Monday, January 30, 2023

For the Academy’s second year of merged sound categories, they decided to follow the nomination process used by the Visual Effects and Makeup categories to select nominees. Through this “bake-off” process, the sound branch selects ten shortlisted finalists and then allows all ten films to screen 8-minute segments from their films for the sound branch voters, who then vote for the five Nominees based on those reels and presentations. Because those reels only get to showcase one single 8-minute scene from each of those films, we wanted to ask the sound teams more broadly about the work they did in each of their movies. 

Here is what representatives from each of the ten shortlisted sound contenders had to say about the sound for each of their films.

BELFAST

Sound Team: Simon Chase, James Mather, Denise Yarde & Niv Adiri 

Simon Chase: “Kenneth Branagh didn’t want us to approach the sound in “Belfast” the usual way you would approach the soundtrack to a film like this. It seems like a quiet, kind of family story, but Ken was determined to tell so much of the story using sound. Ken wanted the film to not necessarily sound ‘real,’ but wanted it to be more about recreating the subjective idea of what is ‘real’ for a 50-year old memory of how the events felt when they were happening to a 10-year-old boy. So a lot of the sound effects are just heightened throughout. So, for example, when we go to the cinema, Ken encouraged us to enhance the soundtracks for the films on screen. For Buddy, seeing a movie is the biggest experience imaginable, so we added all kinds of new dinosaur sounds and lava explosion noises for “One Million Years B.C.” 

On the Opening Riot Scene…

Ken would talk about how that street he was growing up on was so idyllic. So we kind of open the film, we open with all those sounds of happy children at play, everyone saying hello to each other. It’s almost over-the-top how kind of sickly sweet it is. And then Ken talks about the day the riot happened; he heard something and couldn’t make out what it was. So capturing that moment of confusion for Buddy was really key to him when he didn’t understand what was happening. There’s a sound that just doesn’t make sense to Buddy, given that he knows the street so well, and it gradually dawns on us as an audience what’s happening. 

The way the scene is shot, you kind of see that some people have come into the street, but you don’t pick up exactly what’s going on. Ken wanted the sound of those rioters arriving to just kind of sound “not quite right. A bit of ‘hm, what’s going on here?'” And then we go in on buddy and see his eyes widening, and we’re hearing his breath along with hearing the call-outs and shouts of one or two people again. We had three sessions recording extra voices for this film, and Ken came to each of them and talked with the voice artists about what they could bring and whether they should be scared or angry. The shouting gets closer and closer to Buddy, and all we hear is his breath. And then it’s all silent. And we see that rioter throw that firebomb. You might not even catch it because there’s no sound to go with it, but when it lands, BOOM, you’re away. And all hell breaks loose at once. 

Everlasting Love…

One of the characters says, “let’s have a singalong at the jukebox,” but that’s not how buddy saw it. For him, it was this particular moment where his parents reconnect and fall back in love, so we’re all kind of watching it as a wide-eyed Buddy would’ve seen it. Of course, you’ve got this excellent track, “Everlasting Love,” that everyone knows. That’s the center, but Richard Armstrong, our music editor, added a load of extra instrumentation to it, and of course, we added the sound of the club and everyone dancing. Hence, it becomes this hyper-real sensory moment for Buddy.

And Jamie Dornan himself was recorded singing. We sent him a microphone to record some other lines of dialogue we needed because it was COVID, and you couldn’t get into a studio. We thought that we should have him record his singing at the last minute. He hadn’t really prepared for it at all, so we were like, “this is so unprofessional, but can we just play the song’s intro for you from my iPhone, and then you go acapella, and hopefully it’ll turn outright. He was like, “I’ll give it a go,” and then literally in his first take, this gorgeous voice comes out, and it’s sickenly perfect. We just plunk the phone down once he’s done, and we’re just like, “yep, perfect, we don’t need another take.”

DUNE

Sound Team: Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill & Ron Bartlett

Mark Mangini: “The sound of “Dune” began with a deceptively simple mandate from Denis Villeneuve: the film should sound organic, believable, and grounded in a reality we recognize. Avoid tropes, eschew “fantastical” sound as is common in Science-Fiction, and make it sound familiar. We dubbed our design aesthetic ‘FDR’ for Fake Documentary Realism. This was the filter through which we judged all sound to determine if it fits within the universe Denis heard for the film. Denis intuitively understands the fickle nature of creativity and the need to try something or break something to find what works. He really encourages experimentation. Failure was always a creative option. Denis asked us to make science fiction relatable, to create sounds no one has ever heard before, sound like they had been heard before.

