The World's Fastest Family

Joe takes us through creating the Sound Design on this high octane film for Mercedes AMG.

‘The world's fastest family’ is a seminal brand film for the highest level production cars that Mercedes’ produce. It encompasses their whole line of high end automobiles both built for the track and for regular consumers. It was clear from the outset that this film would need to be visceral and filled with racing menace.

Despite this, the film is about more than just conveying high performance. It is about the conviviality that surrounds racing and car enthusiasts. Indeed the narrator guides us with musings about the nature of family and how it applies to the AMG clique. This combination of snarling energy with raw humanity makes for an exciting opportunity to craft a sound experience that surrounds the sonic language of motorsport (engines, machinery, fire) with emotive human elements (breaths, calm winds, fanfare crowds).

We discussed the edits at length in terms of the overall experience we wanted to convey. A warm, analog feel to the sound design would sit nicely against the gospel inspired music track and the raw footage. Chapter two, after the crash sequence, provided a welcome moment for an exhale, and also a chance to zone in on the quiet tension when a large crowd is reduced to silence. We tried to capture that magic moment just after a sporting incident where nobody knows exactly what happened. I found soft sounds from nature, winds, gentle crackle created an indiscernible texture that contrasted well after all the chaos of Chapter 1.

Chapter 3 is a chance for the track to take centre stage, but with a few roaring engines and zealous crowds to keep things pumping. I layered up klaxons, drums, varying crowd sizes, and snippets of comms and race radio. For the final multi car fly by, I used multiple recordings of AMG vehicles, but also slipped in a particular favourite personal recording of mine captured in Italy at Ducati’s HQ racetrack; it has that signature grandstand reverberation that just seems to never end.

In the mix, it was a careful balancing of a busy tracklay against a raucous track. I took a highly selective approach, letting the sound design shine when it needed to, pushing the music track back but still just enough to keep a sense of momentum.

The end result is a car commercial that feels relevant and exciting - a rare thing. Weaving the machines with the human story that surrounds them is a potent formula and that insight set the tone for a winning piece of work. Thanks to the guys at Antoni and Anorak for bringing us onboard!