Sound Design

Ben Affleck‘s Argo is a good movie, very well-made and well-acted but not really a stand-out picture on any level. It may not seem like it, but that’s a positive response. This is a story that should be told without extraordinary elements, like powerful performances and flashy scenes. Appropriately, it’s a film that doesn’t draw too much attention to itself and just does a job as expertly as it takes to carry us through successfully. While not exactly a piece of neorealism, there is a certain amount of realism required for a true account like this, and among the understated yet accomplished displays of craftsmanship with Argo (including the production design, costumes and especially the editing) is the sound recording and design work. In an interview illustrated with behind-the-scenes footage, the film’s sound designer and supervising sound editor, Erik Aadahl (an Oscar nominee this year for Transformers: Dark of the Moon) tells SoundWorks Collection about the strategy of recording crowds, cars and other relevant street noise directly from their on-location (or on-set) sources in order to achieve as realistic a sound design as possible. It’s a short but interesting video for those of you who’ve seen and were impressed with the technical quality of the movie. Watch it after the break.

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Berberian Sound Studio

The moment that the closing credits started to roll for Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio I looked to my right to tell my colleague that I don’t think I’d ever sat through a horror picture and felt absolutely nothing. Not until then, anyway. I think my heart pumped more in saying that sentence than it did at any moment watching the picture. I don’t know if that was the intention of the movie. I also don’t know if it was intended for the movie to be considered a horror movie. It’s a movie about the making of an Italian giallo film, but it more closely resembles a Lynchian psychological thriller. Only without the thrill part.

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Even though the release of Prometheus has been a polarizing one for movie fans, the overall consensus is that it is a brilliantly made movie from a technical perspective. Even the haters and mediocre reviews point out the striking visuals and classy use of 3D. What often gets lost in this discussion is the sound design and mix, which is as important to making a film as any visual elements. The good folks at Soundworks Collection have released a brief-yet-detailed look into the sound of Prometheus, presented by Dolby. Included in the video are Supervising Sound Editors Mark Stoeckinger and Victor Ennis, Sound Re-recording Mixers Ron Bartlett and Doug Hemphill, Sound Designers Ann Scibelli and Alan Rankin, and Sound Effects Researcher Charlie Campagna. Fans of sound design will enjoy hearing about the creative and often low-tech elements that inspired the high-tech sound mix. The sound team talks about how they preserved the sound from Ridley Scott‘s original Alien and found inspiration in everyday items like soda, pop rocks, and a blue-fronted Amazon parrot to create the sound landscape heard in the film. Check out the video after the break.

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Sound Works Collection has done a panel interview with the sound team of True Grit that is an interesting listen for a couple of reasons. They’ve gathered together longtime Coen collaborators Skip Lievsay, who is the Sound Re-recording Mixer and Supervising Sound Editor, Greg Orloff, who is also a Sound Re-recording Mixer, and Byron Wilson, who is a Dialogue/ADR Editor. Much of the interview centers on their work on True Grit, complete with clips of key scenes and their analysis of what they did and why to create the sound of the film. They go into not just the technical aspect of how they got the job done, but also explore the themes of the film and why they made the choices that they did in order to support the storytelling as a whole. It’s an interesting listen in that respect for audiophiles and prospective filmmakers.

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I just walked in the door fresh from seeing TRON: Legacy. And while I’m not ready to share everything I’ve learned about myself and the world of The Grid until my full review hits the site (sometime tomorrow, if all goes well), I would like to share with you something that focuses on perhaps one of the coolest parts of Joe Kosinski’s retread through the world of Kevin Flynn: the sound. You are no doubt familiar with the fact that the film’s been scored by Daft Punk. And while that leaves a mark of its own, there is also the sounds of all the things that exist within the digitized world of Tron. The folks at The SoundWorks Collection have put together an excellent 9-minute featurette showing you how Sound Re-Recording Mixer Gary Rizzo, Supervising Sound Editor Gwen Yates Whittle, and Sound Designer Steve Boeddeker put it all together to make for an audible experience that is unlike you’ve ever heard before. One that matches up with some of Tron‘s stunning visuals.

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Wall-E Sound Designer Ben Burtt

While it is easy to get caught up in the beautiful visuals of a movie like Wall-E, it is also important to recognize the importance of the sound design — it is what truly gives the character life. And for that, director Andrew Stanton turned to the best possible man for the job… Ben Burtt.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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