Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Composing with Sound: A Conversation with HPA Award Winners Mark Mangini and Ron Bartlett

15/06/2023

Dune: Part One, the most recent big-screen incarnation of Frank Herbert's iconic sci-fi novel, was a hit with fans and critics alike when it was released in the fall of 2021. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, the film was a box office sensation, made several of the year's Top 10 film lists, was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning six, and received numerous other accolades.

One of its Academy Awards was for Best Sound with Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett taking home Oscars. The sound team also netted the 2022 HPA Award for Outstanding Sound - Theatrical Feature.

Mangini and Bartlett first partnered with Villeneuve on Blade Runner 2049 in 2017. Mangini, a sound designer and supervising sound editor, won a 2015 Academy Award with David White for Mad Max: Fury Road. Bartlett, a re-recording mixer, received an Oscar nomination for his work on Life of Pi.

Both Mangini and Bartlett had been fans of Villeneuve and the way the director uses sound in his films. It was clear that his appreciation for sound dramatically informs his filmmaking, says Mangini. When we first met, it was readily apparent how important sound is to his creative process in the many non-traditional ways he works: He engages sound during filming to build during the shoot and the edit, he encouraged us to compose' with sound, and he facilitated early collaboration between VFX and sound to work symbiotically, [with] each informing the other.

That approach encouraged Mangini to think much more narratively with sound design, working towards using sound to support story ideas rather than being simply diegetic, he explains. In addition, it validated what I had always felt to be true, that sound can be a very economical storytelling tool when used imaginatively.

Sound's role in storytelling also impacted how the sound team worked with editor Joe Walker, who won an Academy Award for Dune: Part One, his fourth collaboration with Villeneuve.

Joe is wonderful to work with and very knowledgable about sound since he is a composer and pianist as well. This creative musical sense, and the fact tht we can communicate in musical terms as well as film terms, makes him quite a unique film editor, notes Bartlett. Mangini agrees, adding that, Joe has a great ear for sound, having been a sound editor himself. This only improved the contribution sound could make to the film as Joe had a fundamental understanding of what was possible.

Bartlett explains that Walker creates an audio track in his Avid that is quite filled out. He and Denis both love to work with a good audio track that helps inform their cut of the film as they go along. Having sound editorial on the project so early really helped facilitate this - I wish more films were done this way.

The frequent pairing of Villeneuve and Walker means that the editor evinced all the same progressive ideas that Denis encouraged, Mangini points out. Joe asked us to build sound as he constructed the edit and, often, these sounds would inform his edit. That might beget a cyclical exchange of work where, after ingesting sound we had designed, he would recut to maximize the impact of the sound, then send it back to us for improvement. Rinse and repeat. True collaboration.

Since most of the film takes place in the desert of Arrakis, sand plays a crucial role in Dune: Part One. Sand crawlers harvesting spice, the Fremen people popping up in fights and the giant worms traveling through the dunes like water gave us quite a lot to create and incorporate new recordings involving sand, Bartlett says.

Mangini notes that, sand is a uniquely difficult sound to record and mix. It's very broad-band' and can easily sound like tape hiss. We recorded all manner of sand sounds in the Mojave desert to capture as much source material as possible, hoping to use these very authentic captures as grist for future design.

This recording session led to the development of several key sounds like the thumpers' that summon the worms and the waves of sand seen as the worm furrows under the ground. In fact, during the final mix, [re-recording mixer] Doug Hemphill noticed how similar these roiling waves' of sand looked to actual ocean waves. We found out from VFX supervisor Paul Lambert, that they used ocean waves as visual models for these shots. Doug very astutely had us add actual wave and surf sounds to cement the illusion.

The Voice, the ancient audio-neuro control tool used to influence people and things, was the design project that took the longest to sort out, almost 14 months, with Ron putting the finishing creative touches on it in the final mix, reports Mangini. Until then, we were still searching for a way to make it work.

Theo Green and I had developed the idea that to summon The Voice, one summoned the collective voice and wisdom of one's ancestors. We recorded and designed ancestral voices' not only as replacement voices for [hero character] Paul's but as clouds of voices swimming in the ether. To add weight and power, Theo developed a clever use of subwoofer enhancement that undergirded Paul's utterances and tracked the modulation of his voice. The coup de grace came from Joe while he was experimenting with the breakfast scene when Paul tries out The Voice for the first time. He slipped the sync so that Paul uttered the words but his voice came seconds after we see him speak on screen. Denis loved this idea, and it became the template for all future Voice work.

Bartlett recalls that many early attempts at The Voice were rejected by Villeneuve and says that actually was the best thing that could have happened! Denis loves to let us try out things and if they fail, it just means we have to dig deeper and get more creative. This led to all of us adding i
LINK: https://hpaonline.com/composing-with-sound-a-conversation-with-hpa-awa...
See more stories from hpa

More from Hollywood Post Alliance

23/05/2024

AND THE WINNER IS TRIBUTE TO POST HPA's HOMAGE TO THE INDUSTRY HONORED WITH 4 TELLY AWARDS

As the 2023 HPA Awards were taking shape last year, in the aftermath of the pand...

