‘Photos Every Day’

This is a spot by TBWA/Chiat/Day for Apple, called ‘Photos Every Day’. The craft is fantastic, and there’s some subtle, unusual attention to detail in it.

Let’s take a look at the sound mix. Here’s a waveform of the spot:

And now here’s the waveform of a conventionally mixed spot – this is that ‘Old Spice’ commercial everyone flipped out for a couple years ago. It might as well be any ad you see on TV today.

Huge difference. There’s incredible restraint in the amount of compression applied to the music in ‘Photos Every Day’.  From Wikipedia, compression “reduces the volume of loud sounds or amplifies quiet sounds by narrowing or ‘compressing’ an audio signal’s dynamic range”. My point here is that if you caught this on TV, it would be substantially ‘quieter’ sounding than other ads around it.

The other interesting thing about the mix is that the iPhone shutter click sound is substantially undermixed. It comes across as incidental, and unobtrusive. The ambiences are the real star here, and the sound editor wasn’t even afraid to drop them out entirely for effect (see snowy skyscraper, 0:23).

Other Observations:

• There’s a real nice match-cut at 0:06 of the guy jumping off his skateboard into the shot of the jogger running.
• 0:25, the iPhone bobs up and down at a concert, and halfway through, the shot itself starts bobbing with the phone, keeping the screen stationary in the frame.
• Overall, there’s a very careful variety of perspective, scale, and involvement. Are we peering over someone’s shoulder? Watching from across the street? Ostensibly taking the picture, ourselves?
• I could have done without the voiceover at the end.