Part of the success of our soundtrack lay in the ability to design sound early and in collaboration with VFX, handing off developments and iterations of sounds and images to each other, creating symbiotic improvements that created a sound/image unity that wouldn’t be achieved in traditional paradigms; where sound waits to respond to the image after its built. Where sight and sound are working as one, they create a unity of purpose, a naturalness of mission and design that feels…inevitable. Joe Walker is a very progressive editor. Perhaps, having worked early in his career as a sound editor, he understands intuitively how sound can be a valuable partner in his cuts and timings, using sound to tell a story that, at times, can be more efficient than words or music. 

By the time we get to the final mix, the sounds Theo and I have designed are, as Denis puts it, ‘old friends.’ He has lived with them for months and profoundly understands their history, relevance, and narrative value. They are far from the strangers most directors encounter upon arrival to their final mix, ones that confound efficiency when success relies on ALL the elements working as harmoniously as possible. This approach allows the director to do what they do best: make narrative decisions about sound and its effect on pacing and storytelling. 

There was a designed intentionality to the sounds of the Thumper and the Worm vocals, a symbiotic relationship that begged the question: “Which came first, the Thumper or the Worm call it resembles?”. This is the kind of sonic storytelling that transcended the sounds themselves and made them feel like part of a logical and ordered sonic universe. 

The success of the “voice” lay in a narrative decision we made: to invoke the help and collective power of one’s ancestors. We knew that using a “filter” or electronic gimmick was not only a science fiction trope to be avoided; we wanted the “Voice” to have deeper roots in Bene Gesserit’s power and lore. We knew that simply “processing” Paul’s voice could never achieve that. We wanted the solution to be performance-based.”

LAST NIGHT IN SOHO

Sound Team: Julian Slater, Dan Morgan, Colin Nicolson & Tim Cavagin

Julian Slater: “We as a team have consciously tried to steer away from what was known as the ‘Edgar Wright’ style. The days of “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead” with all the exaggerated sounds, of which we’re all proud, now have become cliched and parodied. Each time we work with Edgar, we set out to do something new. Those exaggerated sounds were something new then, and now we all wanted to do something new again here. 

With “Last Night In Soho,” we did something I never thought we’d do with an Edgar Wright movie, which is that the first 24 minutes are essentially mono with no surround information at all, so when you go into period Soho for the first time, we kind of flip it and bloom everything out into the surrounds. Because we’ve been very front-forward facing, with no surround information, introducing all this surround information suddenly makes everything feel much more exaggerated. 

There are fantastical sounds, like Soho seems like this magical place full of hope, and Sandie’s career seems like it is taking off in this kind of amazing fairytale story. There’s a lot of sound design in these happy moments, but it’s all very alive and dreamy and covert, so you’re wondering if it even really happened or not. Like when Sandie goes into the Cafe de Paris, the applause that you hear is filtered and reversed in a way that’s like, “huh, something sounds different, but I can’t quite place what it is.” But overall, we’re very restrained early on in the movie, and then when things start turning darker, that’s when we start to exaggerate sounds and take everyday sounds and kind of make them a bit more demented. 

Edgar was always pretty clear on how Soho in itself is a very split-personality place. You’ve got the place you work in from 9 to 7 that’s quite respectable, and then it turns into this great drinking location that, after 11 or midnight, becomes very kind of seedy and dodgy and dirty and weird. I think he very much wanted to play with those two kinds of every day Soho to kind of reflect on what was happening in Ellie’s journey.

My team risked life and limb just trying to record stuff in the small hours of the night in Soho. If I were doing this without recording stuff, you know I’d type in Soho, and you’d get just stuff that doesn’t sound weird and wonderful. But by going out and recording sounds, you get these happy accidents, the weird stuff. Like at the beginning of the movie, over the logo, there’s this odd kind of echoey reverb sound of kids. And that’s because, in the middle of Soho, there’s a school where if you walk past it during the day, you hear kids playing, and it’s literally across the street from the sex shops. 

It was all about that contrast, so for example, when we go upstairs into Ellie’s room for the first time before she goes into Soho, there’s a drunken couple outside, and it’s quite innocent fun drunkenness. And yet later on, when we go into Soho, when things are darker, there’s another couple there again, and we made it sound like the same couple, but it’s a lot darker, and they’re arguing, and they sound a lot more serious, seedier. So the goal was to take everyday sounds and kind of twist those to be darker. Police sirens get de-tuned, so they start sounding weirder. 

