Surrounded

Posted by · 12:53 am · July 19th, 2011

I would love to have attended last week’s Dolby seminar “Surrounded: 7.1 Cinema and Beyond.” I’ve been eager to read more about it, but unfortunately it seems the press that did attend haven’t bothered covering it in any real fashion (unless I’m missing something). Leave it to the folks at SoundWorks Collection to cut out […]

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On the sound of ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’

Posted by · 7:18 pm · June 28th, 2011

I think “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” will be back for the full trio of Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects at the Oscars this year, after the franchise’s second installment managed only one of those. The sound work in particular is once again top notch, one of the most carefully […]

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TECH SUPPORT: ‘Inception’ dominates below the line

Posted by · 8:47 am · February 28th, 2011

So, the morning after a terrible prediction record at this year’s Oscars, I’ll try to make some sense of what the Academy told us, and what it means for the crafts artists we got to know along the circuit this year. As the evening went on, many people began to wonder if “The Social Network” […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Sound Editing

Posted by · 9:57 am · February 11th, 2011

A few years back the sound branch did away with the bake-off process of determining its nominees for Best Sound Editing and the field was expanded to five. The visual effects branch followed suit this year and, maybe some day, the makeup branch will do the same. The sound branch is unique in that it […]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: ‘Salt’ sound re-recording mixer Greg P. Russell and ‘Unstoppable’ supervising sound editor Mark P. Stoeckinger

Posted by · 4:13 pm · February 3rd, 2011

When Oscar voters spoke up last Tuesday, two intriguing craft category nominations stuck out, both coming from the same branch: Mark P. Stoeckinger’s third bid to date for the sound editing of “Unstoppable” and Greg P. Russell’s fourteenth — yes, fourteenth — for the sound mixing of “Salt.” The Academy’s sound branch consists of 405 […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Analyzing the nominees

Posted by · 11:53 am · January 28th, 2011

So the 83rd Annual Academy Award nominations were finally announced this week, and I did fairly well in handicapping the nominees. Outside of Best Sound Mixing, I never missed more than one nominee in a category. Unfortunately, there were no categories where I scored 100% (apart from Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay). Oh well. […]

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MPSE last industry organization to nominate

Posted by · 4:08 pm · January 20th, 2011

Save for the Academy, of course.  And you can find sound editors’ picks at The Circuit. Just about every possible competitor was chalked up (and it’s the sound effects and foley category that tends to shed the most light).  Check out the breakdown of hopefuls, as always, at the film’s dedicated Contenders page here. “Black […]

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On the sound of ‘Black Swan’

Posted by · 9:03 am · December 14th, 2010

One of the most under-appreciated (I think) aspects of Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” this year is the sound design. It’s a film that evokes not just an atmosphere but an overall experience, and a lot of that has to do with booming Tchaikovsky as well as suggestive aural effects. So, leave it to the wonderful […]

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On the sound of ‘TRON Legacy’

Posted by · 8:50 am · December 7th, 2010

For me, “TRON Legacy” is all about what you hear, and how you hear it.  The team at Skywalker Sound did a hell of a job creating a dynamic and unique aural environment.  In my opinion, it’s tops in both sound categories for the year. So, naturally, I delighted in the SoundWorks Collection’s recent piece […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: Weinstein takes the gloves off, Hollywood mourns its own, doc and animated fields shortlisted

Posted by · 11:10 am · November 20th, 2010

• The Academy honored legends Francis Ford Coppola, Eli Wallach, Jean-Luc Godard and Kevin Brownlow at the annual Governors Awards. • Kris attended a Summit Entertainment holiday party, chatting with the talent in attendance. • Disney revealed a clever plan geared toward presenting “Toy Story 3” as a legitimate Best Picture contender. • The Weinstein […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Sound Editing — Volume II

Posted by · 10:06 am · November 18th, 2010

Last week we discussed how a movie’s soundtrack can be immeasurably improved by music.  This week, we turn to the sound technicians.  While next week will concentrate on sound mixing (the overall mix of effects, recorded sounds, dialogue and music), this week we look at sound editing, the creation of artificial sound effects to enhance […]

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‘Scott Pilgrim’ vs. the sound

Posted by · 1:54 pm · August 17th, 2010

I want to take a moment to note that, regardless of my feelings on the film, I’m really bummed about the box office performance of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” not least of all because Edgar Wright is one of the good guys.  He’s making movies for all the right reasons. In any case, it’s […]

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On the sound of ‘Salt’

Posted by · 2:04 pm · July 26th, 2010

The most recent predictions update substituted “The Last Airbender” (which failed miserably with critics) with “Salt” in the sound categories, and it wasn’t blind speculation. After all, the sound crew consists of such multi-lauded talents as Scott Millan and Greg P. Russell. Russell, as you know, has racked up some 13 nominations without a win. […]

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On the sound of ‘Inception’

Posted by · 12:02 pm · July 20th, 2010

I totally meant to post this over the weekend as it’s been live since Saturday. Alas, I forgot. I’ve been high on the guys at SoundWorks Collection since I stumbled across their work last year. As you know, we’ve always been concerned with shining a proper spotlight on below-the-line efforts in filmmaking. SoundWorks Collection focuses […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Diving right back in

Posted by · 11:36 am · July 8th, 2010

Here we go again.  We just said goodbye to the 2009 film awards season four months ago, yet here we are, halfway through 2010 and ready to kick the tires on Tech Support, a unique feature here at In Contention. Tech Support, for those unaware, seeks to highlight below-the-line talent on films.  We offer space […]

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On the sound of ‘Toy Story 3’

Posted by · 10:07 pm · June 26th, 2010

It’s been a while since I linked over to the guys at SoundWorks Collection, who consistently do a marvelous job of conveying the intricacies of sound design, editing and mixing with making-of vignettes.  Most recently they turned their gaze to Pixar’s “Toy Story 3,” which boasts talents like Michael Semanick, Tom Meyers and Michael Silvers […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Final stretch, final predictions

Posted by · 8:26 pm · March 4th, 2010

Well, here we are. On Sunday, the statuettes for the Oscars will handed out. It seems difficult to remember that it was eight months ago when we started looking at the categories for the first time. Today, let’s take one last look at the crafts categories to see where we stand. Best Art Direction (Oscar […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Sound Editing

Posted by · 10:43 am · February 16th, 2010

This year marked the first year in recent memory that the Motion Picture Sound Editors offered up its list of nominees prior to the Oscar nominations announcement rather than after. Generally that batch of tea leaves is therefore elusive for those of us looking for indicators along the way. Nevertheless, there wasn’t a huge shift […]

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