Winter 2016

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40 CINEMONTAGE / Q1 2016 by Debra Kaufman T his year's Oscar nominations in the Sound Mixing category are for movies that focus on arduous journeys and tasks, some leavened with comedic moments. An astronaut stranded on Mars tries to get home, while another quiet hero finds himself on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall. There are three epic journeys: an impossibly difficult journey across the frozen wilderness, another one in a post-apocalyptic world, and still another heroic battle of a small band of resisters fighting against tyranny and evil. The re-recording teams creating these soundscapes are Andy Nelson, CAS, and Gary Rydstrom, CAS (with production mixer Drew Kunin), for Bridge of Spies; Chris Jenkins and Gregg Rudloff (with production mixer Ben Osmo) for Mad Max: Fury Road; Paul Massey, CAS, and Mark Taylor (with production mixer Mac Ruth, CAS) for The Martian; Jon Taylor, CAS, Frank A. Montaño and Randy Thom, CAS (with production mixer Chris Duesterdiek), for The Revenant; and Nelson and Christopher Scarabosio (with production mixer Stuart Wilson) for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies, which was recorded on the Howard Hawks Stage on the 20th Century Fox lot, pairs Nelson (dialogue/music) and Rydstrom (sound effects/Foley), who have worked together on Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, AI, Lincoln and War Horse. Nelson, who now counts 20 nominations and two wins, has done all of Spielberg's films for 25 years, and at this Academy Awards is actually in competition with himself, for his work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, an experience he's already had five times before. "It's double the fun but also a bit daunting," he says. "I don't take it for granted, trust me." He previously won Oscars for Les Misérables (2012) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). Rydstrom, who has been nominated 18 times, says it's still a thrill to be nominated. "I really liked this movie," says Rydstrom. "I'm an advocate for intelligent, sophisticated, well-crafted movies like Bridge of Spies, and it's nice when they get recognized." He was so recognized with seven wins. Creating a believable period piece was the chief challenge of Bridge of Spies, set in the late 1950s and 1960s in New York City and Berlin. "In those days, sounds were made by physical devices," says Rydstrom, who did his pre-mixes at Skywalker Sound. "We looked into period car horns, phones and traffic, trying to keep it real." A U2 plane plays a key role in the film, and Rydstrom was surprised to find that it's not only still in use but that there was one at a nearby Air Force base. "We were able to stick a recorder in the cockpit," he says. "The takeoff and landing were incredibly loud, but inside the cockpit at high altitudes, it was very quiet. That was nice creatively for the scene when the pilot gets shot down. He's inside, seemingly quiet, safe and protected, but when he gets shot down, he's in the open air with the wind whipping around him." Bridge of Spies was a "very, very heavy dialogue picture" for Nelson. "My primary concern was to give it a very warm feel, a sense of period," he adds. The dialogue recorded on set was of excellent quality, so very little ADR was required. "I did a lot of blending into Gary's sound effects design work. In the first 30 minutes of the film there is very little music, so it was lovely to have a film where the sound effects became the music. And working with composer Tom Newman was a great treat. He used the music as a point of view to the storytelling, for emotional resonance." Their work on Bridge of Spies is also nominated for CAS and BAFTA awards. Mad Max: Fury Road, directed by George Miller, was re-recorded on Deluxe Stage One Sound in Lane Cove (Sydney), Australia and finished on Dub Stage 10 on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, says dialogue/music mixer Jenkins and sound effects O S C A R - W O R T H Y S O U N D M I X E R S Gary Rydstrom.

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