I wanted to create a PSA that was more creative than it was aggressive, so my sound design had to reflect that. I used voice recording, Foley sound and pre-recorded music for this project’s audio. I chose not to use pre-recorded sound effects such as a car crash because I wanted to stay consistent in the feel of this PSA — since it looks very homemade, it wouldn’t make as much sense to include a big, dramatic sound effect such as a car crash.
To record the voiceover, I used a Zoom recorder and windscreen. I planned out a mini “script” of what I was going to say, and recorded in a small editing suite. I had to record this audio more than once for multiple reasons. Firstly, the editing suite where I recorded is quiet, but not silent. I had a couple of takes where I could hear people talking or moving outside of the suite. Second, I messed up a few times. I may have written the script, but that doesn’t mean I said it perfectly or in the right tone every time! Finally, my first few recordings were too close to the microphone, with the mic up too loud. My voice sounded tinny and kind of harsh in these recordings. I had to adjust where I was sitting, find a consistent volume to speak at and fiddle with the recording level a few times before I was satisfied with how it sounded.
I used Foley to record the crumpling of paper at the end as well as all of the texting sounds. This was also difficult, as I crumpled up the paper way too close to the microphone the first time and caused the audio to pop. I was able to use one of the smaller crumpling sounds I recorded, and brought down the volume a little bit on that. To record the texting sounds, I simply recorded audio of me texting, sending and receiving messages. I didn’t end up using the “receiving messages” sound, because it didn’t make as much sense in the context of the video. The “sending messages” sound was a great volume and was easy to just put into Premiere. The texting sounds themselves were a bit on the quiet side, but once I upped the volume all the way in Premiere they ended up sounding fine.
I spent a long time on the music database FirstCom searching for the perfect background music. I wanted music that would fit with the PSA style without being too peppy and up-tempo. I also didn’t want the music to be too somber and dramatic, since the PSA itself is not dramatic until the end. I typed in keywords like “introspective” and “thoughtful” to get to this song, and while I was not completely sold on any of the music I found, this song has grown on me. I had to take the volume down on the music, so that it didn’t overpower the quicker effects like texts or my voice.
Overall, I think the sound in my piece worked well, but if the PSA didn’t have a time limit of under 25 seconds, I think I could have made the transitions smoother and added some more dynamic components to the sound design.