Post Production Showcase: Factory

We’re pleased to reveal that Factory is among the six post-production houses that have made the final list for the first ever Audio Media Post Production Showcase – a feature highlighting the varying work across the field of audio post-production for feature films, shorts, TV, and advertising.

Factory’s pitch comprised ‘Honda – Hands’. Since its release in July 2013, ‘Honda – Hands’ has become the most awarded piece of commercial sound design work over the past 12 months, and has amassed over 13 million YouTube views since its release.

We spoke to Anthony Moore, partner at Factory and sound designer of ‘Honda – Hands’.

What was your brief/concept for this?

The sound design brief for this beautifully crafted film involved us sourcing and recording a whole host of Honda engines and sounds as we strived to make the film as authentically Honda as possible. The CGI nature of the film’s environment dictated that we were sound designing from the ground up – every single sound needed to be created and crafted. Where necessary, we referenced some of the older engines and recreated their sonic nuances from other, more accessible Honda engines. We then set about sound designing every click, twist, touch, and movement of our engineer’s hands to ensure each product had a very real and tactile feel within the featured space. The sound design and mix of this film is completely focused on the detail and intricacy of our engineer and is designed to specifically enhance the story behind each featured product. ‘Hands’ is a triumph in sonic storytelling, which expertly highlights Honda’s 65 years of engineering achievements.

What was the sound design process like?

It was a very detailed process; lots of ideas were tried and tested as we explored the best way to make a two minute film of clicks and twists sound interesting and entertaining. We spent a day at Honda World in Slough recording a whole host of Honda engines to ensure authenticity. We also chased the Honda Fireblade around the UK to record it before a race meet.

We spent a long time recording and mixing foley to add extra detail, warmth, and texture to the film. Honda’s philosophy is all about ‘warm engineering’ and this was core to our sound design as we endeavored to create a film that was fun and entertaining, whilst also being completely precise in its sound design execution.

Can you run me through the technology set-up?

The studios operate Avid Pro Tools|HD 3 systems with console operation being handled by the Solid State Logic AWS 948.

Recording on the project was done using a mixture of our studio microphones, including the Audio-Technica AT4033 and Neumann U 87, with additional location recording being done with a Fostex Hard Disc Recorder and stereo microphone setup.

When mixing the project within Pro Tools, we utilised plugins such as Avid EQ and compression, Focusrite Red Compressors, ReVibe, pitch shift, and X-Form.

Anthony Moore, Factory

How long was the production process?

The production process spanned two months. We were very reliant on the visuals and animation to constantly update in order to progress our sound design. On completion, the main two-minute film was then cut into smaller TV idents that ran as part of Honda’s sponsorship of Channel 4 Documentaries.

What special challenges did it present?

Keeping everything authentic was a challenge. For engines or products that we couldn’t access or that no longer existed, we had to research the sound in order to recreate the sonic nuances of that particular engine using other Honda engines or archive recordings. This film would appeal to people who knew their stuff about Honda so we had to get this as perfect as possible.

How was the response from the public?

The response was absolutely amazing. The film launched in July 2013 and after two days had been viewed over 2.5 million times on YouTube and was receiving one tweet or Facebook ‘like’ per minute over the following two weeks. At present, the film has been viewed over 13 million times!

The craft of our sound design has also been globally recognised with our work picking up awards at the Cannes Lions, Music+Sound Awards UK and International, British Arrows Craft Awards, Hollywood Post Alliance, LIA Awards, New York Festival for Advertising, Eurobest, and Cicolpe.

Lastly, what are you working on right now?

A brand new Honda brief is just about to commence. We are finishing up ‘Stand Up To Cancer’ for Channel 4 and 4Creative (working with our ‘Honda – Hands’ directors Smith & Foulkes). Not to mention the Christmas ad’s – Boots, McVitie’s, Baileys and our fourth Christmas spot for the now iconic John Lewis campaign.