William Lawson's - #NoRules Cup

I was delighted to be asked back by Nonsense to cover live sound design for the second instalment of the #NoRules campaign for William Lawson's whisky. The previous event (recreating Chelsea's 6-0 win over Arsenal) was a lot of fun to work on, and the prospect of covering some of the World Cup games was definitely exciting!

The idea for #NoRules is simple: set up a fake football pitch in a warehouse in East London and watch a football game. Film a spoof version of the game using actors as players, referees and linesmen. Create live sound effects, commentary and slow-motion replays of the action and upload match highlights to Youtube a few minutes after incidents have happened in the real game. 

Maybe not so simple. 

As with the previous #NoRules event, I enlisted the help of friend and frequent collaborator Oli Slack to work on the sound design with me. Fortunately for us, we were able to reuse a lot of the sounds that we'd prepared for the Arsenal V Chelsea game a few months before. 

Oli took control of the crowd and atmospheric sounds (oohs, ahhs, boos, cheers, chants etc), whilst I covered sounds made by the players (kicks, headers, tackles, grunts, netting and so on). We sourced a handful of Brazilian samba recordings and extra samples to inject a bit of World Cup flavour and bring the sound up to date.

With these sounds split across two laptops running Ableton Live, we were able to watch the actors on our video-feed, and respond to their performance by triggering sounds using a handful of MIDI devices (Akai MPD's and a Novation Launchpad for anyone interested). 

Whilst this was happening in the main room, a feisty young Scotsman named Cameron Jack was locked away in a makeshift recording booth, commentating on the game and generally shouting abuse at the players (below). Massive thanks to Oli-Barton Wood and Elliot Seeds who both stepped in at the last minute to record the commentary. 

Back in the main room, audio from our laptops and Cameron's commentary were fed into the guys at 3xScreen Media, who were mixing the audio and visual elements together and controlling the live-action replays. 

On the day, the final turned out to be be a pretty dull game, lacking in both goals and controversial moments. Whereas the Arsenal V Chelsea game was full of drama (six goals, a penalty and a wrongful sending off) Germany's 1-0 win over Argentina didn't have much to shout about. 

Overall I think it came out pretty well. It was a really fun project to work on, and hopefully the final outcome is as funny to other people as it was to everyone on set!

Here's to the next one!