Aura of Audio

By James, Daron | Variety, November 30, 2017 | Go to article overview

Aura of Audio


James, Daron, Variety


TRADITIONALLY, FILMS DENSE with sound effects, music and dialogue become front-runners in the race for sound editing and sound mixing and this year is no exception. Here's a look at eight of this year's contenders. Others, such "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," "Detroit," "The Shape of Water" and "Wonderstruck" could also make the cut.

"We designed and mixed in Dolby Atmos for an immersive experience," says "Beauty and the Beast" supervising sound editor Warren Shaw. Song and sound effects played a large role in detailing the visual canvas. Matching reverb, pitch and ambiance was critical for fatherand-son re-recording mixers Michael and Christian Minkler in creating a seamless transition from dialogue to lyrics. For its Beast (Dan Stevens), a sense of humanity was instilled even at his scariest.

"Blade Runner 2049" director Denis Villeneuve didn't want a polished science-fiction soundscape, but instead stressed the importance of nature and the elements to draw in the audience.

"We recorded organic and acoustic sources in the real world and then re-contextualized them to serve the story," says supervising sound editor Mark Mangini.

Re-recording mixers Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett drove a focused and simplistic track that stripped sounds to their essence. "The desert walk is a perfect example of this," says sound designer Theo Green. "It's a study of silence and we sell it by layering melodic bell sounds that feel somewhat lonely, distant and spiritual against this beautiful orange backdrop."

In the "Darkest Hour," room ambience was subtlety changed acoustically to match the storyline. "We talked about Churchill's arc as he struggles with this big decision and how it weighs on him," says supervising sound editor, re-recording mixer Craig Berkey. "When there's a tonal shift in scenes, like that in the war cabinet room, we adapted the sound to give it a feeling that something has changed or is different in the room."

To highlight the heroic events of Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk," being impactful and memorable was crucial. "The sound effects and music were thought of as one and emphasized in ways to put you in the characters' shoes," says supervising sound editor Richard King. …

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