The Sound of ‘Flight’ and the Making of the Crash Sequence


Shot during a sunny day and transformed to a rainy evening

Shot during a sunny day and transformed to a rainy evening

I really need to get to work on my Oscar predictions in the technical categories and I’m sure in the process of doing so I’ll have to figure out just where exactly Robert ZemeckisFlight will land. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the film overall, I won’t deny the opening 30 minutes or so are excellent and the moments in the plane with Denzel Washington in the pilot’s seat are some of the most harrowing minutes in a film this year.

Today the SoundWorks Collection has released a new video taking a look at the sound team on the film including Randy Thom (Supervising Sound Editor & Sound Designer) and Dennis Leonard (Supervising Sound Editor & Sound Designer) and I’ve also got a visual effects breakdown of the crash sequence featuring Visual Effects Supervisor, Kevin Baillie from Atomic Fiction.

Thom and Leonard have worked with Zemeckis in the past including Cast Away and Beowulf and the duo have worked together over they years on such films as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Backdraft. The video offers a very specific look at their sound design including isolated effects, scenes with the effects removed and a variety of plane noises, beeps and alarms that created the potpourri you hear while watching the film. The video is also focused entirely on the crash sequence, which makes it a perfect companion piece for the effects breakdown.

Atomic Fiction completed over 400 shots for the film consisting of a wide variety of effects including matte paintings, CG airplanes, FX animation and green screen composites. The video explores how they turned a sun drenched tarmac into a stormy day and then a walk-through of the giant “rotisseries” they built to mount the plane sections for filming.

Oh, you’ll also notice the plane used is from Delta, but no airline wanted to be associated with the feature, sort of how Budweiser now wishes their beer wasn’t either.

Check out both videos below.