More often than not attempts at combining my Mintel life with my musical life tend to end in carnage, written warnings and a general feeling of unease. The infamous Wu Tang Clan influenced Christmas party DJ set, the attempt at replacing our Greensleeves hold music with a Gaba / Punk cover of Hold On I’m Coming and the poorly received Musical Speedos being a few examples. So asking me to provide the music for the new Mintel animation showed either great faith and vision from the Marketing team or just how tight the budget had become.

Putting music to a moving image is always fun and far easier than plenty would have you believe. The brain loves a bit of image to go with it’s music. The classic example being a journey on the top deck of a bus with and without ipod accompaniment. Without, it’s a tedious exercise in trying to ignore the bleak horror and filth of grimy London and all its many flaws, with music however all is transformed into your own movie with lamp posts flying by in time to drums, police sirens perfectly in tune with guitars and lyrics miraculously describing all that you see. Unless you’ve picked up your girlfriend’s ipod – it doesn’t work so well with Steps.

It helped that the animation was so strong. We’d been looking at some recent examples of how effective this style can be and it’s fluid nature lent itself very well to some musical backing. Starting any piece of music tends to be equal parts inspiration, guesswork and hacking around on an instrument until something sounds right. With the animation it was finding the initial ‘boop boop’ part that helped me to find the right feel (you do realise, dear reader that by using the word ‘feel’ i have consigned myself to at least 2 months of ‘you hippy’ abuse form the sales team?). The piano parts came next followed by the synth sounds, bass line, guitar and a marathon percussion session involving traditional shakers and tambourines and the not so traditional water bottle full of rice (the king of shakers).

I was trying to get the sense of the company growing over the last 40 years, as well as underlining all of the product and delivery advances that were being highlighted in the voice over. Keeping the music supportive of the voice over but not so busy that it took attention away from what was being said was one of the trickier elements of the track. The other key point in the video is the ‘why? – because we’re Mintel’ line – I dug deep into the recesses of the rave memory for the classic ‘drop out, hands in the air, moment of anticipation before everything comes crashing back in and we all hug each other’ technique – which, if i do say so myself, works pretty well!

So at this point we had an animation with an English voice over and some music – and it was looking and sounding lovely. It was then mentioned that it might be nice to have some other languages – initially the request was for Spanish and Portuguese. Rather than outsourcing the job of finding voice over artists we decided to see if anyone internally would be up for the task. Step forward Ana Picasso and Jose Saiz. Who knew we had two such hugely talented, velvety voiced stars? With the Sakura meeting room hastily converted into a recording booth with some help from a car full of bits taken from my studio we recorded a Spanish and Portuguese version…..and they sounded amazing! Ana and Jose had wrestled with the translation to ensure that it captured all that we were tryign to say in the original and, after some slightly fraught editing to ensure that the new voice overs matched the animation, we had finished versions looking and sounding as good as the original. It should be pointed out at this stage that Ana Picaso currently holds the record for longest recorded sentence without taking a breath – around 35 secs into the video!

The seed of other languages had been planted in the Alistair Vince garden of possibilities. Did we have the ability to record French / German / Italian and Mandarin? Fo sho! More hidden talents were unearthed and the international dream team of Caroline Roux, Tina Kaindl, Yongjun Cai and Monica Trombini stepped up, rocked the mic in an 8 mile stylee and left us with a full compliment of beautifully translated videos. Proving once again what a talented and deeply creative well of genius we have to call upon in this company.

Massive thanks for the hard work that all the above put in to both the translation and performance of the new voice overs.

And there we have it. I think a really effective, honest, creative piece of animation that shows all the amazing development over the last 40 years in a way that actually makes you want to show people. Not as good as the Musical Speedos, granted, but potentially more useful.

If anyone wants any more information on how it was made, perhaps the chance for a remix, an offer of another language, please let us know.

Links to the video in other languages available below:

Spanish: http://www.mintel.com/PorqueSomosMintelVideo

Portuguese: http://www.mintel.com/PorqueNosSomosMintelVideo

German: http://www.mintel.com/WeilWirMintelSindVideo

Italian: http://www.mintel.com/PercheNoiSiamoMintelVideo

French: http://www.mintel.com/ParceQueNousSommesMintelVideo

Multi Language: http://www.mintel.com/MintelMultiLanguageVideo

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