Mixing the ‘Man of Steel’

HWe’ve written about how the sound came together on both “Les Miserables” and “The Hobbit” last year, and now that the Superman franchise has been revived once again, we’ll take a look at how the sound on “Man of Steel” was put together.

The folks over at Soundworks Collection have put together a great video starring the sound team of the movie, speaking on how they created the sounds of not only earth, but also Krypton for the movie.Superman

The worlds of music audio and movie audio are fairly distinct, but there is some interesting overlap between the two. For one thing, when you look at the control room during the mixing phase of audio for a music album or sound for a film, you’re likely to see the exact same scene: an engineer sitting in front of a computer with multiple tracks pulled up in Pro Tools (or the DAW of choice).

One of the biggest differences is the fact that movies have to be mixed for surround sound, and “Man of Steel” was mixed with a new Dolby Atmos technology that actually allows for even more directions of audio, including front-to-back and up-and-down in addition to left-and-right. But when it comes down to it, this is all just a balancing act the same way records are: making sure all parts are clear and audible where they need to be, with no frequencies blocking out sounds that need to be heard.

In fact, one of the engineers working on the film describes how they often had to work with the orchestral score of the film, and how they had to make the score work with the dialog and other sounds of the film. He describes the process of basically surrounding the primarily dialog and sound effects of the film with music, creating the effect of a “cathedral” with the music around the main sounds.

In addition to this, the engineers got to have a little fun creating the sound effects of the movie, and it’s pretty interesting to see their tricks revealed. For example, they employed a crane to drop a 9,000 lbs. piece of concrete over and over again, recording it each time. Additionally, some of those crazy and weird noises that make up the background noise of Krypton? It’s actually just very small pieces of rock being dropped over a toy xylophone.

Check out the video explaining more about mixing for film in the video.