Nike Vapormax – Marrying Sound Design & Music

In the past few months, we conducted a series of experiments to try to find a way to marry sound design & music together in unique ways. We came across this futuristic Nike Vapormax footage on Vimeo from Motion Graphics Designer Michael S. and decided to make a new music & sound design concept.

Before we bring out our instruments, we usually start by analyzing the video first. The most important thing is to find a tempo that fits the video perfectly. In this case, the shoe is slowly revealed until you see the stitching happening. From this point, the visuals increase in intensity, and we decided this was a good point to create a climax in the music. Having a tempo of 88 BPM ensures this point would be perfectly in sync with the music.

Nike Vapormax Stitching

Further analysis of the visuals resulted in creating a transformation from the raw material into a completed shoe that seemed to come right out of the future. So we went back to work and used organic sounds like kalimba and acoustic guitar strings played with spoons to emulate the organic starting point of the video. All of these sounds are then morphed into electronic sounds by the use of modular synthesis. This allows us to transform the original audio recordings into stretched and distorted sonic textures.

After that, we recorded some synthesizer parts while endlessly tweaking knobs to create sounds we’d never heard before. Once we’ve recorded a bunch of different takes, it was all about finding the right parts that fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. The climax part ended up sounding like a drum & bass track, even though we never intended to make a drum & bass track in the first place. This was just a result of the process. That’s the fun part about making music for video, you never know what you’re ending up with!