BRIEF + CONTEXT
This is one of the projects I've worked on for SUGi, an environmental organisation that plants pockets of biodiverse forests in mostly urban settings, all around the world.
This project is an instagram carousel post which consists of a series of 5 videos that gradually create the sounds of a biodiverse forest, filled with insects buzzing around, birds flying through, animals taking shelter in it and people enjoying the surroundings.
The purpose of this project is to bring more awareness on how vital a biodiverse forest is, not only for the environment, but also for our mental health and general well-being.
What makes a forest biodiverse is the various layers of trees and shrubs that co-exist together. One single tree cannot create an entire ecosystem, but a tree alongside a layer of shrubs, one of sub-trees and one of taller trees will do the trick. Every one of these layers attracts biodiversity and a range of native insects, birds, animals and various wild species.
RESEARCH + INITIAL STAGES
The first point of action was to decide what country/region the forest should be from. As SUGi plants forests globally they have an accurate species selection and illustration from each country. Visually, the Brazilian palette and species selection was the perfect one to use, as each forest layer can be seen clearly.
After this initial step has been established, the research focused on finding the specific noises for a native Brazilian forest. This meant analysing the trees and wildlife species depicted in the illustration and discover their sounds, movements and how they all blend together. After that, I started the search for these royalty-free sounds. The total came down to 15 audio excerpts that were awaiting to be mixed.
AUDIO MIXING + ANIMATIONS
The first video of the series is one single tree.
Audio: very simple and minimal, pretty quiet and subtle - just the sound of the wind ruffling through the tree's leaves. There isn't any other sound in order to emphasis the lack of biodiversity and sparseness.
Visual + animation: the tallest tree from the Brazilian palette and a subtle animation of it swaying in the wind.
The second part of the series is adding the shrubs layer on both the audio and visual formats.
Audio: part consisted in adding, on top of the wind sounds, a few bees and insects buzzing around and the slight sound of cicadas.
Visual + animation: I added a seamlessly loopable movement of all the extra elements (insects, bees, shrubs) that slightly mimic a breathing pattern.
The third video adds the sub-tree layer, consisting of small trees, which implicitly attracts more insects and animals to the forest.
Audio: has a few extra layers: the sound of the 2 species of native brazilian monkeys, the rustling of leaves & shrubs to mimic animals passing through as well as the subtle call of a bird. On top of this, the previous noises of the wind and insects become quieter and are overshadowed by these stronger noises.
Visual + animation: the same style of animation is added to the new elements, the monkeys slowly swinging from the trees and the trees moving in the wind, all in a seamless looping movement.
The fourth video adds a layer of tall trees accompanied by more birds, more animals and insects.
Audio: added extra layers of a few birds calls and the constant hum of nature. It sounds a bit more hectic and each sound is harder to distinguish. As previously, the extra layers are a bit louder and more in the foreground, while the others are fading in the background.
Visual + animation: using the same process of adding the various new layers and creating a slight movement looping animation. The static birds illustrations show a lot of movement, so I made the decision to not animate them too much and it maintain the whole animation in the same subtle, breathing pattern.
The fifth and final video of the project has the extra layers of people taking in the surroundings and taking care of the forest, children interacting with the wildlife and just generally enjoying being in nature.
Audio: it becomes even more hectic and loud, with the extra layer of various sounds of children playing, a man whistling, indistinct chatter in the background and footsteps of people walking through the forest.
Visual + animation: the layer of people has been added but without any animation so the focus of the audience to be on the movement of the nature and wildlife.
The final element is the alpha graphic layer - a simple, clean and straightforward way to let the audience know what they're about to watch, encouraging them to turn up their volume and start swiping.
The series was uploaded to Instagram here. It gathered a higher engagement rate and bigger reach than other posts.