NEW YORK CITY — Audio post studio HOBO (www.hoboaudio.com) recently teamed up with mixer Tom Paul of Gigantic Studios on a new documentary for Netflix. Voyeur tells the story of a motel owner with an elaborate means of spying on his unsuspecting visitors, and the project benefits from the collaboration between the two. HOBO’s senior engineer Chris Stangroom and indie film mixer Tom Paul of Gigantic Studios have worked together in the past on the Emmy-nominated doc
Amanda Knox, (also for Netflix), and the acclaimed
Weiner, among others.
“Typically in our work with Tom, we handle dialogue editing, sound design, sound effects editing and a full 5.1 premix of all the elements,” says HOBO’s Stangroom. “For Voyeur, our focus was cleaning up the dialogue, which required a lot of technical massaging. By focusing on the quality of the dialogue, we were able to make sure that the film felt much closer to a Hollywood thriller, than an indie doc.”
Stangroom notes that the creative challenges on Voyeur centered on the massive amount of interviews recorded over the span of many years. The film’s co-directors Josh Koury and Myles Kane would frequently pull bits and pieces of audio from different interviews for inclusion in one scene. This meant that the HOBO team — which also included engineers Stephen Davies and Julian Angel — had to mold those disparate sounding interviews and segments into a single thought. The team did that by matching dialogue, EQs and intonations in language – a complex and time-consuming task.
Looking back at HOBO’s recent run of acclaimed documentary work, which in addition to Amanda Knox and
Weiner, includes audio post duties for Viceland’s acclaimed six-episode reality series
The Last Shot, Howard Bowler, HOBO’s founder/president, notes that audience expectations for sound in documentaries has risen to that of big, Hollywood films.
“HOBO’s been fortunate to be attached to some top documentaries,” Bowler says. “The reason I think filmmakers want to work with us is because first and foremost our goal is make an emotional connection to the audience through sound. Each element in the soundtrack has to have a reason and has to fit. That mindset has helped us grow exponentially, and improve the client experience as well as the work itself.”