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Close Your Eyes & Listen

April 12, 2012

Audio is much more powerful than we give it credit.  For most of us, audio is predominately attached to a visual.  Whether it is someone speak while utilizing facial expressions, seeing a fire while hearing it crackle or seeing a door close and anticipating the sound it will likely make.  Audio is absolutely integral to storytelling in that respect.  We process audio with the same amount of intensity that we do video and still imagery.  Therefore, an advertisement or an effective web video will be able to standalone in many respects outside of its visual component.  Below are some examples of online videos that do a great job of creating audio stories.

1.  Battleship

The upcoming film Battleship is a great example of an action film that totally encompasses audio storytelling.  Mixing natural sounds that are familiar to us, with futuristic effects and nicely sliced voiceovers, I can hear what is going on without having to actually see it and that alone makes me want to find where the visual is so I can experience it again.  Action films do a superb job of mixing audio types to build anticipation and create tension with their use of explosions, intentional silence and boisterous voiceover.

2.  Political Ads – Obama 2012

Political advertisements and YouTube clips are great examples of audio effectiveness.  This particular YouTube clip features the voices of many Obama supporters as they speak on his reelection and how they and others will be involved.  The voices of normal citizens, and not professional voiceover actors, paired with an unidentifiably pleasant background song makes this advertisement strong audibly.  The variation in voice keeps it interesting and the song keeps it consistent.  It’s very effective and the video doesn’t have to be seen at all.

3.  Coca Cola Nature Commerical

This commercial for Coca Cola uses almost entirely sounds that are found in nature.  While it may be difficult to get the idea of what is going on without the visual, I think on a close listen the sound effects give all the necessary clues to understand what is going on strictly through audio.  A listeners can hear the various bugs individual sounds, the sounds of falling and dropping objects, the sound of a Coca Cola opening and pouring.  It it so rich in audio that one wants to automatically picture an image in their mind that accompanies the audio.

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