New York is the documentary capital of the country, with more docs made and finished here than any other part of the country. Many of those docs make their way into festivals and theaters, as well as onto cable TV or a VOD channel.
Doing great work with a documentary means treating the audio, digital elements and all the rest with the same level of care that you would some project coming out of one of the traditional Hollywood studios. You don’t let scratchy audio pass by unless that sound is a key part of the drama.
A local post house like HOBO can make sure its audio is working for a feature doc like “Weiner” by first making sure its own HOBO engineers (in this case Chris Stangroom, Stephen Davies and Julian Angel) fixed much of the pic, and then turning to other experts like the folks at boutique audio house Gigantic Post. They’re the ones who helped make the audio more integral to the storyline by cleaning up the mix of scratchy old news footage, crackling phone calls and more.
Here’s a press release that gives a sense of what went into prepping the audio of this Sundance award winner:
HOBO Partners With Gigantic Post On Audio For Sundance Winning Doc “Weiner”
Audio Team Helps Cut The Noise And Create City Life Ambiences For Revealing New Film Currently In Theaters, VOD And Premium Cable Showtime In Fall
NEW YORK, NY — One of the surprise hits on the film festival circuit this year has been the documentary “Weiner,” the all-too-revealing inside look behind the failed New York City mayoral campaign of former Congressman Anthony Weiner that took home the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Enhancing the aural impact was HOBO engineers Chris Stangroom, Stephen Davies and Julian Angel, who each played a key role in the film’s audio postproduction.
Directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, “Weiner” is currently playing in theaters and on VOD, and will premiere on Showtime in October.
While the HOBO team focused on the film’s dialogue and sound effects, it was Supervising Sound Editor and Re-recording Mixer Tom Paul of Gigantic Post, New York, who was key, the mixer with the ear who could make the diverse, documentary sources work together as they should. As with most documentaries, the verite style of the film and the varied audio sources used, proved challenging for dialogue editor Stangroom.
“A lot of the audio sources we were dealing with came from old news footage, cell phone cameras and the filmmakers themselves were shooting in guerilla style,” Stangroom says. “We needed to clean all that up – the harsh drones, crackles and blaring sounds of city life. More so than other film genres, nobody pays attention to the audio in docs unless something sounds wrong. Making sure all of the source audio was as clean as possible was paramount.”
HOBO has worked on numerous other indie documentaries including “Documented,” “The Education Of Mohammad Hussein” and “Breaking A Monster,” as well as several reality TV series, including Discovery’s popular series “Gold Rush” and AMC’s “Making of the Mob.” They most recently teamed with Paul and Gigantic Studios on the indie films “The Seventh Fire” and “Tomorrow We Disappear.”
While Stangroom was immersed in the dialogue, HOBO’s Davies and Angel worked on the overall sound effects, which meant confronting a wide range of extraneous noises and layering subtle, yet crucial, ambiences of city life soundscapes to create a natural mood that allows viewers to focus in on the story.
“Julian and I concentrated on finding the right city ambiences to use, and layering them so they sounded natural and believable,” Davies says. “The challenge sonically was to make it all feel like one cohesive world.”
The Sounds of Brooklyn:
Never was that more key than in the scene involving Weiner yelling into a bullhorn while marching in New York’s Caribbean Festival, a particularly noisy and crowded event held every summer in Brooklyn.
“The parade scene was complex because of the extreme noise level,” Angel notes. “Weiner is yelling into the megaphone, the crowds are almost louder than he is, and booming music from the floats are everywhere, and yet somehow we had to clear out all of that noise and focus on what Weiner was actually saying, and more importantly what the scene represents in the context of the film.”
Adds HOBO President Howard Bowler, ”Filmmaking is a collaborative job with every company contributing creatively to make it work,” he says. “Through sound, we help to pull audiences into the story and keep them entertained and engaged.”
HOBO is an audio post production company dedicated to creating an exceptional listening experience. The company has earned the trust of some of the most iconic brands and companies in the world. Make yourself at HOBO.
Click here for more info about HOBO: www.hoboaudio.com
Click here to see the “Weiner” trailer:https://youtu.be/nJ4FIGnJknk
Click here to see the “Weiner” IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5278596/