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String and Tins Packs a Punch into Ninian Doff’s Epic Veg Power Battle

Music & Sound
London, UK
Veg gets smashing action SFX and movie soundtrack for adam&eveddb’s Eat Them To Defeat Them
Today, charity, Veg Power launches a new 60-second TVC, devised by adam&eveddb, which aims to get kids fighting the good battle to get their nutrients. In the 60-second film, directed by Pulse Films’ Ninian Doff, children are cast as the heroes in a movie scenario with a horde of vegetables emerging “from underground to take over the world”. The kids start making quick work of their nutritious nemeses, chomping through a whole selection of veg in an epic battle in order “to eat them to defeat them”. 

Needing some serious sound power, and a suitably epic track for the ad, the team enlisted music and sound company, String and Tins, who worked closely with the director and Creatives to bring the battlefield to life. This included creating monstrous characters for all the different veg and making sure the battle between kids and legumes was full of fire.

“Ninian had a vlog at the end of his treatment guiding us through his whole idea," says Sound Designer, Adam Smyth. "He was acting out the ‘sounds’ of the characters and vocalising how he heard the scenes in his head. As a sound designer, it gives you a great starting point and a sense of what the director wants. And with such a great script and creative by Matt and Mark it was obviously we weren’t going to hold back!” 

Foley was used to create many of the epic whooshing sound effects for the spot including golf club swings, and rope whips. Adam explains: “A lot of the sound was layered with real impacts of bullets, explosions or debris to help maintain punch! The carrots swishing through the shot are made up of tree branch whips and bullet ricochets blended together and effected using a doppler plugin. My other favourite moments in the spot are the sun-rays giving the corn life. We treated the corn voices likes the three mini aliens in Toy Story (e.g. “the clawwwww”) as they are given ‘power’ and ‘life’.”

Giving the evil veggies their own personalities required some vocal step-ins from Ninian, Adam and some of the production team. Adam blended their voice characters with animal vocalisations to give them each a unique impact. 

He adds: “Most of the voices are designed with a human element and an animalistic quality. My personal favourites being the peas and the turnip. The peas are a combo of my own voice and a macaque monkey. I also paid homage to a scene from ‘The Blues Brothers’ film - where the army enters the skyrise building. So, the peas have a little ‘hut hut hut hut’ as they blitz across the shot. I tried various ways of morphing the two elements together but in the end, I used a plugin called Envy to blend and time our performances with the cut of monkeys and other animal vocalisations. For example, the turnip has a little bit of a hippo guffaw underneath to give it a little more gargle.”

When it came to the sound effects, a delicate balance had to be struck between making the ad sound action-packed but also fun and engaging for kids.

Adam explains: “Playing it safe wasn’t an option. I really wanted to give each scene it’s own little texture or moment. In the end, we decided that pulling on the genre-specific horror string stabs, thunder claps or big war sound-effects alongside a layer of vegetables foley and swooshes would keep the sound design punchy and real, yet light and fun. Experimentation is key to really crafting good original sound design but having a little imagination is also helpful. And I hope that this spot can help lift the imaginations of kids at meal times. I certainly stab my carrots with more intensity.”

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