23/05/2024

Time to Get Your Submissions Ready: HPA Awards Creative Categories Open June 3!

By HPA Staff The call for submissions for the HPA Engineering Excellence Awards is already open, and closes soon on June 14; but the submission period for crea...

23/05/2024

Great Things Happen After Dark

By Christine Purse One of the most compelling discussions at the 2024 HPA Tech Retreat happened off stage with no audience present. After hours, while the room...

01/05/2024

QTAKE Pioneers Live 3D Stream to Apple Vision Pro

QTAKE, the leading video assist and on-set collaboration software trusted by professional filmmakers worldwide, launched a new cutting-edge feature at NAB 2024....

01/05/2024

LA County Opens Entertainment Business Interruption Fund Grant Program for Small Business, LAEDC Offers Updates

In HPA's ongoing focus on providing input and insight from city and county g...

01/05/2024

Trailblazing AI Storytelling by Empowering Storytellers: Curious Refuge

HPA Newsline had the opportunity to speak with Caleb and Shelby Ward, founders of Curious Refuge. Caleb and Shelby were participants in the 2024 HPA Tech Retrea...

23/04/2024

Calling All Visionaries: Enter the 2024 HPA Engineering Excellence Awards

Submissions for the 2024 HPA Engineering Excellence Awards are now being accepted. This renowned accolade recognizes and celebrates innovation and outstanding t...

29/03/2024

QTAKE Introduces Cutting-Edge Innovations for Filmmakers.

QTAKE, the leading video assist software trusted by professional filmmakers worldwide, is proud to announce the release of its latest software update, introduci...

29/03/2024

Talking Generative AI with Corridor Digital's Niko Pueringer

By: Alyssa Heater The 2024 HPA Tech Retreat, now in its 29th year, showcased a program chock full of presentations, panels, and roundtables spanning a wealth o...

29/03/2024

The HPA Awards Engineering Excellence Awards: Grab the Brass Ring

Launched in 2006, the HPA Awards were designed to honor the creative and technical genius that power our industry. At that time, the behind-the-scenes talent th...

05/03/2024

SMPTE and the IMF User Group Have Joined Forces

SMPTE , the home of media professionals, technologists, and engineers, has joined forces with the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) User Group (UG), a worldwide...

29/02/2024

Unbreaking an Industry Begins with Honest Conversations and Better Collaboration

The industry is at breaking point in the midst of seismic change but it can survive if stakeholders act collectively starting now, urged Jeff Rosica, Presiden...

29/02/2024

HPA President Seth Hallen Entreats Media Professionals to Lead During Era of Transformative Change

This year, I believe we are starting a new chapter, actually an entirely new pla...

29/01/2024

Nurturing Next Gen Talent: Welcoming the 2024 Young Entertainment Professionals

In the ever-evolving landscape of the media and entertainment industry, a spotlight is cast on the Young Entertainment Professionals (YEP) program. Selected ann...

29/01/2024

HPA Tech Retreat and MovieLabs share vision for profound change

By Adrian Pennington As HPA's Tech Retreat approaches its 30th anniversary in 2025, the event appears to be even more relevant and stronger than ever. With...

21/12/2023

Art Directors Guild Will Induct Legendary Production Designer Lawrence G. Paull Into ADG Hall Of Fame

The Art Directors Guild (ADG, IATSE Local 800) will bestow its Hall of Fame Hono...

21/12/2023

The HPA's Tribute to Post Short Film Shines Light on the Post-Production Community

2023 marked a year of immense challenge for the entertainment industry. The WGA ...

21/12/2023

A Sneak Peek at HPA Tech Retreat 2024

By Debra Kaufman The HPA Tech Retreat is always a must-attend event and this year's - the 29th annual Retreat - is no exception. With robust signups alread...

21/12/2023

Motion Picture Sound Editors to Honor Supervising Sound Editor/Sound Designer Dane A. Davis, MPSE with Career Achievement Award

The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) today announce that it will honor Superv...

14/12/2023

HPA Tech Retreat 2024 Unveils Groundbreaking Supersession

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has revealed programming details for the highly anticipated HPA Tech Retreat Supersession. This year, the Tech Retr...

05/12/2023

HPA Tech Retreat Announces Program Details for 2024 Event

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) is set to embark on an extraordinary journey as it reveals the dynamic and expansive program for its much-anticipat...

30/11/2023

The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) will honor Award-winning Director/Writer/Producer Michael Dinner with its annual Filmmaker Award

Dinner served as executive producer/showrunner/director for multiple series incl...

30/11/2023

Celebrating Excellence: Highlights from the 2023 HPA Awards

The glitz and glamour of the post-production world took center stage earlier this week at the Television Academy's Wolf Theatre at the HPA Awards. This pres...

30/11/2023

In Wake of Strikes, HPA Focuses on Industry Recovery

By Debra Kaufman Both the writers and actors strikes are over, after 148 days and 146 days, respectively, but the damage has been done. According to CNN, as of...

