The Bark Side: how’d they do that?

That ad of dogs barking the “Star Wars” Imperial March has caused a sensation on YouTube, and now the creator is talking about how he put the ad together:

Just how they got the mighty dog choir to sing in tune is a bit of Hollywood magic. We did a quick e-mail interview with Jeff Elmassian, the creative director and owner of Los Angeles sound design company Endless Noise who composed and arranged the barking track, about process.

QWhat was the process that went into creating and arranging the barking dog soundtrack?

We created a demo track composed of dogs barking “The Imperial March” to use on set as a guide for the dogs while filming. Our demo track consisted of barks, howls and yelps from our own sound library, as well as dogs we brought into the studio to record so that we’d get a wide range of sounds and pitches to fill out the different instrumental parts.

The demo track served as much a guide for the dogs as it was for their handlers because it was an indication of the kinds of barks we were using and the visuals we needed to capture to go along with them. For example, if there were three barks in rapid succession we wanted to film a dog barking three times in a row to have something to match with the soundtrack.

Once the picture was involved, we spent a lot of time incorporating the barks and sounds recorded on set and tweaking the barks we already had to match the dogs we were now seeing on the cut. For our part the process was largely about solving the creative challenge of making 11 dogs bark “The Imperial March” and having it be not only recognizable, but believable.

QHow long did it take to put the finished track together?

From our first creative conversation to the final mix, about four weeks. The first demo took about eight hours. At that point we were most concerned about nailing down the structure, the basic arrangement and the timings for the shoot. The rest of those four weeks was spent finessing the sound design and individual musical parts for each dog.

There’s much more.  Read it all.

Meantime, Automotive News has more on the marketing strategy behind the ad.

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