Friday, March 06, 2009

Sound for Picture: "Watchmen"

Sound for "Watchmen" is featured in Mix Magazine March 2009 (by Blair Jackson).
Some excerpts from the article:

It was an immense sound job, as well, and for that end of things Zack Snyder tapped much of the same team he'd worked with on 300 and also his 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, including supervising sound editor Scott Hecker, sound designer Eric Norris, FX re-recording mixer Frank Montaño, and dialog and music re-recording mixer Chris Jenkins. (Montaño and Jenkins were nominated for a 2009 Oscar for their mixing work on action thriller Wanted). The music score was by Tyler Bates, another veteran of Snyder's earlier films.

“The whole main title [sequence] is a subversion of recent American history.” Jenkins adds. “All the iconic images that you knew growing up from the '30s and '40s are subverted, and then music is subverted, sounds are subverted, and all of a sudden you're establishing right away you're going to break all the rules, that it's okay to break rules as far as sound goes. So whether it's with music or sound design or dialog, you have this huge license — 12 or 15 minutes into the movie, all bets are off.”

The team did four temp mixes — the first three for studio executives, the last for a regular audience — and along the way they managed to get the film into good enough shape that the final mix wasn't nearly as taxing as it sometimes is. Of course, there was the usual situation of having to adjust sounds along the way as visual effects came in, but mostly director Snyder liked the direction the sound was heading throughout the process and his comments were minimal. With Bates' music, too, the sketches he offered and the temp music that was selected made it so there were no rude surprises when the final score came in.

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