Recording

The Sounds Behind The Hulk

Here, read outtakes from Mix senior editor Blair Jacksons conversations with re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom and co-supervising sound editor Richard 7/02/2003 8:00 AM Eastern

Here, read outtakes from Mix senior editor BlairJackson’s conversations with re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom andco-supervising sound editor Richard Hymns on the sounds behind theHulk…

Gary Rydstrom on being at a working disadvantage workingwith unfinished visuals…
“There are various states of completions,” Rydstromexplains during a break in post production at Skywalker Ranch.“[I’m currently working with] an unfinished ILM shot,before the lighting is finished and everything is completed. But forsync purposes we like to have something in there. Sometimes it’sonly basic geometric forms that give us the most fundamental sense ofwhat’s happening in the shot. Then it gets refinedlater.”

Richard Hymns on managing soundeffects…
“Gary also created a whole library of sounds for this moviewhich we put together with the New York material in one huge libraryfile and then the editors pull from all of that. So they use some NewYork sound and some Skywalker sounds, and no one will know what thecombination of those are until the final mix is over.”

Inside the mind of the Hulk: On the sonic“psychologial landscape”…
“The hardest stuff is the weirdest stuff,” Gary Rydstromsays, “like when you’re inside of Hulk’s head orthere are things happening that are kind of mind-blowing. There’sa lot flashbacks to a memory he had a child, so one of the things wetried to do is have motif sounds—things that you remember fromthe other flashbacks. There are recurring images, and for some of themthere’s no explanation for a while. So we have the same thingwith the sounds—there are wind chimes at his house whenhe’s a little boy, so wind chimes keep coming back at differenttimes to remind you of this memory—even if you don’t see[the memory], you can get inside of his head by hearing the kind ofsounds he remembers from this moment as a child. He transforms into theHulk because of the rage that’s caused by this repressed memory,so we put snippets of dialog in his head, so it becomes a psychologicallandscape. We have weird things swimming around his head, things thatsound like a voice but is not really a voice. Things that sound likegrowls but are not really growls. It was an interestingchallenge.”

Mixing the score with effects, dialog andFoley…
“We’ll just have to have our battles in the final mix,where Ang will say ‘I like more music here’ or ‘Ilike more effects here’ or ‘I want you guys to try to mixthe two,’” says Hymns. “ That’s usually thecase anyway. One of the strangest things in film, in my opinion is thelack of collaboration between composers and sound people. You’dthink they would want to get us together and be very intimate from theget-go so we could aim for different frequencies—because we arevery much governed by frequencies. If we have an explosion, wehave to take up those frequencies, whereas a composer has anoption of doing something with very high strings that would allow hismusic to sit better with the sound effects. But that’s notusually what happens. What usually happens is the composer will oftenhit the same things we will hit and then they clash.
“The first run-through [of the final] will be that mystery wherethe music mixer will be bringing up music and Gary will be bringing upeffects and neither of them will know what the other one’s gotand it’ll either be ‘Oh, that works nicely’ or‘Oh, God, what are we going to do?’ And there will be someof both, probably.”

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