5 Simple Ways to Add More Punch to Your Promo’s

Imaging producers are constantly searching for new exciting ways to help their promo’s stand out on air.  The script and the voice talent are two of the most important factors that go into a good promo and generally they are out of the producers control.  So we need to have to ability to make the best of what we are presented with whether it be good or bad.  And that doesn’t mean producing the loudest promo possible with as much compression, sound effects and voice effects that can be squeezed into 30 seconds.  Although they are important factors I believe a bit of creativity goes a lot further to helping a promo stand out.

Here are my top 5 simple ways to add more punch to your promo’s:

1) Silence is golden

My favourite production effect is no effect at all.  With the wash of sound on radio and every commercial competing to louder than the one before it nothing helps a an important phrase stand out better than cutting the music bed and letting the voice sit out on it’s own.  It can be used to build anticipation, humour or impact.  Below are a few ways I’ve used a sudden cut in the music bed to enhance my promo’s:

2) Reverse Delay

There are many great voice effects that I like using but I think a reverse delay works really well on a station ID or the opening word of a promo.  There are many ways to do it but the way I do it is:

  1. create a copy of the audio below the voice track so that the original file and the copied file are in sync
  2. cut off everything after the opening syllable on the copied audio file.
  3. Using your favourite delay plugin set a short delay time and highish feedback and rather than clicking ‘render’ click ‘reverse’.
  4. You may need to play with the delay settings a bit to get your desired sound.
  5. adjust the volume and length of the effected audio file until you are happy with how it sits in the mix.
  6. If you want to get really creative you match the delay to the tempo of the music bed.

Below is an example of how reverse delay can be used on a station ID

3) Use sound effect to help smooth out an edit

Often as a producer you don’t have much say it the music used in each promo.  A script may ask for five songs that you know won’t blend well together and now matter how hard you try you can’t get your edits to flow.  If I run into this problem one of my go to solutions is hide a dodgy sounding edit with a simple sound effect.  Often an impact or whoosh sound effect is all that’s needed to take the focus away from the section you can’t get right.

4) Panning

Whether you are panning the voice, sound effects or music, panning can be a great creative tool.  My favourite use of voice over panning to add more presence is:

  1. Make a copy of the audio you want to effect on the track below.
  2. Move the copied audio slightly out of sync.
  3. Pan the original left and the copied audio right.

You can also add a bit of reverb and delay to make it sound even bigger.

5) Automate EQ

When make demonstrator promos one of my favourite ways of adding a bit of life to the mix is to automate the EQ of the music tracks.  It really works well when editing two songs together and fading music out at the end of the mix.

Below is an example of how automated EQ can add life to a mix.  There are also great examples of panning and sound effects:

Of course these are all relatively simple techniques but they can form the building blocks of a more complicated mix.  Don’t feel that you have to showcase every trick you know in every promo you make, let the script drive the way you produce.  There’s no point producing a masterpiece if the whole message of the promo gets completely lost.

 If you have any techniques you like to use please share them in the comments section below.

Josh Newth Producer & Voice Over Artist at Voice Media

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