And there’s, of course, what we do with the voices, which is as we go through the show, Ellie starts thinking of things she’s experienced, so an awful lot is happening with tracking dialogue from previous scenes and weaving those into the surrounding information and score. We used a lot of the old school plugins on that, used delays and echoes that were done in the movies in the 60s because we wanted it to sound like “Revolution Number 9” but in a film. 

We wanted the house in Soho to have its own personality. We set it up early on. There’s a moment when Ellie’s sitting on the bed alone at night, just before the record starts to play on its own, where the character that we’ve given the house is being amplified with creaks and the sound of water in the pipes. Edgar directed me to Polanski’s “Repulsion” for that. What we did there at the back-end of the movie was take all those sounds we’d put there for the house’s personality and then just amp them up to the max, so the house feels like it has its own personality, and you don’t just feel like it’s Mrs. Collins coming after her, but the house itself coming after her.”

​THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS

Sound Team: Barry O’Sullivan, Dane A. Davis, Stephanie Flack, Matthias Lempert & Lars Ginzel

Production Sound…

Barry O’Sullivan: “Doing as much practically in-camera as we did here was a real challenge, particularly given the way Lana shoots, you know, with few rehearsals, very long takes. We’re sort of dealing with stuff on the fly all the time. Lana tends to get most of her coverage in one take, which might be 44 minutes long, and a lot of stuff changes in those takes, so there’s a lot of us running in and out in between resets. It’s certainly a different process from your more traditional process of filmmaking where you do a take, stop, reset, do another take and move onto another setup for more coverage.” 

Sound Effects…

Dane Davis: “My first conversation with Lana was about what’s changed in this universe over 60 years. And she said some things will not have changed, like the sentinels worked perfectly back in the original timeline, so the machines wouldn’t have bothered changing them very much. Although the industrial manufacturing process probably changed a lot. 

So I went back to a lot of the original recordings from the older films, and I had to create everything in a different way because all my tools are gone from 1997 and 1998, so I had to sort of rebuild my creative working environment in terms of the samplers and media sequencing for “The Matrix Resurrections.”

Also, things like the fight scenes, which were sort of iconic, I knew had to sound closely related. They couldn’t sound like a whole new movie, but they also had to sound cooler this time around. And luckily, I had the original recordings of all the whooshes. I spent many hours recording all the things whooshing by the mics and built this massive library of all the whooshes because all the plugins I have now are a thousand times better than what I had in 98. They’re truer, more genuine sounding. So I went to those recordings and sometimes found different takes, whooshes that I never even had time to play with and master back then. I used a lot of those takes and created a whole new body of whooshes that sounded related but were much stronger. 

And same with the hits. I especially went back to the recordings we did for “The Matrix Reloaded” because we did like five sessions, with a couple of jujitsu pros that just beat the absolute crap out of each other, surrounded by all these microphones right up against their chests. Those guys really hurt themselves…and that’s what they did for a living; they just hit each other. They said this was the hardest gig they’d ever done because I asked them to hit themselves in the exact same spot more than five hundred times while we would adjust the mics and tweak things…because we were also experimenting with different ways of recording. 

But I took all of that stuff and used all these new tools, which developed a really rich vocabulary. On the other hand, the guns, especially the video game aspect, needed to sound overly real for various reasons. We did a two-day recording session using accurate new 32-bit recording technology that gives us way more control over the timbre, especially over the distortion of overload characteristics.

There’s also a whole new generation of creatures here. Like Kujaku is an entirely new species, so there can’t be any sounds that in any way evoked the technology we saw in the first film. Some of the other creatures, Lana said, had evolved from the “doc bot” that rescues Neo from his pod in the first movie. So for those, I had to go to all those original materials and recordings again and find out how to make Cybebe very sweet since it’s going to have that very intimate moment with Neo on the ship. But those sounds had to be the same sounds structurally that the doc bot had in the first movie when it came in and practically popped his head off.” 

New Bullet Time…

Stephanie Flack: “Tiffany’s workshop was an extremely challenging scene. It was shot over five days in this warehouse outside of Berlin with a multitude of different cameras and frame rates. The difference between bullet time in the old films and bullet time in this film is that you have dialogue spoken through bullet time. So you have to create this imperceptibly logical thread where you create the sounds, and then Mathias and Lars mix the music in such a way that it’s not overloaded in terms of too many sounds. It’s very streamlined and operatic in quite an invisible way. You’ve got all different visual planes, and with the different visual planes, you’ve got different sonic planes with information, the bullet time, the frame rate, and the dialogue. So we’re sculpting all of that to make it this really beautiful undulation of sound. There are different frame rates with the dialogue, so syncing the dialogue up is always difficult because you can’t make it sound too overprocessed. When slowing down Neo’s voice, the first place it’s going to go is monster overload, so we just had to go through a myriad of vocals I had from him, trying to find the right texture to start with.” 

