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April 2014
Issue: October 1, 2013

Editor's Letter: Film, Sound & More...

By: Marc Loftus
I was lucky enough to attend the premier of Warner Bros.’ Gravity last month. The outer-space feature starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as Space Shuttle astronauts, who get stranded during a mission, was presented in both Stereo 3D and with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

Atmos is a relatively new cinema sound platform (Brave was the first Atmos release) that allows for incredibly-accurate panning of sound elements. The format employs up to 64 speakers, including numerous overhead. In the case of Gravity, the mixers at Warner Bros. were able to place sounds inside and outside the characters’ spacesuits, as well as around them and the shuttle. The sound, paired with 3D effects, created a very believable feeling of weightlessness in outer space.



This month, Jennifer Walden looks at a number of recent films that have used new sound formats to help tell their story and further immerse the audience in the theatrical experience. Check out the “Audio for Films” feature in the print issue.

Also on the film front, Iain Blair caught up with Ron Howard to discuss work on the director’s latest feature, Rush. The Universal film centers around a mid-‘70s chase for the Formula 1 title and represents Howard’s first “all-digital” film. He shot on Arri’s Alexa and captured a ton of footage, which made the edit a challenge. Turn to page 10 of the print issue to read all of Howard’s thoughts on the production and post process. 

In a bonus “Director’s Chair” this month, I talked with writer, director, actor and musician Billy Bob Thornton, who recently completed work on Jayne Mansfield’s Car, an Anchor Bay Films feature set in the south, back in 1969. Thornton worked both sides of the camera for this project, and details his affinity for film, as well as the edit process, which took place at his home in Los Angeles. Our conversation can be found on page 12 of the print issue.

But it’s not all about film in this issue. Christine Bunish looks at “VFX for Commercials” (page 20), including MPC’s work on a new Kia spot that introduces some very sharp-looking hamsters, as seen on our cover. She also took some time to dive into the world of primetime post, catching up with the pros that work on television shows such as The Good Wife, Longmire, Modern Family and Banshee, among others. Our “Posting TV Series” feature can be found on page 16 of the print issue.

And there is news, product announcements and recent work highlighted throughout the issue. Enjoy!