You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sound Crew Raises Audio Tech Level for Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things 2’

Critics have noted the differences between Netflix hit “Stranger Things” and “Stranger Things 2,” which bowed Oct. 27, but some things haven’t changed a bit. For example: the post-production setup is the same as before, and nothing if not convenient.

The sound team is based in the Technicolor Seward Post Facility in Hollywood, where members work directly across the hall from the colorist. The convenient positioning allows creators Matt and Ross Duffer to jump between rooms, enabling the merging of picture and sound to inform, even change, aspects of the story.

Brad North, Technicolor supervising sound editor, an Emmy winner for his work on the show’s first season, added breathing sounds during the creation of the gateway between the town of Hawking, Ind., and the so-called Upside Down, resulting in a redesign of the visual effects and one of the show’s signature atmospheres.

Adam Jenkins, Technicolor sound rerecording mixer, a season one Emmy nominee along with fellow Technicolor sound rerecording mixer Joe Barnett notes the power of proximity. “It brings together a boutique idea,” he says.

“Stranger Things” merged details of a rural 1980s town with supernatural occurrences. Over an eight-episode arc, it exploded into a megahit. Feeling the pressure to live up to expectations, the Duffers raised the stakes in season two. For the sound pros, that meant doubling the show’s high level of detail.

They carefully sourced sounds that match ’80s cars, period electrical equipment, even telephone rings. Barnett uses software that can duplicate the frequencies, reverb and other acoustic elements of radio and TV to capture the perfect feel of any element they may have to create, even commercials.

While some authentic ads have been used, the sound team helped fabricate others by recording the voices of crew members, including producer Shawn Levy, altering their vocals and turning them into everything from golf commentators to a choir of angels.

The dialogue in season two presented unique challenges, since the adolescent actors’ voices have changed. To maintain continuity, the sound team would sometimes loop audio or give the actors pitch cues during ADR sessions.

The realism of the supernatural world is equally important. North pulled seal calls to create the show’s Demogorgon monster. Layers of foley design, including walking on dry floors and saturated floors, helped build a major new location in the show. Notes Jenkins: “It’s another way to make it sound more interesting.”

More Artisans

  • A Hidden Life Movie Austria

    Landscapes, History and Incentives Lure Producers to Austria

    Going back to the sweeping mountain vistas of 1965’s The Sound of Music and the pulse-racing action sequences of 1991’s Point Break, Austria has long been a favored destination for international production. The small, landlocked country boasts medieval villages, fairy tale castles, and the historic city of Vienna, which ruled over various permutations of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and [...]

  • John Wick Chapter 3

    'John Wick: Chapter 3' Tones Down the Blood and Gore to Keep Look 'Totally Real'

    When Jeff Campbell, a visual effects supervisor with VFX studio Spin, initially set to work on the first “John Wick,” the 2014 action thriller from director Chad Stahelski and writer Derek Kolstad, he started with an industry-standard test: Establish a single, simple kill effect meant to get a sense of the look of the violence [...]

  • Spider-Man Homecoming

    Film and TV Productions Are Using Drones for Scouting Locations, Lighting and More

    Since a ruling by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2014 that cleared the use of drones in film and TV production, the acquisition of footage by these unmanned flying machines has become de rigueur for aerial shooting in cases when cranes or aircraft are impractical or unsafe.  As such, drones have been greeted enthusiastically not [...]

  • MTV The Challenge

    How 'The Challenge' Relied on Global Crew to Pull Off Plane Game

    Thirty-three seasons into MTV’s “The Challenge,” the reality competition series has spawned a band of traveling producers and engineers who fly around the world to create one-of-a-kind games. This includes placing cameras, smoke elements and a puzzle inside a plane that was suspended more than 30 feet above water. Executive producer Justin Booth joined “The [...]

  • Chaz Ebert DePaul CHA Documentary Filmmaking

    Chicago Program Gives High School Girls Lessons in Documentary Filmmaking

    At the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, three of the projects screening in the Short Film Corner — “Birthday,” “Phenomenally Me” and “Without Dying” — will be products of the DePaul/CHA Documentary Filmmaking Program, a six-week course co-sponsored by the Chicago Housing Authority in which high school girls learn filmmaking from graduate students and faculty of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content