×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sound mixers find balance between effects and music

Eye on the Oscars 2013: Vfx, Sound & Editing

This year’s sound mixing nominees tackled a diverse collection of films but share one thing in common: All pulled strong — even downright iconic — scores into the aural palette they created.

Greg P. Russell found himself working with what is easily one of the most recognizable themes in film history when he took on “Skyfall,” the latest installment in the James Bond franchise.

Thomas Newman really should be given credit for creating a score that was fresh but also clearly for a James Bond film,” Russell says. “We intended to let those notes stay clear but there were moments where the sound effects take over, when Bond is at Skyfall, because Sam (Mendes) wants your attention (on the effects).”

A vast swath of the filmgoing audience was already familiar with the beloved music for “Les Miserables,” too, making expectations for the film’s sound tricky to handle.

According to Simon Hayes, nommed for mixing the film, helmer Tom Hooper decided early he would focus on the emotion in the actors’ performances and adjust the score to them, making the music a supporting player.

Popular on Variety

The musical wasn’t the only sweeping epic to be nommed for sound mixing; “Life of Pi” also took audiences on a long perilous journey.

“The score is the heart and soul of ‘Life of Pi,’ especially in the storm sequence,” says Ron Bartlett, nommed for sound mixing for the film. “During that scene we chose to rack focus on the score (i.e., make it more prominent in the mix) and allow it to take the lead.”

Though “Argo” and “Lincoln” lean more toward historical storytelling, they each also had to handle their scores, both also Oscar-nommed, with care.

“The music really drives through the montage of scenes when Washington decides to abandon the ‘house guests'” i.e., the American fugitives hiding in the Canadian Ambassador’s residence in Tehran, says Greg Rudloff, nommed for sound mixing for “Argo.” “You see the house guests celebrating and Ben (Affleck) struggling with the idea of leaving them there and then there’s the moment when Ben decides he’s going forward with the mission.”

And sometimes authentic sounds, even the sounds of the 1865 White House, can only take you so far.

“Lincoln lived an extraordinary life,” says Andy Nelson, nommed for mixing “Lincoln.” “You need the realism of his pocket watch but you also want the sweeping emotion that only music brings.”

Eye on the Oscars 2013: Vfx, Sound & Editing
Want better Oscar ratings? Play up visual effects. | Sound editors added true grit to contenders | Sound mixers find balance between effects and music | ‘Lincoln’ editor Kahn had to juggle massive ensemble | ‘Playbook’ editor Cassiy followed winding road | Editing ‘Pi’ was no piece of cake | Double-nominee Goldenberg serves up fine cuts | Double-nominee Andy Nelson likes subtle sounds

More Digital

  • Morning Show Apple

    Golden Globe Noms: 'The Morning Show' Turns Apple TV Plus Into a Kudos Contender

    “Euphoric” was the word to describe the atmosphere around the Apple TV Plus offices in Culver City, Calif., on Monday morning as staffers awoke to the news that the fledgling service’s cornerstone drama series, “The Morning Show,” had landed three major Golden Globe Award nominations. Apple Worldwide Video had exactly two employees — heads Jamie [...]

  • Game of Thrones Avengers Endgame

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers: Endgame' Among Most Popular Tweets of 2019

    Twitter released its top-trending topics and tweets of 2019 with “Game of Thrones,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and actor Tom Holland commanding the most tweets in the TV, movies, and actors categories. BTS holds both the No. 1 spot in the most-tweeted-about musicians category and the second-most-retweeted tweet worldwide. Since its release in June, a video of [...]

  • Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his side's

    Canal Plus, beIN Sports In Exclusive Talks For Distribution Deal

    Vivendi-owned pay-TV banner Canal Plus Group and the global network beIN Sports have started exclusive talks to sign a five-year exclusive distribution and sub-licensing deal in France. The two companies previously tried to forge a partnership in 2016 but it was denied by France’s anti-trust board. Under the proposed deal, Canal Plus would distribute all [...]

  • NBCUniversal Peacock

    Comcast to Spend $2 Billion on NBCU's Peacock Streaming Service in First Two Years

    Comcast expects to pump $2 billion into NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service in aggregate over 2020 and 2021, while the company is projecting it will not be profitable for the first five years, according to CFO Mike Cavanagh. Cavanagh, who provided the details Monday at UBS’s Global TMT Conference in New York City, tried to put [...]

  • Watcher Entertainment - Steven Lim, Ryan

    Ex-BuzzFeed Video Staffers Launch Watcher Entertainment Digital Studio (EXCLUSIVE)

    UPDATED: After building their careers as internet personalities at BuzzFeed, the creators and hosts of three of the company’s biggest shows — Steven Lim, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej — have formed their own digital-video venture. They quit BuzzFeed earlier this year and founded L.A.-based Watcher Entertainment, with the trio looking to get full creative [...]

  • 25. Oktober 2019, Berlin, Deutschland, JustWatch[Foto:

    Streaming Guide JustWatch Acquires Video Search Engine GoWatchIt (EXCLUSIVE)

    Berlin-based streaming guide JustWatch has acquired media search engine GoWatchIt from Plexus Entertainment, and is using the acquisition to open up its first office in New York. Terms of the deal, which was stock- and cash-based, haven’t been disclosed. GoWatchIt founder and CEO David Larkin will join JustWatch as its new senior vice president of [...]

  • CBS Joins Open AP Audience-Targeting Alliance

    CBS Joins Open AP Audience-Targeting Alliance

    “Young Sheldon” leads CBS’ Thursday-night schedule. Soon it may help to lead advertisers to a new way of placing their commercials. CBS has joined “Open AP,” the audience-targeting alliance working to accelerate the emerging advertising practice known as “audience buying.” Open AP works to give advertisers a way to buy impressions from particular types of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content