The retro backstory behind Apple’s holiday TV ad

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Apple went back to basics to make their touching ad. Photo: Apple
Apple went back to basics to make their touching ad. Photo: Apple

Apple just posted a video on its YouTube channel to explain how they made the most recent TV ad for the holidays, “The Song.”

In the ad, a young woman uses GarageBand to sing a duet with her grandmother’s recording from the past. It’s a touching video that strikes a sentimental chord for many of us with grandparents who came of age back in the 1940s, as well as audio geeks who might remember the technology back then to create records: the audio booth.

Check out the video below for the full story from Apple, including the cool fact that they made an actual record using one of these old audio booths, The Voice-o-graph, for the young woman to sing along with.

Dana Williams is the young musician in the short film who makes the modern day duet with the help of her Mac and GarageBand, while Rhiannon Giddens is the woman playing the younger version of the grandmother. Giddens actually recorded the “original” song in an actual recording booth provided by label Third Man Records.

The old audio booth was a novelty at the time, as most people hadn’t heard their own voice coming back to them. Making an audio postcard, complete with mailing envelope, cost $0.35. That’s a heck of a deal.

Williams says she uses GarageBand all the time to make her own music, and Giddens says that her husband used the multi-track recording program to make her a remixed version of one of her own songs when they were courting. Awwww, so sweet!

This lovely behind-the-scenes video is pretty fascinating to watch, with the juxtaposition of the old and the new. Seeing into the process of making this very musical ad is a way to see how Apple sees its products: as tools to enhance our lives.

As Giddons says at the end, “It’s not just the tool; it’s the message.”

Source: Apple