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JULY 2011

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Moon T C continued on page 47 sounds good The sound of ULVER CITY, CA — When the first Tranformers film was released four years ago, moviegoers were By RICHARD BUSKIN The post sound team talks about the process. treated to an Earth-based battle for control of the universe between the dastardly De- cepticons and heroic Autobots, based on the Hasbro action figures that twist, fold and double in on themselves. Two years later, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen resumed the war underwater and in outer space. Now, in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, our robot buddies not only try to annihilate one another in downtown Chicago after getting caught up in the US-USSR space race, but they do so in 3D and 7.1 sound. “This is the most complex, intricate soundtrack that I and my Academy Award- ing-winning sound team have done,” direc- tor Michael Bay recently commented on his Website. “They really outdid themselves to make this a big picture experience.” As per its Bay-directed predecessors, Transformers 3 used the effects trio of re- recording mixer Greg P. Russell, supervising sound editor Ethan Van der Ryn and sound designer/co-supervising sound editor Erik Aadahl, alongside supervising dialogue editor Mike Hopkins, dialogue mixer Garry Sum- mers, music editor Alex Gibson (who to watch and listen to, it isn’t overwhelming.” “Along with the robots that everyone ex- pects to see, we have a lot more spaceships and cosmic stuff,” adds Erik Aadahl, who has been nominated for multiple Emmy and Golden Reel Awards.“The Decepticons’ in- vasion of Earth involves ships of all sizes — huge motherships, smaller attack fighters — and it was a huge challenge to come up with that whole palette of sounds while keeping it fresh and interesting.” Constantly in work mode, even away from the studio,Aadahl had the idea of using them down and beefing them up, I realized they had a really crazy howling quality that reminded me a little bit of the TIE fighters in Star Wars. So, Transformers 3 has an opening sequence where a spaceship is being chased by attack fighters and the tea kettle features prominently throughout.” “From the sound design perspective, Greg Russell at work inside the Kim Novak Theatre on the Sony lot. The team used a Harrison MPC4-D digital console. when we start working on a project we think about the principle that we’d like to push forward, and on this movie it was all about morphing and twisting between or- ganic and synthetic sounds,” explains Ethan Van der Ryn, who scooped Oscars for his editing on The Lord of the Rings:The Two Tow- ers (2002) and King Kong (2005). Aadahl picks up the story:“Ethan had this idea to play with musical instruments, espe- cially electric guitars. One of our lead sound effects editors is John Marquis, who is quite an accomplished musician, and one of the licks that he played for us became the sound of the turrets locking into place. Everytime you hear that sound, you know someone’s about to get blown away.” “It turned out to be a really fruitful ven- ture,”Van der Ryn confirms. Ditto Jablonsky’s rich, luxurious, orches- worked on the second movie), and — new to the series — Jeffrey Haboush, who han- dled Steve Jablonsky’s music score. “It’s probably the busiest special effects movie I have ever seen in my entire life,” says Greg Russell, who has been Oscar-nomi- nated more than a dozen times for his work. “Still, despite being big, bold, and a lot of fun 36 Post • July 2011 a whistling tea kettle long before he knew the movie would feature spaceships. “I heard it in the kitchen of a friend’s house and realized it could be a treasure trove of weird little sounds,” he recalls. “At first, I thought it could be used for missile whistle-bys. But then, once I got my record- ings into the computer and started slowing tral score, which, boasting warm, soulful strings and majestic brass, provides the film with plenty of heart for the emotional se- quences and a lot of drive for those loaded with effects. “I was provided with about 64 channels and a couple of 5.1 spares, but the score it- self was 80-plus channels,” says Haboush who, in addition to winning an Emmy with Russell back in 1989, has also shared nomi- nations with him for a BAFTA and a couple ransformers: Dark of the

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