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October 2014

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Page 31 of 51 30 POST OCTOBER 2014 hat makes for a great film mix? Who would know better than award-winning mixers that have spent their careers perfecting the art? The great mixers on The Boxtrolls, The Book of Life, A Walk Among the Tomb- stones and The Equalizer spoke to Post about their ideas on what makes a great mix and shared their recent feature film mix experiences. THE BOXTROLLS For the subterranean home of the Box- trolls, directors Graham Annable and An- thony Stacchi envisioned a hand-crafted, intricately-intertwining environment with Victorian steam-punk flair. Their 3D stop-motion animated film The Boxtrolls, which opened in theaters September 26th, was brought to life by animation house Laika (known for Coraline and ParaNorman), and tells the story of Eggs, a human orphan raised underground by cave-dwelling, trash-collecting trolls. Ev- ery care and detail built into the visuals, from the meticulously-crafted puppets to the elaborate Rube Goldberg-esk devices that move the Boxtrolls world, the direc- tors wanted to punctuate with sound. Skywalker Sound's Tom Myers notes the complexity and depth of the soundtrack. "The line between music and sound effects was blurred. Everything crossed over. We gave sound effects to compos- er Dario Marianelli that he worked into his score. There were bits of dialogue that were effecty. It was a real integration of all sound departments." Myers, the sound effects re-recording mixer, worked alongside two fellow re-re- cording mixers at Skywalker Sound — Nathan Nance, who handled the dialogue from pre-mix through the final, and Ren Klyce, who pre-mixed the Foley and han- dled the music for the final. Myers and Klyce co-sound designed the project. World-class audio post facility Skywalker Sound is located on 4,000 tranquil acres of the Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, CA ( The Boxtroll's composer Marianelli spent several years creating the film's big orchestral score, complete with well thought-out themes and variations for main characters. Klyce notes the directors wanted Marianelli to accent every single rhythm, every single beat, every single head nod, and every single visual cue with music. During their spotting sessions with the directors, Myers and Klyce were asked to do the same, but with sound effects and quirky noises, to build what Klyce calls "the world of whimsy." For the Boxtrolls habitat, the directors referenced the rhythmic machinery in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's Ever- lasting Gobstopper scene. Klyce and My- ers worked closely with composer Mari- anelli to build a track that blends sound effects and music that plays in sync to the visuals. Klyce gives an example of a montage sequence of Eggs growing up: Eggs is smashing glasses, and tapping on a typewriter, and another character is bowing a saw. All those sounds are in rhythm to Marianelli's score. Klyce ex- plains, "They had to anticipate the tempo ahead of time so they could animate to it. Tom [Myers] and I recorded many sounds and handed them off to Dario [Marianelli]. He created a template with our sounds in his music. There is a lot of cross pollination that made the process a lot of fun." According to Myers, much of the sound design involves the background set pieces, with giant machines and cobbled together Rube Goldberg con- traptions that seem as though they could fly apart at any moment. The Boxtrolls slide down a roller-style conveyor belt that sounds reminiscent of beer cas- es sliding down a conveyor belt that director Annable remembers hearing in his youth. There is a giant clock in the Boxtroll lair with it's own unique sonic signature. There is even a garden. It's a busy environment. Myers notes the personality of the sounds change as the Boxtrolls' numbers become thinner. "Over time, we add in more squeaky, low- er, sadder elements into the design and have the sounds evolve. As the plight of the Boxtrolls changes, their environment changes," explains Myers. In The Boxtrolls, Eggs grows from a baby to an older child, so the audience expects to hear a slight voice change. When actor Isaac Hempstead Wright originally performed his lines for Eggs, he was roughly ten-years old. Years later, Wright had to perform new lines, and his voice sounded deeper. During the edit, the noticeably-different new lines were cut together with the original lines. Dia- logue re-recording mixer Nance explains, "The directors really liked the pre-adoles- Award-winning audio mixers detail what makes great film sound BY JENNIFER WALDEN W AUDIO FOR FEATURE FILMS MIX IT UP

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