I feel a little embarrassed considering I sat through Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi and the sound never really struck me too hard. I’m not sure if this can and should be interpreted as a good thing or a bad thing. Does this mean it’s so good you don’t notice it? Should you notice it? Should you only notice it if you are listening for it?
There are times when the sound strikes me as particularly notable, such as a couple years ago with The Social Network and the club scene where David Fincher kept the volume on the music in the room up rather than dialing it back the same way filmmakers do in movies all the time. It was a tricky scene considering he needed the dialogue to be audible, but wanted to also maintain the understanding that it’s sometimes hard to hear what people are saying in a club environment.
It impressed me when the Soundworks Collection took a look at the sound of Social Network and actually made a point to look at that scene for the reasons I just mentioned (watch that here) and today they offer up another impressive look and call to attention some elements of Life of Pi I simply appear to have taken for granted.
Pi includes plenty of silent and still moments, but amid all that you have a ship sinking, animals swimming for their lives and on top of that, the knowledge that all that silence will soon be countered by sound and the matter of making sure that sound isn’t too intrusive or jarring.
Here, Phil Stockton (Supervising Sound Editor), Tim Squyres (Picture Editor), Doug Hemphill (Sound Re-recording Mixer), Ron Bartlett (Sound Re-recording Mixer) and Erich Stratmann (Music Editor) discuss their work on Life of Pi and their work with Dolby’s new Atmos sound experience. Check it out below.
I will be publishing my first Sound Editing and Mixing Oscar predictions very soon and as of now Life of Pi is not in my top five in either category… do you think it should be?
You can read my review of Life of Pi right here.