Barclays Life Skills

Ads recounts this fun spot, mixing other worldly sound design with an old school hip hop classic.

Being taught the right skills can help you master your ‘Moneyverse’ and help you progress in your life. Luckily for me, the skills and tools I have at my disposal helped me bring a world of flying guinea pigs, warp speed travels, and money universes to life!

This project was an example of how receiving the brief early can really benefit a production. We started by testing a tonne of different VO's for our Guinea Pig, landing with the voice of David Whitely. David gave us our voice for the spot. From here we started to work the foley elements around David performance (i.e cloth movement, clicking of the mouse, the throw of the ball from the annoying brother etc) which, although subtle, helped provide that immediate layer of realism. The opening shot needed to feel busy and was highlighted in the treatment. So, early on, we experimented by re-amping and re-recording sounds of a group of adults chatting, some background tv noise and people movements to add a bit of depth to the opening scene. I haven't re-amped anything in a while and always enjoy making a lot of noise so this was a fun early experiment which really worked out well.

As the VFX got updated, I made a start on recording various thicknesses of metal and different playing techniques. Anything from small coins, thicker coins, pots and pans, to bowing cymbals and ebo’ing my sink, all in an attempt to try and create some interesting sounds that created metallic resonances for the movement of the coins. Underneath this, I added a layer of branch swishes to really bring out the gravity and swishing natures of the objects.

The amazing creative team of Remco, Chloe, Charlie and Matt all came to the studio and we started to work on the warpy magic layer that gave our protagonist all her powers. A combination of tuned turbines and modulating winds gave us the right amount of texture for this particular sequence. Our main aim was to avoid it being too overpowering.

Then came the fun part of designing the room breaking up! We have a great library called ‘Debris’ by Boom. I dug deep into this and used some of our own recordings at String and Tins to add a few extra details to the room breaking apart. A few wood cracks and the sound of a fire truck doppler’ing by being my favourites in this scene.

The ‘warp sound’ into the moneyverse was a nice little challenge. I wanted it to feel subby and thick rather than swishy and whooshy. I experimented a lot with Kiloheartz Freq Shifter to play around with the pitch of the SFX I’d layered up. It gave it a real nice ascending and descending quality as she hoovers into the Moneyverse. Bit like the old cartoon whinney whistle. As a team we kept saying, “what is the cartoony version of this and how can we modernise it?”

All in all, it was a great project to be involved with. It’s easy for clients to be scared of big tracklays and bold effects used in adverts like this. I’m really pleased that with a little tweaking we got this tracklay to final mix. Credit to the whole BBH team on this and the super CGI/VFX by Time Based Arts.

Sound designer: Adam Smyth // Music: Salt-N-Pepa // Audio Producer: Alina Miroshnichenko // Director: Tom Green // Production Company: Stink Films // Editor: Trim Editing // Agency: BBH // Creative Director: Remco Graham // Creative: Chloe Stephenson, Charlie Pendarvez // Agency Producer: Matt Towell // Post Production: Time Based Arts