Dane Davis: “Rewinding time in that scene was trickiest for me. From an effects design point of view, it was very difficult to support what you see on screen with the angle grinder and the arc welder. We needed a sound that could get super expanded in time and still not get in the way of the music and the dialogue. So we have to kind of set up those sounds and have them ramp out of the way and then come back to that sort of real-time moment when you see Neo enter the door. So I had to play with a lot of sounds just to get the sound of the sparking because the difficulty of slowing down effects is that things just get ugly and trashy sounding very quickly.” 

NO TIME TO DIE

Sound Team: Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney & Paul Massey

Oliver Tarney: “The most challenging part of our sound design on “No Time To Die” was the range of material we had to come up with. As with most Bond films, there are a lot of new gadgets and vehicles, and the trick was to keep the sonic world in keeping with Cary’s vision, be new and exciting, and also satisfy the James Bond fans’ expectations.  

Along with action and jeopardy, there is an emotional aspect to many of the big set pieces that the sound design is instrumental in depicting. The opening scene in Norway is unusual for a Bond film in that it sets up the backstory of Madeleine and Safin, rather than featuring Bond. We approached this section more like a horror film, or a thriller, using sound to augment the ominous and disconcerting tone.  

After the high-octane vehicle chase in Norway, the’ misty woods’ sequence shows Bond having to protect his new family. The sound here is designed to be unsettling, reflecting how Bond now has the unfamiliar responsibility of protecting his child.  

The DB5 sequence in Matera was spectacular and wonderful to work on. We had to add to the excitement, but also to heighten what the characters were going through at the end of that sequence – Bond and Madeleine cocooned in the Aston Martin, trying to process the supposed betrayal whilst a volley of bullets whizz in, thumping and cracking at the metal and glass of the car. It’s an incredibly tense scene. The sound of falling shards of glass signals that the protection of the car is starting to give way, and Bond relents – we then get a fantastic, fresh twist on a classic Bond moment to resolve the sequence.”

THE POWER OF THE DOG

Sound Team: Robert Mackenzie, Richard Flynn, Leah Katz, Tara Webb & Dave Whitehead

Robert Mackenzie: “The challenge for the sound team on “The Power Of The Dog” was to not rely on conventional tropes; but rather to explore new ways to develop tension and keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Focusing on the contrast between close intimate sounds and the wide expanse of the Montana landscape was the goal.

The film opens with Phil striding over his land and into his house. We highlight the sound of his boots as a metaphor for his strength and masculinity. This is reflected by the heavyweight of the boot and the ever-present sound of the jangling spurs. Phil’s boots represent his identity as a ranching man, but they also become a psychological device used to torment and warn others that he is near.

Other examples, like the closeup rope braiding, a knife through rawhide, and Peter’s denim jeans, really allowed us to create an individuality to the characters that the audience could then relate and respond to. Focusing on these sounds while having a minimalist background was purposely done to heighten the unsettling tension that is building throughout the film. We also create tension through perceived silences. Jane wants the audience to develop their own feelings for the scene without feeling like they are being emotionally manipulated. We strived to create signature sounds that were representative of the characters, the environments they are in, and the emotions they are feeling. We are all enormously proud of the result.”

A QUIET PLACE PART II

Sound Team: Ethan Van Der Ryn, Erik Aadahl, Michael Barosky & Brandon Proctor

Erik Aadahl: “Cinema has the unique ability to place an audience into a vivid and wholly new experience. Sound is half our cinematic sense perception and can put the viewer and listener directly into the shoes of any character. This was perhaps our biggest challenge and goal with “A Quiet Place Part II” – to use sound, and the absence of it, to create the most interactive, dramatic, and visceral experience that our director was asking of us.

The words director John Krasinski gave us were, “Experiment! Let’s see how far we can go.” Sound is baked into the DNA of “A Quiet Place Part II,” from script to finished film. Our first challenge was to understand the “sonic logic” of the storytelling. What sound is too loud and will invite danger? What sounds are “safe,” and in what context or environment? 

