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November/December 2021

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BITS & PIECES SONY PICTURES' GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE' SOUNDTRACK MIXES OLD AND NEW CULVER CITY, CA — Sound editorial and mixing for Ghostbusters: Afterlife was based at Sony Pictures Post Production Services, where a veteran crew, led by supervising sound editor/re-recording mixer Will Files, supervising sound editor Perry Robertson and re-recording mixer Mark Paterson were faced with following in the footsteps of a legendary film. Released in 1984, the original Ghostbusters is among the most beloved comedies of all time and elements of the film, including many of its signature sounds, are etched in the minds of movie fans around the globe. Directed by Jason Reitman and produced by Ivan Reitman, the new film cen- ters on a single mom and her two kids, who arrive in a small town and discover their connection to the original team. "All of us grew up with the original Ghostbusters," recalls Files. "I probably saw the film 100 times as a kid. Our task was to recreate the iconic sounds of ghosts, proton packs, ghost traps, the PKE meter and the Ecto-1 — in fact the whole sonic feel of the original — while modernizing and expanding them to fit Jason Reitman's vision for this imaginative new film. It was an incredibly-fun challenge!" Sound editors poured through Sony Pictures' archives and unearthed work-in-progress recordings made by sound designer Richard Beggs and other members of the original sound team, including Ghostbusters (1984) sound designer and Ghostbusters II supervising sound editor Tom McCarthy, who currently serves as executive vice president, post production facilities at Sony Pictures. "We found recordings of sound effects that were used in the first film, as well as alternate versions and recordings that were not used," Files recalls. "We repurposed many of them while applying modern software and process- ing techniques." For sounds representing technology of the 1980s, such as the modified Cadillac ambulance known as the Ecto-1, the team employed a combination of archival recordings and old electronics. "We used vintage synthesizers and various older machinery," explains Files. "For one memorable scene featuring a huge dynamo, we used a recording of a 100-year-old welding turbine, recorded at a train museum in Michigan." "The sound effects are definitely modern," adds Robertson. "They're big and beefy, yet you hear the original elements, and they take you back." Jason Reitman's films are all about story, Robertson explains. "This film has big action scenes, as you would expect, but it also reflects Jason's sensibilities. Dialogue is crucial. If an actor speaks a line, Jason wants you to hear it. There are no throwaway lines." Final mixing involved a blending of old and new. Files and Paterson mixed the film in Sony Pictures' William Holden Theater, which features dual 48-fader Avid S6 consoles, four Avid Pro Tools HDX-3 workstations, a 192-channel HDX-3 Pro Tools recorder and 46 channels of JBL loudspeakers. Working natively in Dolby Atmos, they were able to enhance the action and storytelling with rich immersive sound while also remaining faithful to the sonic charac- ter of the original Ghostbusters. "If you're a die- hard Ghostbusters fan, you'll love it," states Robertson. "If you're a newbie, you'll love it too…it will make you want to watch the first film to get caught up on the story. It's a special film."

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