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Screen Music Awards 2017

10.24.17

s:amplify are excited to announce their nomination for ‘Best Music for an Advertisement’ at the 2017 APRA Screen and Music Awards.

Composers Davide Carbone and Josh Abrahams of s:amplify have been nominated for an APRA Screen Music Award in the category of best music for an advertisement, for their work on the ‘ClassiVm Cognac’ campaign for client Hennessy.

The TVC was destined for Mainland China and the brief given for the project was an interesting challenge for Davide and Josh. The musical references were K-Pop boy-bands and the dance sequences of the performers had already been rehearsed to a dubstep tune by Skrillex. So with that in mind a piece needed to be composed to suit both styles musically as well as working to the already existing choreography. They had to work very closely with director Michael Gracey to ensure that these criteria were met.

The delivered product was a fast-paced, high-energy piece that felt new-aged and edgy while retaining a sense of class and opulence. Featuring those familiar Skrillex-esque type leads and stabs and still retaining that catchy K-pop vibe, it perfectly suited the mood Hennessy sought to create.

The winner will be announced on Monday the 13th of November at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

The Artful Escape

06.18.17

We have been working on and off over several years with Johnny Galvatron, owner and head creative/writer/designer at burgeoning game-developer Beethoven and Dinosaur, helping him to bring his vision for the game The Artful Escape to life.

The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti is a video game about great expectations, famous folk singers, lingering shadows, space Gods, hallucinogens, individuality, reptile shops, and wild imaginations.

It’s an action, adventure, exploration, narrative driven, musical-laser-light-battle kind of game.

We first worked with Johnny almost ten years ago, producing the demo tracks that eventually got him signed to a major worldwide record deal for his retro-rock album Laser Graffiti. It all went gangbusters, but he eventually tired of life on the road, returning to Melbourne and his first passion, video games. He conceived of a music-based game and set to work developing it. It took years, failed kickstarter campaigns, and hundreds of late nights, not to mention the faith that we put into him and the game by helping out whenever he needed music for the next stage of demos or gameplay, but Galvatron eventually got the attention of film production company Annapurna Pictures when he showcased the game at the 2016 PAX Australia. Annapurna, as luck would have it, were moving into the world of gaming in a big way, with their sights set on exactly the kind of indi game Johnny showed them.

PAX Australia 2016 – Preview: The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti

Annapurna Interactive have now signed on to produce the game, meaning we can all go and make the game as rich and wild on screen as it is in Galvatron’s mind.

Last week it was showcased as part of the Microsoft X Box One X launch at E3 2017, the world’s biggest annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, and won best in show from a handful of blogs and judges. Here is a preview from E3:

You can also check out eight minutes of in-game footage here:

http://au.ign.com/videos/2017/06/15/8-minutes-of-the-artful-escape-of-francis-vendetti-gameplay-e3-2017

And some more buzz:

https://twitter.com/A_i/status/875085149381156865/photo/1

https://www.polygon.com/platform/amp/e3/2017/6/15/15804032/e3-2017-artful-escape-video-gameplay-preview-music

We are hugely looking forward to getting elbows deep into the composition and sound design for such a fun, innovative game!

Vivid – Ford interactive show

06.16.17

Recently we worked in partnership with Imagination on a collaborative project to create an innovative activation piece for Ford at Vivid Sydney.Vivid Sydney is a unique 23-day annual outdoor lighting festival that is vibrant, innovative and engaging. Although the festival is centered on the idea of immersive lighting, an integral part of creating such immersive environments is the sound.

The idea was to increase brand awareness for Ford through an interactive display incorporating a giant live swing set. These giant live swings were utilized for two standalone experiences. The first was an energetic and awe-inspiring demonstration or ‘show mode’, where the swings seeming come to life and move on their own, for which we composed a piece of music designed to enhance the movement and engage viewers emotionally. The second experience was a live ‘user mode’, whereby the audience could interact and swing on the swings accompanied by brilliant lights and enveloping sounds. The show mode was to attract, entertain and thrill the audience while the user mode was to be interactive, fun and engage the audience. In terms of the audio the main point of difference for us was linear vs non linear.