The Abbott family has gone to extraordinary lengths to understand sound to survive, and in every moment of the film, we had to calibrate our sound to this logic. Over many months, the sound team quizzed ourselves with John over this logic, constantly recalibrating. Some experimentation led us to a tool we used throughout: sonic points of view. John Krasinski later came to call them “sonic envelopes.” One set was for the character Regan, who is deaf and uses a cochlear implant.

When the implant is on, we hear Regan’s muted body sounds, and when off, pure silence. For us, it seemed to create an emotional connection, an odd intimacy that felt powerful. We also made envelopes for characters listening through radio headphones and the invading creatures’ perception of sound through this process. We requested several shots to be extended to allow more time for these envelope transitions. Fortunately, John and our producers agreed that the added visual effects costs were well worth it for the sound benefit. From the first day of sound post to the last week of final mixing with John, we adjusted where and how we used these “envelopes,” sometimes starting on a closeup or ending on a touch.

Another realm of experimentation was creating the creatures. As they are essentially blind and rely on sound to hunt, we modeled our sound design on similar animal kingdom analogs like bats using echolocation. Creating the sound palette of creature behavior was one of the most time-consuming tasks. We decided to record quite a bit with scientific microphones to capture audio outside of the human range of hearing, which slowed down, became the creatures’ communication vocalizations. We expanded the palette and patterns of “searching sounds,” the clicking vocals used for echolocation, and made them with slowed electric stun guns.

Sound lets the audience see, not just hear, in a new way. It was daunting creating sound for a film in which sound itself is a crucial character. But the gratification of seeing an audience silence their popcorn eating, and hold their collective breath in a movie theater, was a thrill like no other.”

​SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME

Sound Team: Willie Burton, Kevin O’Connell, Tony Lambert, Steven Ticknor & Vanessa Lapato

Doctor Strange…

Kevin O’Connell: “We did a few things with the Doctor Strange elements that hadn’t been done in the first “Doctor Strange” film. When we go into the mirror world, we thought it would be cool to put some treatment on Peter and Strange’s voices to make them sound a little different. I put this kind of delay around the room and out of all the speakers. 

The other Doctor Strange thing is for when Peter gets Astral projected out of his body, our picture editor, Jeff Ford, comes to me and says, “Hey, I don’t know if you ever saw this movie but many, many years ago in this film called “Poltergeist,” Carol Anne, when she was speaking out of the T.V., you heard her voice echo before you heard what she was saying.” And I’m like, “Jeff, not only am I familiar with it, but I was there when we recorded it because I mixed “Poltergeist.” 

Back then, we had to go through this whole process where we had to run our recorder backward, take the Eraserhead off it, hit record, then put echo on it, then take that same track and play it forward and make the echo come first and then the track, and it was brilliant. So that’s what we did in “Poltergeist,” and that’s the exact same treatment we did in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” except now we can do it electronically, we don’t have to do it manually or analog anymore.” 

Doctor Strange’s cape also has a life of its own. It couldn’t just be somebody whipping a cloth past a microphone. All those scenes were very detailed. There’s a little Easter Egg where the cape saves Ned, and he says, “Thank you, Mr. Cape,” and he turns around, and all of a sudden, you hear the cape enthusiastically waving back at him. 

Villains…

Our director Jon Watts challenged us to say, “we’re using these legacy characters, but they don’t have to sound like these legacy characters. Just because they sounded a certain way in the earlier films, honor that, but take it to another level.” So, for example, Goblin’s Glider is definitely beefed up more than it was in the original Rami film. Doc Ock, his tentacles in “Spider-Man 2” were actually mechanical things stuck to his back. In our movie, they’re CGI. So they move differently, they articulate differently, also they have all this nanotech on them, so we recreated all that stuff from the Raimi movie but then kind of took it up a notch as well. 

In the Marc Webb film, they had done a lot of pitch shifting to Jamie Foxx’s Electro voice, and we’d done a little on Sandman in the Raimi films. But when we presented versions of those to Jon Watts and Jeff Ford, they felt we were losing the emotion of the character from the actor who’s playing that part. So if Jamie Foxx is saying, “Uh uh that’s not gonna work for me anymore,” and all the sudden you hear, “Thaaaaat’s nooooot goooona wooooooork foooooor meeeee,” it just doesn’t work. The emotion from the voice is gone because it’s just a sound effect thing, so we basically took 90% of the treatment off of those characters’ voices and then just used spatial placement in the room to try and give them size and volume. So when Jamie Foxx speaks in the full Electro mode, instead of coming out of the center speaker, he’s coming out of about sixteen speakers at once.

