I’ve spoken in the past about ‘Industrial Music’, which is the category of non-commercial music typically used as background scores for spot advertisements or the score for a short-run series.
Which brings me to the award winner for this year: Sara Graham’s Food Safari. The score is by Krsi Winter, of Mother City Records*. The show runs on the Cooking Channel in the US.
The series is shot, edited, and posted in South Africa; all of which brings a fresh perspective to productions of this sort.
You get the hint that you’re in for something different, even in the opening of the program. The score fully supports the sense of mystery and discovery of the exotic evoked by the opening ‘bumper’. I won’t spoil it for you, but as a ‘shooter’ (“videographer”), the charging-lion scene still gives me the shivers even after seeing it a number of times.
The music itself has just the right touch of fill-in for pauses in the presentation, with a sparkling lightness that is clean and refreshing; like that very first time you took a sip of 7-Up.
The mix is professional, with clean, clear audio capture in the field and an inspired, gently supporting score without it being overwhelming or having it feel like you have to turn the volume on the TV either up or down. It exhibits a good ear in post-production (‘post’) for carefully watching levels so one doesn’t ‘fight’ with the other, and without having to resort to awful-sounding ‘ducking’ electronics. (Ducking gear is a crutch for people who can’t mix sound: you feed the main track through one port, and the music track through the other. The electronics then takes what is always a very bad guess at how low the music should be to be ‘under’ the narration track.)
And the video post-production is wonderfully transparent at telling the story without getting in the way.
Do I have any grumbles? Yes, but not about the show itself: the stupid Cooking Channel inserts corner adverts that get in the way of the content of the program. You can sometimes plan for that baloney in production, but really, the network should have something more than just a robot inserting those adverts at periodic intervals. For instance, just five seconds one way or the other would have made a ton of difference.
All in all, a well-done production front to back. Not only for the content and storytelling, but for the entire package.
*Forgive me if I got the spelling wrong: The closing credits are tiny – even in full HD – and are a challenge for my older eyes.