Tag Archives: Sound Mixing

And another new release: Hounds of Love

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Hounds of Love, now playing in cinemas across Australia, was written and directed by Ben Young and is his first feature film. After premiering at the Venice Film Festival, the film has propelled Ben’s career onto the world stage, and he is already directing big-budget American movie Extinction.

The film has had great reviews all over the world, including 4 out of 5 stars from Australia’s leading film critic, David Stratton. This is not a film for everyone but, as one critic said, ‘brave audiences will be rewarded’.

My role on the film was the sound design and mix. As the subject matter is very confronting, the film was a great sound challenge. Much of the action is implied rather than on the screen., and the film relies on the soundtrack to tell the story.

For the house backgrounds, I used all natural sounds—cars, birds, etc.—so that the atmosphere feels ‘normal’. This changes as the camera moves into the room where the girl is held: I shut down all the natural sounds and used low room tones to make it feel tense and isolated.

Planes play a role in the soundtrack. We wanted it to feel that the girl was not too far from home, where planes are heard all the time. I also used the sound of a jet, rather than music, as a tension device in a key scene towards the end of the film.

As there are a lot of screams in the film, much work went into ensuring that they didn’t feel repetitive.

The foley was done by John Simpson of FeetnFrames, who did a masterful job on the chains used to restrain the girl. The actors all walk around the house in bare feet, and so to make it more menacing, I asked John to re-create the footsteps by walking on creaky floorboards, especially in the hall approaching the bedroom.

By the time I got to do the final mix with Ben, I had become desensitised to the shock elements of the film to the extent that I could concentrate on getting each scene as tense or as light as required. We had a lot of fun trying all sorts of elements to see what felt right. Having watched the responses of film audiences since it was released, I think we got it pretty right.

 

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Hotel Coolgardie has opened to great critical acclaim; see David Stratton’s review.

More on Hotel Coolgardie in the next post.

 

 

 

I have also just finished work on a film by Ben Elton called Three Summers—a fun romantic comedy, very different from the experience of working on Hounds of Love!

 

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Farewell to 2014—a great year

2014 was a year to remember for me, book-ended by two national sound awards.

The year began with an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) award for Best Sound in a Documentary for Desert War: Episode 1 ‘Tobruk’. Desert War was produced by Electric Pictures and was aired by ABC TV, BBC2 and BBC Scotland.

Desert War is the account of the siege of Tobruk, told by the people who were there and portrayed through historical re-enactments. Mixing the re-enacted war scenes was one of the greatest challenges of the project.

The sound team also included Glenn Martin, Ash Gibson Greig, Ash Charlton and Chris Bollard.

Ash Charlton, Glenn Martin, Ash Gibson Greig, Ric Curtin

Ash Charlton, Glenn Martin, Ash Gibson Greig, Ric Curtin

The year was capped off with the 2014 Australian Screen Sound Guild award for Best Sound in a Documentary for The Search for the Ocean’s Super Predator. Produced by Sea Dog TV International, this documentary was aired by ABC TV, National Geographic Channel Europe, NHK, TVNZ, Al Rayyan TV and Smithsonian Channel.

In The Search for the Ocean’s Super Predator, a super predator’s underwater attack leads investigators to a mysterious natural phenomenon that attracts the ocean’s most fearsome predators. The dialogue was a particular challenge, as much the program was shot on a working boat, in windy conditions. All of the underwater sound was replaced, and the documentary was mixed in 5.1 surround. You can view the full program here.

The sound team also included Glenn Martin, Ash Charlton and Steve Trowbridge.

Both projects were dialogue edited and mixed using Pyramix, Tango, Horus and Frank Hinton’s Grover Notting Code 4 speakers.

It was a privilege to work on these excellent projects, and congratulations must go to the production companies and to my colleagues.

 

 

 

 

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