Spider-Man…

For the scenes where Peter was speaking while swinging, whatever apparatus they were using on set to make it seem like he was really swinging was really noisy. And also, Tom was wearing a mask. So whenever he’s wearing a mask in a scene while talking, that dialogue is very muffled. So for those scenes, we just looped Top and Zendaya, and then I just used different reverbs depending if they were near, far, or around a building to try and give the dialogue the feeling that it was echoing off a building or something like that. 

For Peter’s Spidey Sense, I think we spent a whole day just working on that Spidey Sense moment back in the first film. And this film was no different. Because the Spidey sense moment has to be unique cool. It has to be something we haven’t heard before. We auditioned a bunch of stuff for our picture editors to try and develop a plan for how it should sound. At one point, we had the voices sounding like they were underwater, and things were too loud and too weird. It was almost like everyone in the room would have to hear those sounds, so we decided to settle on something more subtle. You know, something that only Peter would be sensing, not something that was being hammered over the head. 

M.J.’s fall…

M.J.’s fall from the statue was initially scored all the way down with big music and a big choir singing low. It worked nicely; it was really emotional. But it wasn’t…cool. Then at the last moment, the last day we mixed in fact, the suggestion was to take out the music and just do it with sound effects and sound design, and so now there’s another day of scrambling and trying to make that scene as cool as humanly possible with no music.”

TICK, TICK…BOOM!

Sound Team: Paul Hsu & Tod A. Maitland

Tod A. Maitland: “Modern musicals aren’t recorded the way they used to be. 

Today, it’s all about reality. “Tick, Tick…BOOM!” was a very intimate reality. From our first meeting with Lin- Manuel Miranda, he wanted this film to feel like we were really in Johnathan’s life, in Jonathan’s head, on the streets, in the theaters, in NYC in 1990. 

Paul Hsu used the phrase “hyper-reality” in one of our recent interviews, which sums up our goal very well. Musicals live in a real / non-real world. Some songs are recorded live on set, some are playback, and many are a mix of both. To be able to weave between live singing, dialogue and playback while maintaining an in sync ambiance, where the audience never knows the difference – that’s a success. But it’s so much easier said than done.”

WEST SIDE STORY

Sound Team: Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson, Tod Maitland & Shawn Murphy

Andy Nelson: “As a team, our one common goal was to create a vibrant, dynamic soundtrack to this timeless story. It took careful planning with a skillful re-creation of the time period sonically and brilliant orchestrations, with both live and pre-recorded vocals. The screenplay allowed for dialog scenes to transition to songs as story, and we were able to continue the natural-sounding world under the songs seamlessly!”

Shawn Murphy: “The challenge in orchestra recording was to reveal details in the music normally not heard while presenting a cohesive whole to fill the screen and theater; keeping faithful to the original composition and traditional presentation with a state-of-the-art recording.

We wanted Vocal recording to match well with production as well as modern studio recording. In so doing, we chose to track with three microphones on all individual vocals: a shotgun microphone to match production, a lavalier to match body-worn microphones, and a studio microphone for eventual commercial music-only releases. This provided the editors and re-recording team material to match exactly and transition from production to songs and back. Because of disruptions from the pandemic, we are recording part of the score and songs with an entirely different orchestra. The setup and venue posed enormous challenges in matching the original New York tracks. The intent and challenge to the entire sound and music team were to present the definitive traditional film musical ever produced. “

Tod A. Maitland: “The overall goal on “West Side Story” was to create a seamless reality in vocal quality between live singing, playback, and dialogue while at the same time building a rich tapestry of sounds of NY in 1957. The process of recording production sound on “West Side Story” was akin to recording a Broadway show on the sweltering summer streets of NYC. The enormity of the project and the sheer amount of characters alone required us to build a $300k mobile recording system from the ground up capable of accommodating everything needed.”

Brian Chumney: “All of our sound departments worked together to create a special and unique soundscape for the film. Our dialogue department was tasked with not only the traditional duties of creating a clean, intelligible track – they also were responsible for ensuring the authentic accents and language of the characters and the time period. This, combined with the work of the sound effects and foley teams, created a visceral and authentic experience of which we are all very proud.”

Which of the ten films’ sounds are you most impressed with? Who do you predict will be the final five Oscar nominees this year for Best Sound? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Twitter account and be sure to check out our latest predictions for Best Sound here.

You can follow Will and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @mavericksmovies

Will Mavity
Will Mavityhttps://nextbestpicture.com
Loves Awards Season, analyzing stats & conducting interviews. Hollywood Critics Association Member.

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