Trailer sound design for Africa – David Attenborough’s new BBC series

I have just finished up some trailers for this new BBC wildlife series coming out in January, I can’t lie it was f’ing good fun working on them.

They were directed by Claire Norowzian from Red Bee, and edited by Thomas Ioannou.

I always think of the BBC wildlife series as having really great sound design, hyper real stuff as if the sound recordist has a mic right in the subjects’ faces… in these trailers there was quite a bit of work left to do, so I picked through shot by shot and added details where I thought it would help that sort of macro look on things.  I spent a fair bit of time pitching elements of the sound to the track to try and stick it all together… you probably wouldn’t notice most of it but stuff like the pitched cicadas on the flower timelapse and the whale pitched up to match the vocal in the track as we go from the sea to the waterfalls kind of help stick it all together.

I also did a bit of filtering/effecting of the track to make it fit into the scenes – for instance filtered under the water, then a bit of uplifting washy stuff as we come out and over the waterfall.  Btw the track is ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ by Roberta Flack… it’s a beauty.  Have a look at the teaser here and look out for the other trailers on the telly innit:

[vimeo 56367550]
10 comments
  1. I got curious, but the video isn’t available for Portugal…

  2. Bah! Let me see if I can get a copy and put it on Vimeo…

  3. Will,
    I am delighted that you blogged about your trail. I had been looking for it online because it is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful trails for a series I have ever seen. Uplifting, witty, joyful. Pure class.

  4. Thanks Tamara, it’s a lovely trailer for sure… hopefully only a hint of what is to come from the series! I think the trailer edit by Thomas Ioannou is fantastic actually – the way he cuts to music is bang on.

  5. Joe said:

    The trailer is fantastic! I was just wondering, where did you get the Robert Flack song? The version on the trailer is different to the one I’ve heard and I’d really like to get it!

  6. Hey, there are a couple of different recordings of it – this one is pretty easy to find though, it’s the studio recording rather than the live one with audience.

    Maybe you mean the version of the track on the trailers other than this teaser, with more percussion and sparkly bits. That version of the track is a remix, done especially for the program by Damon Albarn’s production company I think. I don’t think it’s available to buy / download but I can check with Claire who directed the trailers. I hope that helps!

  7. Alex said:

    It wasn’t an instant hit on Google to find this site, but i persisted and lucky for me i found it.
    I saw the trailer on the bbc today and i was astonished by the sheer beauty of the whole combination of image and sound.
    What a masterpiece! As Tamara said: The most beautiful and majestic trailer i have seen so far. Good thing that you also mention the singer/songname, as this triggered my search.
    Looking forward to see the full series…

  8. David Smith said:

    I have done a few BBC docs regarding the sound design for BBC4 everything and Nothing, Order and Disorder and have also just finished working on a doc for BBC2.
    After doing a little research I have come across your name regarding the sound design on some of the trailers for Africa docs.
    Watching the episode last night, and after spending last week (evenings as I have a day job as well) working on stuff myself, I really picked up on, and greatly appreciated the sound design.
    I would like to connect with you on linkedin as it’s always good to network with like minded people. Your work is spot on leaving the viewer with no question to the sound matching the visual! I’d like to follow more of your work.
    Thanks very much for your time

    David Smith

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