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Sound One Uses AMS Neve DFC to Mix Shipping News Sound

Mixer Lee Dichter praises system automation (January 08, 2002)
A 72-fader AMS Neve DFC provided the rich features and instant recall that renowned Sound One Re-recording Mixer Lee Dichter needed to tackle the dense and complex soundtrack for The Shipping News, whose groundbreaking picture/sound editing innovations stand as a benchmark in film post production technology.

A veteran of 38 years in the sound mixing business, whose long list of credits include every Woody Allen feature, as well as The Score, Sleepless in Seattle, Men in Black and Unbreakable, Dichter called the DFC a “godsend.” He especially appreciates the flexibility of its automation system, which enables a mixer to recall any configuration instantly.

The Shipping News sound team.
“With the complexity of the sound effects and music in The Shipping News, there are so many variables that it would be impossible to duplicate this mix on an analog board,” Dichter said. “The key to the DFC is its flexibility. You can do almost anything you want on it, and if you have a problem that needs to be corrected, you can go back without having to re-create anything. The DFC remembers the mix.”

Before mixing the location sounds, sound effects and the score by Chris Young (Wonder Boys, Rounders and Swordfish), Dichter did two weeks of dialog work – cleaning and optimizing equalization to “create a larger envelope for Reilly Steele, the sound effects mixer,” he said. Dichter likes to minimize the use of compressors and filters, which he said tend to alter the “shape” of the voice and ambience. The result is natural sounding dialog with “a very open feel.”

The Shipping News, based upon the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same title by E. Annie Proulx, poignantly tells the story of a man who returns to his ancestral home in a small Newfoundland fishing town. The film stars Kevin Spacey and Julianne Moore and was directed by Lasse Hallström, whose credits include The Cider House Rules and Chocolat.

Michael Kirchberger (The Sixth Sense), based in San Francisco, served as supervising sound editor and sound designer on The Shipping News. This was Kirchberger’s fourth film with Hallström, and in some ways, it was the most demanding. Kirchberger and picture editor Andrew Mondshein agreed from the outset that all four tracks of the audio from every take should be available for use in editing and mixing the film. “Andy believes that sound is as important as picture,” Kirchberger said.

To make the location recording on a 24-bit Nagra D compatible with an Avid nonlinear editing system, Sound Assistant Roy Waldspurger took an idea from his colleague Larry Schalit and figured out a procedure to make it work. Mondshein edited with 16-bit versions of each audio take and yet the OMFs generated from the Avid were seamlessly matched up with sample accuracy to the original 24-bit masters.

Sound One, part of the Liberty Livewire family of companies, owns three DFCs – two 72-fader boards and an 80-fader console – all in constant use for the near 100 films mixed each year at its Manhattan-based facilities.

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Related Keywords:Neve, mixer, sound, editing, post, Shipping News

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