HSI Director Joseph Kahn has been collaborating with Sovereign sound designer Tim Gedemer since the early 1990s. So it was not unusual last Fall for Kahn to turn once again to Gedemer for his newest commercial spot for Saab entitled “Transformer.”
Ad agency Lowe Worldwide, impressed with Gedemer’s talent, returned to him after the New Year with a second spot in the same campaign entitled “Head to Head,” this time directed by Original Film’s Rob Cohen. Included in the new “Born From Jets’” campaign, these two 30-second spots tell the story of how Saab was founded by veteran engineers from the aircraft industry.
In “Head to Head,” along a deserted desert highway, a jet and the Saab 9-5 sedan take their places facing one another in a proposed game of chicken. As they speed towards one another, the narrator notes: “The same aerodynamic forces that lift a Saab jet into the air help the 9-5 stay on the ground.” Just as you think the jet and sedan will make impact, the jet lifts up into the sky. The 9-5 takes a spin and faces the screen, as the spot concludes with the Saab logo and the powerful end-tag “Saab. Born from Jets.”
The compelling “Transformer” begins with a fighter jet on the ground in an airplane hanger. As the pilot revs the engines, and hits the magic lever, the jet itself experiences a metamorphoses and turns into a sleek SUV. “Saab was founded by 16 aircraft engineers,” explains the narrator. “Their spirit lives on.” The SUV blasts out of the airplane hanger. The pilot, now a driver, has shed his helmet for sunglasses. His focus shifted from the skies, to the road. As the SUV takes off, speeding along the isolated airport roads, the narrator notes: “Introducing the all-new Saab 97X. When you used to build jets, you don’t just build any kind of SUV.”
Sovereign’s Tim Gedemer traveled to California’s high desert to put the Saab 9-5 and the Saab 97X through their paces and record their unique sounds. For “Head to Head,” Gedemer put microphones in the vehicles engines and tailpipes in order to capture the best sounds. After a 10-hour day, he knew he had what he needed in order to complete the sound design.
For Sovereign Composer PJ Hanke, completing the music edit with “Ready Steady Go” by Paul Oakenfold, “provided an opportunity to show the creatives at Lowe Worldwide and the client Saab how music combined with sound design could become a character in each commercial and in each storyline. We didn’t’ just lay the music and sound design over the visuals. We integrated them with the compelling images in order to make the story in each spot as strong as it could be.”
For “Transformer,” in searching for some aural connection to jets, a high-pitched whine was detected coming from the side of the exhaust manifold. Music to a sound designer’s ears… Tim was able to match the real sound of the SUV to a jet, and mix them together seamlessly in the spot. “I have been very fortunate to have worked with Joseph Kahn for more than a decade,” notes Gedemer. “And I would say we have similar styles. His visual style is bold, and my style of sound design is bold. So we approach our creative process in a similar way and have a similar mind-set.
The key to this spot is that we didn’t want to tip our hat too soon to the fact that this was an SUV commercial. So our sound design in the first half of the spot was focused heavily on the jet sounds. While the jet is transforming we tried to make the sounds as interesting as possible, thereby generating a sense of anticipation. Joseph did a fantastic job of fusing the vehicle and jet visual elements together and so it made our job easy to do the same fusion with the sound.”
Inspired by the creative vision of Composer PJ Hanke, Sovereign is a select group of individuals who create under the same ideology: to realize conceptually inspiring soundtracks for moving pictures. Providing original music, sound design + music licensing for commercials, film and television, Sovereign features the talents of Composer Hanke, Sound Designer Tim Gedemer and Music Supervisor Alexandra Patsavas, with Katie Jones as Executive Producer.
Sovereign is located at 1522 B Cloverfield, Santa Monica, Ca 90404
Ph: 310.453.5911 Fax: 310.453.5915