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Home > Brand Media Stories > Inspire Stories > Article > An interview with Daniel Booth The Audio Engineer behind the growing popularity of an award winning animated series

An interview with Daniel Booth: The Audio Engineer behind the growing popularity of an award winning animated series.

Updated on: 21 June,2024 07:22 PM IST  |  Mumbai
BrandMedia |

Mr. Booth will inspire a new generation of up-and-coming creatives to pursue sound design and elevate the sound industry to greater heights.

An interview with Daniel Booth: The Audio Engineer behind the growing popularity of an award winning animated series.

Daniel Booth

Daniel Booth is helping reshape the industry of sound design. His distinctive sound design style and sense of comedic timing are heard in Battle for Dream Island (BFDI), an award-winning animated web series created by Jacknjellify. The Jacknjellify channel has surpassed one billion views, including 12,500,000 recently coming from India. Today, we’re going to get insight into Mr. Booth’s history in audio engineering, and figure out how he’s managed to captivate a global audience with his work.

Interviewer: For a typical episode, what does the process of lead audio engineering look like from start to finish?

Daniel Booth: As a lead audio engineer, I start with a storyboard/script from the writers and directors. I then read through the script, mapping out what sounds I’ll need to collect and create for each scene. It’s important to approach every scene with a clear, creative vision from the get-go, so the work can be done faster and more efficiently.

Once the voice actors have recorded their lines, I have to remove any background noise, and level the audio out, making the quieter parts louder and the louder parts quieter. This helps make the audio smoother and more consistent-sounding. I do this in the program Adobe Audition.

Voice actors will usually record multiple takes of each line to try out different inflections and tones. In reviewing their lines, I’ll often find that some words are said too slowly, too quickly, or might be mispronounced, so it’s then my job to judge and select which take fits the scene the best. If none of the takes recorded fit the scene, I will attempt to work with what I have by combining different takes, stitching and editing them to flow better. If I really don’t have the material I need, I’ll contact the voice actors to request they re-record, and give them direction on how the line should be delivered.

The next step involves piecing the lines together with consistent pacing, comedic timing, and appropriate sound effects. For example, in the episode “BFDIA 8,” there's an action sequence that involves the characters running and shooting paint at each other. A scene like that should feel tightly paced, so I made sure to keep all the dialogue and sound effects short and snappy. If there’s a sound effect I need that I can’t record myself, there are some great copyright-free sound libraries available online. My favorites are the Sakuraburst sound packs, Freesound, and YouTube’s audio library

As lead audio engineer, it’s my duty to review my colleagues' audio work each episode, and ensure they’re up to a high standard of quality. I’ll give any notes I might have about the pacing, sound effects, and dialogue. That way, they can make any necessary alterations to keep the audio in line with the director’s vision.

Interviewer:  To your credit, the episodes where you were the audio engineer have over 195,000,000 views globally, and over 1.6 million views in India, how do you think the show has become so popular internationally?

Daniel Booth: I think the show has gained such huge popularity due to its sound design. The audio crafted by myself and my team of engineers enhances every aspect of the show. The writing, voice acting, animation, and humor all depend on sound design to land effectively – it makes the jokes funnier and helps the characters’ conversations feel organic.

There’s a mass international appeal to the tight pacing of the dialogue and the punchy sound effects that go with the show’s cartoony visual comedy. The show takes place in a fantasy universe known as ‘Goiky’ where there are no humans, just animated objects competing in cartoon adventures. Even though their world is very different from ours, anybody can understand the show because the premise is simple, the characters are endearing, and the humor is universal. That's why I think it's captivated such a wide audience.

Interviewer: Outside of YouTube viewership, your sound design work has gained over 3,430,000 views on TikTok and over 21,600,000 views on YouTube Shorts, what are the differences in working on these different platforms?

Daniel Booth: Creating content for TikTok and YouTube Shorts is very different from our long-form YouTube content, as Shorts are only 20-50 seconds long while our long-form content is closer to 30 minutes. Since TikTok and YouTube Shorts are so much shorter, they need to be snappier, have faster pacing and need to grab the viewer’s attention in the first couple of seconds. It’s very easy for viewers to scroll off YouTube shorts and TikTok videos to watch another, so we need to make sure they’re hooked immediately.

We often repackage our long-form YouTube content into smaller segmented clips to release on YouTube Shorts and TikTok. To help us decide what content to convert, we refer to our YouTube channel’s analytics to find which sections of our long-form videos have the highest viewer retention. These sections that are popular with our long-form audience are likely to be popular with our Shorts audience as well. If we feel it’s right, we’ll also speed up or cut out parts of a clip to make things as snappy, ear-catching and eye-catching as possible.

Interviewer: Do you have any tips for those looking to get into the sound design industry?

Daniel Booth: Yes, absolutely. I think the best way to start is to download the free audio editing program Audacity and just play around with it. Try recording your own voice and experiment with manipulating the sound. You can also find thousands of free sound effects on Freesound to start creating soundscapes and building your own audio library.

It’s very important to keep practicing and creating your own smaller personal projects when starting off in the industry. You should never be afraid to fail, and when you do, you should just use it as an opportunity to figure out where you went wrong and to improve from that. There are tons of online courses and communities where you can learn and collaborate.

Through his work on Battle for Dream Island (BFDI), Mr. Booth proves that excellence in sound design and audio engineering is key to connecting with audiences around the world. We hope that our conversation with Mr. Booth will inspire a new generation of up-and-coming creatives to pursue sound design and elevate the sound industry to greater heights.

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