29/11/2023

HPA Awards Unveil Creative Category Winners

Los Angeles, CA - The HPA Awards turned the spotlight on the exemplary contributions of the post production industry tonight, honoring work in color grading, so...

30/10/2023

Sphere: The Future of Immersive Entertainment Wins Prestigious Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation

Sphere, a groundbreaking next-generation entertainment medium in Las Vegas, has ...

30/10/2023

HPA Tech Retreat 2024 TR-X to Focus on Extreme Production

By Debra Kaufman Earlier this year, HPA board member Mark Chiolis, Mobile TV Group director of business development, heard a story of an extreme sports product...

30/10/2023

American Cinema Editors (ACE) Announces Eligibility Dates, Ceremony Venue And Voting Timeline For The 74th Annual ACE Eddie Awards

American Cinema Editors (ACE) has announced the ceremony date, venue and the ful...

30/10/2023

Cinema Audio Society Opens Awards Submissions for the 60th Annual CAS Awards

Submissions are now being accepted for the 60th Annual Cinema Audio Society (CAS) Awards at www.cinemaaudiosociety.com. All entries must be received by 5 p.m. P...

27/10/2023

HPA Honors Sphere with The Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation

The HPA Awards committee is delighted to announce that Sphere, the next-generation entertainment medium that recently opened in Las Vegas, has been awarded the ...

03/10/2023

HPA Awards Announce 2023 Creative Category Nominations

Updated October 25, 2023 Award date and venue information revised. The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Awards Committee today announced nominees for ...

29/09/2023

Transformative AI Insights from Wasabi and GrayMeta to Power Next Generation Fan Experiences

Wasabi hot cloud storage is purpose-built to store the world's data. Wasabi ...

29/09/2023

Sohonet Unveils Advanced Collaboration Tools at IBC 2023

Sohonet, the global experts in media collaboration for the film and TV industry, announce a series of significant product updates set to redefine and streamline...

29/09/2023

SMPTE Hollywood to Focus on Best Practices in HDR/SDR Workflows

SMPTE Hollywood Section will explore best practices for HDR/SDR workflows at its October meeting. Hosted by SMPTE Hollywood Section and Colorist Society Hollywo...

29/09/2023

Insider Chat: ASC President Shelly Johnson Talks Upcoming Plans for the Organization

By Alyssa Heater Shelly Johnson was elected president of the esteemed American ...

31/08/2023

Navigating Crisis: HPA's Commitment to the Media Supply Chain

By Seth Hallen, HPA President In our recently issued open letter, HPA voiced profound concern for the survival of the media creation supply chain. Our post-pro...

31/08/2023

NAGRA Leads Industry to Navigate the Disruption' at IBC 2023

NAGRA, a KudelskiGroup (SIX:KUD.S) company and the world's leading independent provider of content protection and multiscreen television solutions, will sho...

31/08/2023

A Fresh Experience at HPA Tech Retreat 2024

When HPA Tech Retreat 2024 arrives in February, it comes back with all the remarkable features that always make it an unparalleled event. It's about profoun...

16/08/2023

HPA Award for Engineering Excellence Winners Announced

Updated October 25, 2023 Award date and venue information revised. A trio of recipients have been honored with the 2023 HPA Award for Engineering Excellence, ...

01/08/2023

HPA Tech Retreat 2024 Opens Call for Proposals for Main Program and Breakfast Roundtables

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has issued a call for proposals for...

28/07/2023

Blackmagic Cloud Powers Remote Post Production on Feature Film This Closeness

Blackmagic Design announced that post production for the independent film This Closeness relied on a remote, collaborative Blackmagic Cloud driven workflow. W...

28/07/2023

Backlight Introduces New Features and Workflow Integrations at SIGGRAPH

Global media and entertainment technology company Backlight has introduced several new features and workflow integrations across its creative-centric product li...

28/07/2023

Key Code Media Expands West Coast with New Bay Area and Portland Offices

Key Code Media, a leading provider of audiovisual integration and production equipment solutions, is pleased to announce the opening of two new offices on the W...

28/07/2023

AMIA to Present Copyright Symposium August 7

Archives and copyright remain inextricably linked. As technologies change, copyright continues to evolve through court rulings and legislative changes both nati...

28/07/2023

HPA Member Event Series: Virtual Production

HPA is proud to present two seminars focusing on virtual production, supported by member companies ROE Visual and Mo-Sys. Both events have limited capacity and ...

27/07/2023

Eluvio Provides Multimedia Web3 Movie Experience for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment's The Flash

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, in partnership with content blockchain pioneer ...

27/07/2023

Panavision President and CEO Kim Snyder Set for Women in Post August Lunch

Kim Snyder, president and CEO of Panavision, will be the featured speaker during the HPA Women in Post summer lunch at Marino Ristorante in Hollywood on August ...

27/07/2023

The Industry Best Get Ready to Judge Awards 2023

Updated October 25, 2023 Award date information revised. By Christine Purse The HPA Awards have honored creatives and technologists since 2006, growing to be...