Q3 2019

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29 Q3 2019 / CINEMONTAGE MY MOST MEMORABLE FILM Bochar, who was working on ProTools, found himself exhilarated by the possibilities of telling a story that could conceivably unfold at any length. "We weren't limited by time," he says, since the project was slated to air over multiple hours on HBO. "It could have been six hours; it could have been nine hours. We settled somewhere around six-and-a-half hours." Angels in America was divided into two core sections, the reality-based "Millennium Approaches" and the more otherworldly "Perestroika." The sections were worked on independently over the course of about a year, and certain rules governed the sound world of each. For the first section, Bochar wanted to tone down background sound. "It's more about the music, it's more about the characters," he reflects. "Mike wanted to develop them without any distractions. We didn't have to do anything weird." In fact, so subtle was the ambient noise in "Millennium Approaches" that, while Nichols was recuperating from a bout of pneumonia, an executive objected. Bochar insisted that there was enough background sound — just not too much. "Mike wasn't there at the mix that day," he remembers. "I muted the dialogue production track totally, and the whole room was just alive with the Foley and the background. I said, 'You know, maybe you're having this reaction because it was so well-placed within the context of the show that you weren't being distracted by anything.'" In the end, upon Nichols' return, the mix remained as it was. On the other hand, "Perestroika" was meant to explode on the screen — both visually and aurally. "The angels crashed through," Bochar remarks. "All of a sudden, we had this new component, and from that point on, the city is wild. The angels are there. I mean, it just goes crazy." Much discussion was had over the sound of the angel wings affixed to, for example, Thompson. The sound editor felt that the angels should not sound like birds. "We don't even want to hear feathers," he observes. "We went with wind. It's a lot of wind moving her around. There's a downstroke, an upstroke and a constant gentle breeze that accompanies it all." When the first installment of the miniseries premiered on HBO, Bochar and his colleagues tuned in with anticipation. But, right off the bat, it was clear that something had gone seriously wrong in preparing the show for broadcast. "It came out with massive compression on it, so when Roy Cohn slams down a phone, the entire track would go away and slowly come back until the next big, loud thing hit," the sound editor/mixer recounts. "I had to turn off the TV. I couldn't watch it." About 30 minutes in, an adjustment was made in that opening-night broadcast, but for the next night, the show had to be remastered. By then, Angels in America had won praise as one of Nichols' most memorable undertakings, an assessment with which Bochar agrees. "It's hard to look at anything else that I've been part of that has had every single cylinder firing at 100 percent," he comments. And his colleagues concurred: Along with fellow re-recording mixer Lee Dichter, CAS, and production mixer James Sabat, CAS, Bochar was honored with both an Emmy and a Cinema Audio Society Award for the show. "To get that kind of acknowledgment meant more to me than anything else," Bochar concludes. "Nominations are terrific, but to win is pretty spectacular." f Angels in America. HBO Films/Photofest Angels in America. HBO Films/Photofest "Angels in America was the perfect film. It had an amazing story, an amazing cast and sound opportunities galore."

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