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February 2016

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INDIE FILMS FRONT AND CENTER 37 POST FEBRUARY 2016 and singing a little bit to himself. The composers took that and they repeated it, and stacked it, and brought in more voices, which became more voices on top of more voices." Thanks to the Dolby Family Sound Fellowship — a grant awarded to chosen Sundance festival entrants — Swiss Army Man was mixed in Dolby Atmos with the help of award-winning and Oscar- nominated re-recording mixer Borders. "The fellowship was a godsend that really helped our budget. We would have never had Beau Borders. We would have never been able to mix at Deluxe," says Kiser, who was also the re-recording mixer on music. They spent five days at Dolby Laboratories in Burbank, working with mix-tech Bryan Pennington before mov- ing to Deluxe's Stage 2 in Hollywood for another five days of mixing. Since the film takes place from the point of view of a guy whose sanity is questionable, at best, Kiser and Borders were able to go crazy with their Atmos mix. In terms of music, Kiser says he was able to start with Dano's diegetic singing and as it morphs into Manchester Orchestra's music, he slowly spread it out into the Atmos surround field. "I panned it everywhere. One voice is singing in the back corner and another is singing right over top of you. It is all over the place. Starting with the production track, we built it in the center first, like you would with any production track, and then it slowly starts to unfold back into the the- ater and you start feeling this movement take you over," he concludes. CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Another Sundance offering this year was Captain Fantastic, a story of a father (played by Viggo Mortensen) who raises his six children in the forest, away from society's reach, but when circumstances force him and his family back to the real world, he finds his family values chal- lenged. It was written and directed by Matt Ross, who, as it happens, is also an actor. Having experience on both sides of the lens, Ross understands that dialogue is essential to the story and doesn't mind using all the tools available, including ADR, to achieve great performances. "For an indie film, there was a con- siderable amount of ADR in Captain Fantastic, but not in the sense that whole scenes were completely looped," says re-recording mixer Rick Ash. "Most of the ADR was for performance and intelli- gibility, since there were a number of young children in the film. They looped some complicated lines that were right on-camera, so it was a challenge for the youngest ones to really make it work." Ash, who completed the final 5.1 mix on Stage 10 at Post Haste (posthaste- in Culver City, CA, says one challenge on the stage was to make the ADR — recorded in different studios and in the cutting room — and the alternate production takes all come together and feel natural. "It was a challenge to make it all feel like the original material. In the end, I think it worked out really well," he says. When it comes to cleaning produc- tion dialogue, Ash feels it's a matter of determining whether the unwanted noise is actually in the way of telling the story. "I don't overly work the dialogue in order to clean it up. I try to alleviate any sound or ambience that is prohibiting the audi- ence from following the story," says Ash. When the situation does require process- ing, Ash likes to treat each track individu- ally. One plug-in he chooses is the Cedar DNS One plug-in. "The most important thing is that each piece of dialogue noise reduction is used specifically for the line that is being addressed, and not on a bus or on a chain. That way you're really catering the processing to the individual line and you're not degrading the dia- logue unnecessarily." With a total of 10 days for the final mix, including fixes and print master- ing, Ash says a big challenge was the deadline. In order to efficiently mix Captain Fantastic, which often had six or eight people on-screen at any moment, and lots of overlapping and competing dialogue lines, he needed to have good dialogue editing and concise sound effects tracks — all of which were pro- vided by supervising sound editor Frank Gaeta and his team at Sound for Film in Altadena, CA. Ash and Gaeta have worked on over a dozen films together in the past. "Frank always does a really good job. He doesn't have an abundance of material that I have to wade through. He has specifically what I need and really good choices," says Ash. Ash's favorite Captain Fantastic scene to mix comes at the end of the film, as the family starts to play instruments, indi- vidually, around the campfire. Beginning with the production sound of the instruments, the track starts to incorpo- rate studio-recorded instruments until it builds into a big score that drives to the end of the movie. "The choice was to have it sound organic, as if it was being performed outdoors, live, around the campfire," Ash explains. "That was probably one of the more difficult pleasures to mix in the film." Rick Ash (inset) completed Captain Fantastic's final mix at Post Haste.

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