With the show mode, samplify composed a piece of music specifically linked to the visuals of the swings on a pre-determined timeline. The swings started moving at seemingly random intervals, each having their own tone, or ‘voice’, and being introduced one at a time. As the piece progressed they slowly fell into unison and rotated as one. This section created a poly-rhythmical wonderland that felt sporadic and improvised, but, with careful composition, had a sense of cohesion and unity at the same time.

The user mode posed a more challenging role for the audio and required us to created sounds as users reached new height milestones as they swung. We created different length swooshes, and chimes that rose in pitch to represent how the user was swinging; the higher the swing, the longer the swoosh and the higher the chime was in pitch. The problem was not having time-linear data on which to build the audio. The sounds had to be triggered via a middleware program that contained a real-time data feed from the swings themselves. As the data came through specifying the height of each swing motion end point, a corresponding sound was triggered. The end result was a fun, sonically stimulating experience.

Hennessy Classivm TVC

06.15.17

The brief we were given for the Hennessy TVC was an interesting challenge. The TVC was for Mainland China, the musical references were K-pop boy-bands, and the dance sequences had been rehearsed to a Dubstep tune by Skrillex. We were also on a tight deadline; by the time we were approved for the job there was only a few days left until the shoot, they needed the music asap to rehearse and then film the dance sequences.

We started by creating a beat and bassline very much in the style of the music they had been rehearsing to. It was well liked, but the message was “where is the singing? We can’t just show a beat to the client.” We discussed this with the director, Michael Gracey (currently in production of the upcoming musical feature film The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman) and his suggestion was to record ourselves singing in faux Chinese/Korean, so as to give the client and agency an idea of how the vocal parts would eventually sound. It felt a bit silly singing made up words, but it worked, the demo was given the green light, and there was a recording for the team to shoot to.

The next stage was to hand the piece to lyricists and singers in China to replace our babble with real words. Through a bit of trial and error, and a lot of emailing, a vocal part was written with Chinese lyrics, recorded in China, and then sent back to us to embed within the mix of the rest of the track.

Various edits were made to the pictures over several months, posing new challenges each time. We had to find a way to make the music work with each new edit structure, remembering that most of the images were of people dancing, so we had to ensure they were dancing in time to the music, and to the correct section of the song. Again, this took a lot of to and fro and push and pull between music edit and picture edit, but eventually, with discussions including an expanding team of people around the globe, we settled on a 74 second cinema version, with several shorter versions for television.

BMW i3 Augmented Reality

06.06.17


We recently enjoyed working on a collaborative project between FGMNT studios, Imagination and ourselves, for the release of the all-new BMW i3. The i3 is a sleek, sophisticated, all electric car being shown off throughout 50 shopping centres Australia-wide. The project was an augmented reality experience conveyed via iPads set up around a vehicle on a podium. The user would hold up the iPad, view the car through the camera, then the app locks on to the car, and the world is transformed into a futuristic sci-fi environment, then the user is free to explore the new car in depth via digital animation on the iPad. FGMNT studios in Prahran animated the immersive experience, creating a visual palette for us to populate with music, ambience, and sound design.

The requirement was that this be an immersive experience, and this informed the decisions we made when creating. We first set about creating a sparse and inviting musical ambience bed, keeping it as melodically simple as possible, to avoid clashes bewtween iPads in close proximity or any other music that may be played within stores near-by. With all the custom interactive sounds to be played over the top of this ambience bed, all sounds had to work together to strengthen the immersion. We used techniques such as filtering out the higher frequencies of the ambience when you entered the car, to suggest the user had actually moved into a different, enclosed space.

All of the futuristic sounds were of bespoke design, and were layered with swooshes and transition effects, for that touch of class. We worked closely with FGMNT during the implementation stage to ensure the sounds came across effectively and as envisioned on the medium.

The centerpiece of this experience was the larger than life transition when the car appeared on screen at the beginning, and the augmented reality world was constructed. The brief was to be electric, and a real ‘wow’ moment for the user. We constructed a big electric rise sound, and triggered some epic futuristic sfx as the world was building around the car, transitioning into the beautiful sci-fi adventure. Follow the link to see the end result and how it all turned out.