Director Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” comes out today. I mixed this one for composer Rupert Gregson-Williams whom I love working with. The orchestra played supremely on this one! Everyone did. It’s rare I get to mix with virtually no sample instruments these days, so this one was a really pleasure. Rupert’s melodies are gorgeous, and just enhance the emotion without “telling” the audience how to feel. There is enough emotion in the film that they don’t need to be told anything. I think you will like this one!
This one was a long time in the making! I first got hired by composer John Graham to mix the trailer for this movie much earlier in the year. Came out pretty good I think…
Being able to use the composers music in the trailer is very rare, so this was very special. They loved John’s music, as they should, so it got used from the very beginning of their promotion of the game and movie. Once John finished writing the actual film score we headed to Nashville to record the orchestra at Ocean Way Studios. We had a fantastic time and the players were outstanding. We spent a week recording over 100 minutes of music. It was a blast!
Back in L.A. I mixed for 2 weeks or so then another few days on the soundtrack album. It was a super fun experience for all involved.
Had a great day at the dub for Yoga Hosers today with composer Christopher Drake and director Kevin Smith. To borrow a quote from Kevin, “it sounds expensive!” You can’t get a better compliment than that.
Anatomy of a Mix-What A Wonderful World by Esperanza Spalding
84th Academy Awards Album – Celebrate The Music
This is one of my favorite mixes that I’ve done. Hans Zimmer composed the music for the 84th Annual Oscar awards in 2012. I was honored to be part of the mixing team that one an Emmy for “Outstanding Sound Mixing” that year,
The In Memoriam, was going to be “What A Wonderful World”, my favorite song of all time!Needless to say, I wanted in on that one. I’m not sure if Esperanza ended up picking the song or if she was just chosen to sing it. Either way, it’s one of my proudest moments.
Nick Glennie-Smith did the most beautiful vocal arrangement for the song I’ve ever heard. We recorded the choir at RCP one night and I started the mix the next day. To say there were a few tracks is an understatement. We recorded all of the parts separately, multiple times so I could have control in the mix. There are so many intricate parts to Nick’s arrangement that I didn’t want anything to get hidden. The interplay between the sopranos, altos and tenors is something that should be taught in an arranging vocals class 101. As well as live choir, there are programmed voices which were done just to add a different quality to the sound, so it didn’t sound too perfect and well… choir-like. If you listen closely you can hear something that sounds like an odd vocal echo in the background. Those are the tucked in programmed bgv’s. Very cool idea on HZ’s part I thought.
Mixing Esperanza’s vocal was pretty easy. No tuning or timing involved. The track she sent us from New York was pretty amazing. I recall just putting her lead vocal through an LA-2A, for sonics more than compression, and used a bit of Waves REQ 6 to brighten her up.
My only direction from Hans was to make it sound like the ocean.No problem!
Sonically, the ocean equals filters and flanging in my vocabulary. Or at least it did that night.
For the choir, I had a lot of fun. I arranged all of the sections, sopranos, altos, tenors and basses into their own groups, than ran each group into it’s own set of a Sound Toys Filter Freak, Waves Flanger, and REQ 6.Than I automated the filter frequency, the flanger mix control and the highs and lows of the EQ of each set and rode them each differently to get this kind of wave like motion to happen. You can really hear it during the breakdown section when it’s just choir and no lead vocal, my favorite part.
It was a long 2 day mix, automating every vocal part separately, plus each filter separately so that you could hear each and every note clearly, but man it made the emotion just ooze out of the choir. That’s what mixing is to me, just amplifying the emotion. If you do that, you have a great mix!
If you’d like to hear the mix in it’s entirety, buy it here on iTunes. It’s certainly worth the .99 cents!
Just a quick post today letting you know that “The Frozen Ground”, starring John Cusack and Nicolas Cage is out on Netflix. This one went under the radar so not many people know about it. It’s based on a true story and Cusack plays a really convincing baddy. The composer was Lorne Balfe and I actually mixed this one in Lorne’s room at Remote Control. There just wasn’t time to print stems and what not, so I mixed it in Cubase.
I really wanted to keep this as dynamic as possible so that the desolate scenes in the wilds of Alaska would stay erie. It was easy to do with Lorne’s writing. He really understands the dynamics of the picture and when and where to get dramatic and where to just put a solo violin line that makes an already tense scene, really uncomfortable, in the best possible way! Check out “Remember Her” on the soundtrack. It’s one of my favorites from the film.
This is definitely worth the watch, so put it in your cue this weekend!