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National Geographic

Audio Branding

Nat Geo wanted to place its audience in an unlikely and highly emotive setting

Dvein + Garlic Films + Nat Geo

National Geographic asked to create the audio branding for its global identity from a few pieces, meant to place the spectator in an unlikely and highly emotive setting. Taking them farther than ever.

Creative process

We created a wall of sound that emotionally magnified the threshold to cross to reach this cathartic point. Our proposal was to start with a hyper-realistic sound design found in the main character’s subjective listening. We shaped heavily textured sounds – soil, snow, wind with its acoustic distortion, steps in the foreground. Moments before we reach the threshold, the sound layers collapse. The acoustic trail they create leads to an unchartered acoustic environment. To enhance this, we made ‘granular synthesis’, meaning we picked out a millisecond of a sound and we repeated it several times until we got a sustained effect. The millisecond we chose was not just from any sound. For its humanistic and extra-musical representations, we choose Beethoven’s ninth.

We decided not to create an audiologo. The channel’s audio branding comes from the experience created in the listener through the collapse and liberation of the sound elements.

Technical-Sound Observations

While we recorded the sound effects, we experimented with how far the microphones were placed from the sound source. In post-production, when we combined equalisation and reverbs, we modified the listener’s perception of plane and distance. The resulting sound is extremely close at the beginning of the piece. It gets more distant as piece moves forward, until it’s so far away you can barely hear it.

National Geographic | BANJO National Geographic | BANJO

Awards

’18 — Gold World Medal New York TV & Film Awards

Credits

Direction: Dvein.
Production company: Garlic.
VP Branding and Creative National Geographic: Mariano Barreiro
SVP Brand Strategy and Marketing National Geographic: Emanuele Madeddu

Team at Banjo Soundscapes
Iván Llopis – Composition, Audio art direction & Mix
Angel Pérez Grandi – Sound Effects Recording & Mix
Anna Segura – Project Management