String and Tins
Thu, 10 Nov 2022 10:48:34 GMT
London-based sound design and music production studio, String and Tins, have been awarded the iconic D&AD Yellow Pencil for their work on ‘The Journey’, commissioned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The emotive one minute spot tells the story of a refugee woman who flees her home to escape conflict and violence and becomes an Olympic athlete. Directed by Pantera with Don't Panic agency, ‘The Journey’ highlights the power of sport to bring hope and change for all those forced to flee.
For 60 years, the D&AD Pencil has represented the very best in design and advertising. Winning a Pencil remains the pinnacle of many careers and the work it celebrates inspires others to study, debate, copy and reference its excellence, as the industry’s finest and most historic of treasures. String and Tins have been awarded the D&AD Yellow Pencil, awarded only to outstanding work that achieves true creative excellence.
Requiring careful audio consideration to tell the sensitive story, audio producer Laura-Leigh Smith, Sound Designer and Mixer Joe Wilkinson and additional Sound Designer Culum Simpson worked collaboratively to strike the right tone of realism and high production value in the cinematic spot for the UNHCR.
Keen to stay clear of the intense war-like sounds we have come to expect from Hollywood films, String and Tins instead focused on the lead protagonist and her journey. In her world, the soundscape would be realistic, abrasive and distressing. As any inflection of Hollywood would take away from the emotional pull of her story, a very selective approach was needed, based on designing the right sounds as opposed to an onslaught of artillery. Therefore, the guns and explosions that do feature are distorted and clipped at times to give a sense of how you might hear them if you were there.
With only just the visual of the protagonist's feet as she runs through multiple environments to reach the track, it was crucial the dramatic sound design drove the story forward. In collaboration with UK sound studio The Foley Barn, String and Tins ensured the accompanying sounds felt transient to the striking visuals, with each sound coming in and out of focus dramatically to enhance the protagonist's disorientation and keep the film moving.
Joe Wilkinson, sound designer and mixer at String and Tins, comments, “This film was unusual in that almost all the action happens off screen, with just our protagonist's feet to guide us on her journey. Pantera had a real vision for the sound from the word go, but also invited us to interpret the film fairly openly with a few guidelines for key moments / suggestions.
We collaborated with the foley maestros at The Foley Barn, and their attention to detail on the protagonist's feet and moves elevated the sound immensely. We also recorded ADR with actor Abby Wilson for all the breaths, noises and vocalisations for her. These two elements take the lead role in the sound mix; the visuals brilliantly show us her state of mind just through her feet, so these two sonic elements are the centre of it all.”