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Skywalker Sound, Mixing Team, and DFC Create Sound for Speilberg's A.I.

(July 30, 2001)
AMS Neve Announced that Steven Spielberg's A.I. was was mixed on Skywalker Sound's newly installed AMS Neve DFC console in Mix A, the facility's premier mixing stage, by seven-time Academy Award-winning Sound Designer Gary Rydstrom and Academy Award-winning Re-Recording Mixer Andy Nelson. Skywalker Sound has won 13 Academy Awards and dozens of nominations for "Best Sound" and "Best Sound Effects Editing." Over half of the all-time, top-grossing 25 feature films have employed Skywalker's audio post production services.

A.I. tells the tale of a robot boy designed to serve as a surrogate son who wants to become human. The film is currently playing throughout the United States and Japan, and will be opening in the next few months throughout the rest of the world.

The new DFC is Skywalker Sound's third and A.I. marks the second film mixed so far on the DFC in Mix A. This room has been the site of several highly successful feature film mixes for Skywalker, including Cast Away, Saving Private Ryan, and Titanic.

Rydstrom, who is Director of Creative Operations at Skywalker Sound, has been with the company since 1983 when he joined as a machine room operator. Among his over 30 feature film mixing credits are: Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, A Bug's Life; Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Quiz Show, and A River Runs Through It.

The mix of A.I. took approximately six weeks, beginning in mid-April and was completed at the end of May. Rydstrom pointed to the DFC's premix and automation features as beneficial to the A.I. project. "A unique characteristic to this mix was that we had the entire score to listen to from the beginning of the pre-mixes," said Rydstrom. "This allowed us to premix dialogue and effects on the DFC that fit perfectly with the music," said Rydstrom. "We also took full advantage of the automation features provided by the DFC."

Rydstrom added that Re-recoding mixer Nelson, who works regularly on a DFC at another facility, was able to utilize his preferred setup on the new DFC in Mix A. "Andy was able to bring up his board layout and methods of working on the DFC to this film, and that made this mix a much faster and smoother process."

Nelson's re-recording credits include the 1998 Academy Award-winner for "Best Sound" Saving Private Ryan. His other Academy Award-nominated films include: The Thin Red Line, The Insider, LA Confidential, Evita, Braveheart, Schindler's List, and Gorillas in the Mist.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented the AMS Neve staff with a Scientific and Engineering Award in March 2000. The award recognized the DFC as the first fully digital audio mixing console designed specifically for post-production film mixing. In February 2000, the company received a Technical GRAMMY Award for "pioneering a new level of recording quality and ease of operation taking digital recording to new heights."

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