Post Magazine

June 2014

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t echnology is so deeply ingrained in the audio post process that most sound designers don't even think about it. From recording their own effects, to editing, processing, mixing, and even catalog- ing their sounds, technology is involved in every step of the way. While there is a growing market of tools created specifically for sound designers, there are still a few important voids to fill. The following seven sound designers talk about the technology that's changed their careers, the tools they use today, and audio tools they'd like to see in the future for sound design. STEVE BOEDDEKER — ALL IS LOST Steve Boeddeker is a supervising sound editor/sound designer at the world-class audio post facility Skywalker Sound, located on the working, 4,000-acre Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, CA (http://www.skysound. com). Skywalker Sound's legendary audio team has won countless awards. Recently, Boeddeker received an Oscar nomination for his sound editing work on the Robert Redford film, All Is Lost. Before starting a career in sound design for film, Boeddeker worked for Digidesign. With a profound understanding of Pro Tools and digital audio, he's never been afraid to use a DAW for both designing sound and mixing. "It's other people's attitude toward mixing within the workstation environ- ment on a major feature that's been the toughest obstacle," says Boed- deker. Now, as Pro Tools has evolved, and the industry's dogmatic view of mixing on a large-format console is changing, Boeddeker sees a huge opportunity for remote collaboration. During his work on All Is Lost, Boed- deker designed and mixed scenes in Pro Tools at Skywalker Sound while playing them for director J.C. Chandor in New York. Boeddeker says, "This changes the whole paradigm of mixing from being an event to an evolu- tion. It allows the process to be more collaborative. The sound for film becomes much more of a back and forth, as opposed to an event that happens near the end of the post process." Boeddeker co-supervised the sound on All Is Lost with Richard Hymns. After discovering the production sound was completely unusable because of the many fans, hoses, and jet skies used on-set, Hymns, who is a sailor himself, borrowed a sailboat similar to the one in the film. Boeddeker, Hymns, and another sound editor/re-recording mixer on the film, Brandon Proctor, captured recordings of that sailboat during an actual storm. Boed- deker details, "There was even a small craft advisory and we probably shouldn't have been out there, but we recorded all kinds of sounds on the boat. We used a contact mic to record the sound of waves hitting the hull. We used a shotgun mic to record the sails slapping. We recorded bow washes and waves. Using Zoom recorders set up for quad recording, we captured creaks and moans inside the boat that became the base layer for the boat sound in the film." Boeddeker also recorded bow washes on one of the big ferryboats in San Francisco Bay. The constant spray sound had a great low end, notes Boeddeker. As Boeddeker points out, there are many jump cuts in the first storm scene of All Is Lost. In one shot, the bow goes down, and then in the jump to the next shot, the bow is already back up. If he cut the sound to literally fit the picture, it would seem very jarring and disjointed. To help smooth out the picture transitions, Boeddeker created a complex layered sound, that included the constant bow wash of the ferryboat, to play across the whole storm sequence. Then, using the joystick panner, he panned the sound wherever he wanted it in the room. In addition, he rode the volume and the subwoofer faders. "When the bow went down, I could push up the faders, and when the bow came up, I could pull the faders down. When it's going to the left I could pan it left, and then sweep it over to the right for the next shot. If you were to listen to just that layer, it actually makes you queasy," explains Boeddeker. Often times, the final mix can be stressful, says Boeddeker, because it's the last chance for the director to make changes to the sound. Working within the Pro Tools environment, for the design and mix, allows Boed- deker to collaborate much more easily with the director through the post process. Going into the final mix, already knowing how the movie will

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