Magazine article Variety

Using Our Ears for Time Travel

Magazine article Variety

Using Our Ears for Time Travel

Article excerpt

Period sound recordings weren't going to help Gary Rydstrom craft the sonic backdrops for East Berlin and New York City circa 1960 for director Steven Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies."

"Old recordings are not high fidelity, so you can't use them," says Rydstrom, a seven-time Oscar winner who's nominated in the sound mixing category for the film (with Andy Nelson and Drew Kunin). Instead. Rydstrom sought out real period objects - from old cars, phones and sirens to a U-2 spy plane still in use by the military - and made fresh recordings.

Rydstrom wasn't alone in dealing with period sound issues. Only one of this year's sound nominees has a contemporary setting ("Sicario"). The others are either futuristic ("Mad Max: Fury Road," "The Martian," "Star Wars: The Force Awakens") or, like "Bridge of Spies," set in the past ("The Revenant").

Sound designer and supervising sound editor Dave Acord felt obligated to pay tribute the past with his futuristic sounds for "The Force Awakens," freshening up sound designer Ben Burtt's recordings from the original "Star Wars" films, as well as honoring the organic nature of their creation (example: the lightsaber is a microphone passed in front of an old TV combined with projector hum). …

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