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Oscar-nominated sound editors, mixers share insights with AES LA section

By Mel Lambert

A recent meeting of the Audio Engineering Society’s Los Angeles section offered an opportunity to hear from a number of Oscar nominees and winners as they shared their experiences while preparing dramatic film soundtracks, including how the various sound elements were secured, edited and mixed to picture, plus the types of hardware used in editorial suites and dubbing stages.

Whiplash, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, was re-recorded on Technicolor at Paramount’s Stage 4 by dialog/music mixer Craig Mann and sound effects mixer Ben Wilkins (see our interview with Wilkins), using tracks secured on location by production mixer Thomas Curley. Mann and Wilkins also served as co-supervising sound editors on the film, which was the creative team’s first Oscar win. The film also won a BAFTA Award for Film Sound.

L-R: Andrew DeCristofaro, Ginge Cox  and Craig Mann.

L-R: Andrew DeCristofaro, Ginge Cox and Craig Mann.

“Each location in Unbroken represented a very different aspect of [Olympian war hero] Louis Zamperini’s emotional journey as he went from national hero to castaway to prisoner subjected to horrific abuse, and back again,” co-supervising sound editors Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro told CineMontage in their Winter 2015 issue. “We were equal parts daunted and thrilled to tackle the challenge of creating so many unique soundscapes.” In addition to this first-time Oscar nomination, Sullivan and DeCristofaro also won an MPSE Golden Reel Award for Dialog/ADR and an MPSE nomination for Sound Effects/Foley for Unbroken. Check out our interview with Sullivan and DeCristofaro here.

Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman served as co-supervising sound editors on director Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, which was re-recorded on Warner Bros. Studio Services’ Stage 10 with Gregg Rudloff handling sound effects and John Reitz overseeing dialog and music. Murray and Asman previously shared a Sound Editing Oscar for Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), while for Rudloff and Reitz American Sniper represented the sixth Academy Award nomination for the team that has worked together for over 30 years. They both secured an Oscar for The Matrix (2000), with Rudloff earning an earlier one for Glory (1990).

The AES Meeting, which attracted 100-plus attendees, also featured various clips from Whiplash, Unbroken and American Sniper, with the panelists describing in detail their creative intentions during sound design and subsequent re-rerecording.

Main Photo Caption: 
L-R:  AES co-presenter Mel Lambert; Alan Robert Murray, who won an Oscar for sound editing on American Sniper; Gregg Rudloff, effects re-recording mixer on the Oscar-nominated American Sniper; Andrew DeCristofaro and Becky Sullivan, who served as co-supervising sound editors on the Oscar-nominated Unbroken; re-recording mixer Craig Mann and production mixer Thomas Curley, who won sound mixing Oscars for Whiplash; John Reitz, who handled dialog and music re-recording for American Sniper, and AES co-presenter Ginge Cox from White Light Audio.

Mel Lambert is principal of Content Creators, an LA-based copywriting and editorial service, and can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MelLambertLA

Images by Jan Bezouska/White Light Audio; courtesy of AES LA Section

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