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APRIL 2010

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SPECIAL REPORT HBOtakes on WWII in The Pacific S By MARC LOFTUS SENIOR EDITOR CSS Studio brings out its big guns for this 10- part miniseries. ANTA MONICA — In mid-March, HBO began broadcasting its new 10-part miniseries,The Pacific. Exec- utive produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spiel- berg and Gary Goetzman, the series recre- ates the stories of three real-life Marines — Robert Laeckie, John Basilone and Eugene Sledge — who served during World War II. But unlike the 2001 miniseries Band of Broth- ers by the same executive producing team, this drama takes a look at the battle with Japan in the Pacific, as opposed to the war taking place in Eastern Europe. Soundelux’s ( Tom Bellfort (Oscar, Titanic) was supervising sound editor on the project and likened the de- mands of this TV series to the film work he’s been involved in over the course of his ca- reer. Here, he talks to Post about The Pacific’s soundtrack and the nine months the team at Todd-AO spent getting it ready for broadcast. POST: Which CSS facilities contributed ser- vices to The Pacific? BELLFORT: “It was just through one.We made a decision early on to have the sound department, picture department and mixing department under one roof — at [Todd- AO] Lantana, which is on the West Side of LA.The main reason was this was such a huge, complex and vast undertaking that it made strategic sense for us to be able to communicate in a direct manner.” POST: What services were provided? ADR, sound design, Foley? BELLFORT: “It’s all of those.The produc- tion sound was recorded in Australia, which is where the episodes were shot.There was a huge amount of dialogue replacement. That was all done at Lantana. All the effects, dialogue, Foley, the loop group — every- thing was done at Lantana.” POST: Did the heavy battle scenes cause the needed for so much ADR? BELLFORT: “Correct.The environments Tom Bellfort: The density and complexity of the sound gives The Pacifica feature film feel. were very real.There was a huge amount of rain in a few of the episodes, so the dialogue was difficult to understand. Just about all of the rain scenes — I think there were four episodes that had heavy rain — were com- pletely re-done. I’d say probably a good 50 percent of all the dialogue was re-done with ADR. Every episode had approximately 1,000-1,200 lines that were re-recorded after the fact.” POST: How does a series like this compare 20 Post • April 2010 to a more typical TV series or to a feature film? BELLFORT:“We were definitely striving for, and achieved, feature film work. It does- n’t come close to TV work — except for Band of Brothers — in terms of the density and complexity of sound.” POST:Were each of the episodes different in terms of sound? BELLFORT: “There are definitely a cou- But the core editing team was relatively small. We had two dialogue editors, two effects ed- itors and myself. When we needed extra help, because of schedule issues or re-cuts or new scenes being added, then we had to go beyond that core group and hire people for ‘X numbers’ of weeks to help out.” POST: How many episodes were in post at one time? Most of the effects in The Pacificwere replaced with library elements or via Foley. ple of episodes — like the first one, which is the set-up episode and the foundation for the next 10.You meet the protagonists — Laeckie, Basilone and Sledge — in the first episode and understand how they joined the Marines, why they joined the Marines, the vision of the Marines in the Pacific.That’s a fairly dialogue-driven episode.There’s an- other episode where they go to Melbourne on leave for a couple of days and have all kinds of social adventures.That is certainly a dialogue-driven episode. And then the last episode — Episode 10 — when they arrive back home, is a dialogue-driven episode. And you have seven episodes that are very action driven.” POST: With so many EPs and directors, who did you report to? BELLFORT: “I reported to Gary Goetz- man. He was the final arbiter of everything that happened at the mix.” POST: Were you hands-on in the editorial, or did you have to manage a larger team? BELLFORT: “Both. I did a fair amount of dialogue and ADR editing, and supervised at the same time a team of about 10 editors. BELLFORT: “We had multiple episodes going on at the same time and we never worked chronologically.We worked on the episodes that Gary Goetzman, HBO and Playtone would sign off on.The first episode that we worked on was Episode 3, which was the Melbourne episode. But at the same time, we were mixing an episode, we were cutting another and we were prepar- ing another episode. So three things hap- pened simultaneously.” POST: Did you have a locked picture edit to work with? BELLFORT: “The visual effects changed fairly constantly — things were added, so we’d finish an episode and two weeks later find out that they had added certain things, which most of the time were extra gun shots or explosions. So we’d have to go back into the episodes to update the sound effects to match the visuals that had been added.” POST: Did you draw on Soundelux’s mas- sive effects library? BELLFORT:“We have a fairly vast sound continued on page 50 AUDIO

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