×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Hate U Give’ Sound Crew Created Aural Realism to Support a Tragic Tale

When BAFTA-winning sound editing supervisor Don Sylvester (“Walk the Line”), Oscar-winning re-recording mixer Andy Nelson (“Les Miserables”) and Oscar-nominated re-recording mixer David Giammarco (“Moneyball”) began collaborating with director George Tillman Jr. (“Soul Food”) on Fox’s recently released “The Hate U Give,” they all set out to carefully craft a soundscape that was both naturalistic and realistic.

“George didn’t want a heavy-handed approach or to point fingers,” says Sylvester of the ripped-from-the-headlines story, a work of fiction based on the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller of the same name by Angie Thomas.

The film stars Amandla Stenberg (pictured) as Starr, a young woman who witnesses the racially charged, fatal shooting of her childhood best friend by a police officer. “It tells the story from Starr’s limited point of view, so it’s often very subjective, and we wanted to pay homage to all the similar events happening in the real world and on the news all the time.”

With that in mind, Tillman referenced “a lot of recent events and shootings that he’d researched on YouTube,” adds Sylvester. “He wanted us to study them and then recreate them, sonically and visually, as if we were witnesses to what’s taking place. So the approach was to avoid being ‘too Hollywood’ and over-the-top with the audio.”

Sylvester gradually assembled “the real sounds you’d hear in a riot, or in a fatal confrontation with an officer,” he says. The riot chants, he adds, “are the real thing – not hyperbole. We consulted with activists to make sure it was all legit and accurate. We didn’t want to present the cops as thuggish or the rioters as bad people. But we had to keep reminding ourselves that we weren’t trying to sell an idea or keep pushing buttons, but ultimately present a personal journey.”

The team did all the mixing on the Howard Hawks stage on the Fox lot. “George really wanted the sound to set in place the feel of all the different environments,” says Giammarco. “Starr [lives in] two distinct worlds, so we used sound to create and then differentiate those. And he wanted to keep reality in place, but also play with reality and then pull away from it by using sound and music to get into her emotional, inner world.”

As Sylvester and his team compiled sound effects and turned them over to the picture editors as they were cutting, Nelson and Giammarco began to do an initial temp mix for a preview. “That gave us a sense of how it’d play with an audience, and we then could explore more ideas and get the sound exactly right for key scenes like the riot,” he explains. “So that process set a template for us, and by the time we got to the final mix, which took about three weeks, we had the time to really refine all of the ideas.”

Tillman was “very involved” during the final mix, “along with the picture editors,” he says. “It was a very collaborative, rewarding project.”

More Artisans

  • DF-10193 – L-R: Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor),

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Leads MPSE Golden Reel Awards for Sound Editing

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed up love from Cinema Audio Society sound mixers with a pair of honors at the Motion Picture Sound Editors’ 66th annual Golden Reel Awards Sunday night. The musical biopic scored wins for dialogue and ADR as well as sound editing in a musical. The film is nominated for sound editing at the Oscars [...]

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • ILM John Kroll Star Wars VFX

    Sci-Tech Awards Honored After Effects, Photoshop Developers' Major Impact on VFX

    On Feb. 9, two weeks and a day before the Oscars, the Motion Picture Academy held its annual Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards — sometimes referred to as the nerd Academy Awards — honoring achievements in motion picture technology.  The ceremony included no surprise winners — Sci-Tech kudos are announced in advance, and the achievements [...]

  • Steven Spielberg Lee Orloff Mary Jo

    Cinema Audio Society Honors Steven Spielberg, Lee Orloff and Mary Jo Lang

    At the Cinema Audio Society Awards on Feb. 16, CAS is honoring a trio of artists. The event take place at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel.   Steven Spielberg, Filmmaker Award It’s hard to overestimate the influence of the three-time Oscar winner, a towering figure in Hollywood for decades. A prolific director-producer-screenwriter, who also co-founded [...]

  • Alex Honnold being interviewed in El

    Cinema Audio Society Nominees Added Audio Realism to Film Action

    As the Cinema Audio Society heads toward the 55th CAS Awards, its nominees, who have created immersive and intoxicating work, agree that sound is becoming the new frontier in storytelling. “Today’s directors understand the importance of sound from the start,” says Doc Kane, nominated for “Black Panther,” “Incredibles 2” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” “Looping [...]

  • American Society of Cinematographers

    Cinematographers Blast Academy Response on Oscar Telecast Exclusions

    Cinematographers opposing the decision to curtail four Oscar presentations on the telecast have blasted the Academy’s latest attempt to assuage concerns about the move. The group responded Thursday to officers of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors, sending a letter Wednesday night to its membership, asserting that no award category [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content