POP Sound Mixes on the Coke Side of Life

POP Sound created sound design and performed a 5.1 mix for a new theatrical and high def television spot for Coca-Cola that takes audiences along on a magical ride with a boy on a bike. The studio Peter Rincon helmed the mix for the spot, conceived by Wieden & Kennedy (Portland and Amsterdam) as part of its ambitious ‘Coke side of life’ initiative.

In the spot, a boy, riding his bicycle through a quiet, city neighborhood, takes a sip of Coke Classic and suddenly finds himself in the midst of a parade, complete with marching bands, circus performers and eager crowds. The boy appears to travel cross country, passing through a variety of urban and rural locales, but when he finishes his soft drink, it all disappears, leaving him alone again on the street where he began.

Furthering its dreamlike sensibility, the spot has no dialogue or voice-over. Rather it is driven by a hypnotic minimalist music score and subtle sound design (created by Rincon) that sets the scene at the beginning and close. The sound elements have their greatest impact in the 5.1 mixes that Rincon prepared for the theatrical and HD versions of the spot.

‘The music has a contemplative feel. It is a very spare piece that never modulates into a melody. It an interesting approach that contributes to the slow-motion, suspended reality quality of the spot,’ Rincon said. ‘The score also leant itself very well to 5.1 and I tried to capitalize on it by using the environment to the fullest extent. I wanted the music to wrap around the heads of the audience.’

The sound design at the opening of the spot helps to establish its reality and includes the sounds of the boy bike and the ambience of his neighborhood. The sound design also plays a crucial role in the spot shift to fantasy. ‘There a moment when the boy first encounters a marching band and that when we make the switch,’ said Rincon. ‘At that moment, the soundtrack goes from real to unreal. There is a transitional sound that we manufactured for the moment when the drum major baton drops?‚àö√ë‚àö√Üit the audio equivalent of a wipe. The audio changes from bicycles and horn honks to the boy fantasy world where he doesn’st hear anything.’

Rincon also prepared a stereo mix for a version of the spot that will air on standard definition television. That version may have been the most challenging as he worked to preserve the magical quality of the soundtrack. ‘The cinema version relies so much on the music bass line,’ he explained. ‘But when it brought down to a stereo playback on a small television you could lose that heart beat. We had to redo the dynamics of the music track to get that to come through on small speakers.’

About POP Sound

POP Sound is located at 625 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401. For more information, call (310) 458-9192 or visit www.popsound.com.

Title: Parade
Length: 1:00
Client: Coke

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland & Amsterdam. Hal Curtis and Mark Fenske, creative directors; Shannon McGlothin, art director; Sheena Brady, copywriter; Ben Grylewicz, executive producer; Shawna Lopez, Corey Bartha, producer; Teresa Lutz, business affairs.

Production: MJZ, Los Angeles, CA. Dante Ariola, director; Jeff Scruton, executive producer; Chris Soos, director of photography; Natalie Hill, line producer.

Location: San Francisco, CA.

Editing: Rock Paper Scissors, Los Angeles. Kirk Baxter, editor; Scott Friske, producer; Matt Murphy, assistant editor; Dave Sellars, executive producer.

Visual EFX / Online.: Asylum, Santa Monica, CA. Mitch Drain, VFX Supervisor; Gabby Gourrier, executive producer; Darcie Tang, producer; Steve Vojkovic, Steve Muangman, Mike Lori, compositors; Sean Faden, CGI supervisor; Elissa Bello, Rotoscope / Paint supervisor; James Lee, Eric Evans, Rotoscope / Paint artists; Shannon Burkley, Matte painter.

Titles / Graphics Co: Brand New School.

Audio Post House: POP Sound, Santa Monica, CA. Peter Rincon, mixer; Susie Harshman, Erin Reilly, producers; Rob Weiss, assistant mixer.

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