered to in relation the terms of it’s usage within any commercial. The intel audio logo is generally (not always) but generally placed within the main body of a commercial, rather than an element used as an end device and one very important condition in regards to using the sound logo is that it must be given clear space and air around it – for example – no other sounds are allowed to compete with it. The composer was challenged to make an audio logo that would convey the feeling or sound of how a computer works and sounds inside – and I think we can all agree that he was pretty successful in finding a nice way to convey this . . .
H3: The outcome of the experiments were surprising, since in the development of audio logo’s there seems to be more attention given to the melody, than on the timbre.
H3: The researchers ( a.o. Rolf den Otter)  of TU in Delft conducted an experiment called the Timbre Swap experiment. In this experiment they took the timbre (the colour and texture of the sound) of one well-known audio mnemonic and exchanged it with another well-known audio mnemonic. They conducted the test using the T-mobile sound logo and the Intel sound logo.
H3: The second piece of film was the actual optimized high resolution full synced sound track, full music score, actual sound effects and so on . .Now the important thing to mention is that the audience were not told that this experiment had anything to do with audio or sound what so ever! In fact they were told everything but that, and after the viewing they were asked to fill out a questionnaire that had several pages of questions about the colours, the editing, the story, the characters, the visual dynamics and so on .
H3: The second, was that the idents needed to be as varied as the programmes on BBC ONE, which is a multi genre channel, and we needed them to help us with the gear changes from one programme to the next, and the music and audio designs would play a key part in this.
H3: The subject Terminolgy, reminded me recently of a situation that happend to us way back in 2001 when myself and some of my Ala Kondre collegues were working for another Dutch music company.
H3: The third, was that on top of the music we also wanted to craft soundscapes. On certain idents the sounds are almost as big a part of the overall music bed, and they help to convey a mood as much as the music track itself.
H3: The visual concept was directed and designed by Nick Scott. The music was produced by myself and Jon Ware and composed by Chris Banks and Wag Marshal-Page.T
H3: This is a so called fused respons- where the D is a result of and audio visual illusion. In reality you are hearing the sound “BA”
H3: This is an audio package that Ala Kondre designed for the Dutch public broadcaster.
H3: This is how we finally discovered that the distorted sound or corruption that the client was hearing was actually part of the audio design and nothing to do with file corruption.
H3: This is the Intel Sound logo using the timbre of T-mobile:
H3: This was starting to get a little worrying for us and frustrating because time was running out very rapidly, and we really couldn’t figure out why the files were corrupted so badly, we checked wiring, checked connections, checked compression settings , and more . .
H3: We have just seen the “McGurk effect”, and I like this example because it clearly demonstrates that there are more things happening within an audio and visual context.
H3: We have often, in feedback sessions, been told “it needs to be faster” but having established that the “TEMPO” of the music was ok, we discovered that it was more to do with the rhythmical layers and rhythmical structure or parts and was more a case of making more things happen more often, not speeding things up at all . . it’s a lesson we have learned and apply every time when dealing with these particular clients!!!
H3: We often see and hear an a lot of brand and channel logo designs that utilize a minimalist 3, 4 or 5 note musical hook and it would seem that the intention is to be as recognizable and appealing as the Intel audio logo.
H3: We were commissioned and briefed to design an audio package for a channel called TV MAX, a new pay channel showing mainly big budget blockbuster movies in Middle Eastern countries . .
H3: What is he Saying
H3: When asked if they thought that, say for instance, in which segment did the colours seem more vivid?, or in which segment did the movements seem smoother?, and so on, almost 100% of the audience always selected the second piece of film, even though the films were identical from a visual point of view. And there was one question that simply asked, “overall, which segment do you think looked the best”? and yes, you guessed it, almost all the audience thought that the second film looked better, the film with the optimized soundtrack.
H3: While you are seeing the lip movements “GA GA GA”
H3: With my previous post “The Intel Logo as benchmark for Audio Idents”  in mind – we can say that we have a good understanding of what people actually hear and recognize within music and audio, we can also explore further through research and interesting experiments, how audiences actually recognize and categorize sound logo’s.
H3: With the parameters of a set of notes that had to appear somewhere in the idents – we then allowed composers free license to give each ident a distinct mood. Using quirky, surprising arrangements, tempos and musical influences.
H3: Written by Jonathan Ware  &  Alexander Nijmolen | Ala Kondre
H3: and now have look at the Ned 2 Ident ” CARNIVAL” and judge for yourself:
H3: have a look again but now the version without the filter..
H3: have a look
H3: it was a filter effect and certain distortion sound design elements which helped to give the ident the cutting edge quality the “we” were looking for! But we had to take it and this was the result of that…
H3: the audio, generally speaking will consist of:
H3: “there are parts in the track that seem to be distorting ..
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