'Avatar's' mixer takes pictures with sound

Walking through Skywalker Sound 20-odd years ago, Christopher Boyes ran into Gary Rydstrom, who was buried working on “A River Runs Through It” and “Single White Female.” Rydstrom needed help and he gave Boyes a list of 60 sounds he needed recorded. “It was like a light went off in my head,” Boyes recalls. “I found a passion that hearkened back to the original reason I got into film, which was that I wanted to be a cinematographer. I loved taking pictures and found that I could now do that with a microphone.”

The Rydstrom experience gave him an affinity for authentic sounds that he’s brought to “Avatar” (he’s sound designer, supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer), “The Lovely Bones,” “Iron Man” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.

While he’s spent much of his career working on films that push the envelope of technology, Boyes says he’d love to work on a dialogue-driven pic: “I don’t believe that interesting sound should be relegated only to these massive technical marvels like ‘Avatar. I think interesting sound for films should be used in the most simple and basic of stories, because it cuts right through to the human emotion.”

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