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August 2016

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Page 30 of 51 29 POST AUGUST 2016 AUDIO FOR STREAMING SERIES the dub stage included the TL Space reverb plug-in. Jenkins notes it has very interesting presets that would have limited applications in a more traditional walk-and-talk style series. "It turns any- thing you apply it to into a very treated, warped version," he says, which was helpful when creating the portals that led from the real world to The Upside Down. "Using some of the TL Space settings we could take the sounds that are real and work them into The Upside Down by applying the processing as people transi- tion from one world to the other." On the dialogue side, Barnett used Audio Ease's Speakerphone plug-in when in need of a radio filter. For reverb, he went with Exponential Audio's PhoenixVerb, and Audio Ease's Altiverb running emulations of the old Lexicon 480, in addition to TL Space to create the decayed feeling of The Upside Down. "When we start a new show, we are establishing the sonic language, or lexicon of the show. In Stranger Things, there are two very disparate worlds, our world and The Upside Down. How that in- terfaced was by the sound in the real world becoming altered. Sometimes characters in The Upside Down could get audio cues from the real world. That cross-communi- cation really provided challenges, espe- cially when the action heats up. We really had to be careful with our choices so that we were communicating the story clearly while staying true to the sonic language we established," says Barnett. As with any sci-fi series, the visual effects elements were updated continu- ously. Since Stranger Things is a streaming series, there's the opportunity to update any one of the episodes before the ship date. "Going back and forth between ep- isodes like that really emphasizes the fact that we literally have the world's best mix technician on our stage, Eddie Bydalek," says Barnett. Jenkins notes that good file management is essential to allowing the mix team to concentrate on the creative aspects. "Eddie completely keeps us up to date, even if that means cutting in pic- ture that has one new visual effect for 12 frames. We don't have to worry about that end of things that all," says Jenkins. Having the ability to work on any episode in a season allows the mix team to compress their overall dub schedule. Instead of mixing three days a week for 22 weeks, Barnett notes they can do block booking of their stage. "From a business standpoint, you can get more utilization out of your stage. As long as everything is completed by the due date, then it's fine. And it seems to be the nature of the way people like to consume media these days, by binge watching. Streaming media, like series for Netflix, are the majority of the projects for our stage." Jenkins notes another advantage to streaming series is the creative opportuni- ty it offers, from directors and producers to the post production teams. "The series creators can bring a feature film sensibil- ity to the projects, and make their show without a ton of studio interference so to speak. And they want as many people with feature film experience as possible brought onto it. This is drawing a lot of very good talent to the series realm." THE PATH Hulu's The Path follows Eddie Lane (played by Aaron Paul), a cult believer who starts to see his religious decisions in another light. From a sound standpoint, there's plenty of opportunity for sound supervi- sor/re-recording mixer Greg King and his team at King Soundworks (kingsound- in Santa Monica, CA, to design esoteric soundscapes for visions and dream sequences, which play in contrast to the relatively ordinary sequences where emotional manipulation is delivered via dia- logue. King, who is joined by sound design- er/re-recording mixer Jonathan Greasley and sound designer Shaughnessy Hare, explains, "This is not a sci-fi show. It's not supposed to be otherworldly. It's supposed to be very psychological, so we achieve that with a lot of layering." The sound team plays a game of addition and subtraction to keep the audience feeling off-balance. They might add in a character's movements to draw the audience in. Or they might build up a scene with layers of birds, wind and other appropriate environmental sounds to push the audience into the world on screen, then subtract those sounds layer by layer to make it feel much more claustrophobic. "When we start to subtract sounds it really puts you into this claustrophobic, mono-vi- sion vacuum. It sucks you into a charac- ter's head. We do that with music, with atmospheres, and the sound effects. We really do a lot to keep the audience feeling off-balance," says King. On the dub stage, King and Greasley both use Audio Ease's Altiverb to add realistic room reverb to the ADR and sound effects, and also to heighten the trippy quality of the cult-tastic visions and dreams. Serato's Pitch 'n Time Pro is another go-to tool for warping realistic sounds on the stage. "We will take natural sounds and stretch them out time-wise, or change their pitch, to give them a weird sound. Another thing we do is intention- ally misuse noise reduction tools, like the iZotope RX suite, to actually create arti- facts and intentionally over-process the sound. It can make sounds a little off-put- ting and odd to the ear but not radically different," King shares. The Path is mixed in Pro Tools 12 via Avid's ICON D-Command surface. Knowing the audience can experience the show on everything from a 5.1 home theater setup to laptop speakers, King and Greasley monitor their mix in both 5.1 and stereo as they're working on it. "We go back and forth to make sure it sounds really good on little tiny stereo speakers. By the time it leaves our hands we know that it sounds good both ways," says King. Barnett and Jenkins helped give Netflix's Stranger Things its weird '80s sound.

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