Advertising, having devoted decades to building elaborate fantasies, now has a new problem: making things seem real and believable. But that’s nothing new to people doing sound design: tiny details of sync, spatialization, and content can trick the mind into different perceptions of what they’re seeing and hearing. The release of a TV ad showing a music ensemble made from Ford parts triggered waves of skepticism online, partly because the ad’s producers and director wanted the composer and instrument builders to make a car part ensemble that sounded quasi-Classical — rather than pushing its “car-partiness.” Singapore-based blog fanatic fandom has some great musings on the irony of the whole situation, with various coverage around the Web (including CDM’s). Note that composer Craig Richey was even concerned about subtle issues of sync impacting the perceived reality of the ad. It’s a great lesson in editing and design.

Of course, the ensemble is real, and we’ve talked a bit to sound designer Bill Milbrodt about the details. Now, it seems Ford and the ad makers have finally released a video interview with Bill. There’s something about talking to people on camera that helps — and Bill has great stuff to say.

Personally, I think the confusion about what people were watching may be more interesting than the car itself. It shows just how much editing and design choices can impact perception — something to keep in mind whether your aspirations tend toward Madison Avenue or the underground.


Interview: Building a Musical Ensemble Out of Ford Focus Car Parts

Yes, Virginia, There Really is a Ford Car Part Musical Ensemble