Anton Newcombe and Courtney Taylor
Chace Audio in Burbank, Calif. recently wrapped up a 5.1 multichannel digital mix for DIG!, the Grand Jury Prize winner in the Documentary competition at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Ondi Timoner, the rock ‘n’ roll documentary depicts the volatile friendship between Anton Newcombe, frontman for the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Courtney Taylor, frontman for the Dandy Warhols.
DIG! premiered at Sundance with a conventional stereo soundtrack, but when nationwide theatrical distribution was secured, Chace Audio delivered a 5.1 mix, drawing further attention to each band’s music.
Chace Audio was selected by DIG! associate producer Jeff Frey and Timoner’s film company, Interloper Films, to prepare the 5.1 multichannel stereo mix for the theatrical run. Elements were brought to the facility on OMF audio files derived directly from the AVID-edited version of the film. Most of the audio files were already in stereo, though a portion was also delivered in mono.
“It was essential that the soundtrack to DIG! match the dynamic and colorful personalities of both bands,” explains Denise Eckstrom, assistant general manager for Chace Audio. “Because DIG! is a documentary, it retains a sense of gritty realism, but the 5.1 Chace Digital Stereo mix also lends power to the film’s soundtrack and puts the viewer in the midst of these unique musicians. We performed a good deal of editorial work on the element files for DIG!. When one is working with AVID and OMF, the audio transition between the individual digital files is not always exactly smooth. To make the mix even and the edits seamless and clean, our restoration and mastering engineer, Noa Lazerus, set about synching the audio to picture and filling in any gaps.”
“The most challenging thing about preparing [dialog and music] for this 5.1 mix was the diverse way in which this content was recorded. Music was recorded on several types of video formats, while recordings of live shows were taken directly from club or arena mixing boards,” Lazerus explains. “These often varied widely in quality, and contrasted with more traditional professional studio recordings made by both The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols. While much of the dialogue was recorded with the on-board camera microphones, Timoner also used a variety of small hidden mics that sometimes muffled what was being said.”
Lazerus used Cube-Tec’s Audio Cube 5 (AC-5) to clean up portions of the soundtrack that were muffled or inaudible and also to re-master the entire musical film soundtrack. The AC-5 system uses software-based Virtual Precision Instruments (VPI) which can be layered or cascaded to allow for multiple processing passes as a single real-time process. Random hiss, buzz and microphone feedback was also removed with relative ease, but capturing the soul of each group was the challenge.
The final mix session for DIG! was supervised by Timoner and associate producers Frey and Tim Rush, and completed by Chace mixer Greg Faust in Chace’s THX® pm3-certified Mix One.
For more information about Chace Audio, visit www.chace.com.