Director David Fincher and sound designer Ren Klyce has worked together for more than 20 years, and their ongoing partnership is one of most acclaimed collaborations in the modern film sound community. Klyce has been nominated for five Oscars – one for Fight Club, one for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, one for The Social Network and two for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Their latest work is the very successful marital thriller Gone Girl which has just overtaken The Curious Case of Benjamin Button as director Fincher’s highest-grossing film in the US. The movie is filled with so many twists and turns that you can’t really talk about it without revealing something – and this interview with Ren Klyce also contains spoilers, beware!
Guest Contribution by Jeff Talman
Seong Moy, my drawing professor at City College of New York, had students lightly shade their sketchpads with hand-smeared charcoal to prepare a background for the drawing. This neutral background helped to create an illusory sense of depth in a 2-dimensional medium. The negative space of the drawing was activated by this treatment. Had there been no shading, no defined background, the objects in the drawing would not have existed anywhere, but would have been only representations, floating and free of context. The background helped to create a space in which to work.
Similarly, audio engineers know how important the background silence is in recording. In the early days of Audio CDs engineers learned that absolute silence between tracks created a void that the listener could find to be unpleasant, as if the CD was somehow unnatural because it did not exist in any space itself. The problem was compounded in that LPs had a consistent background sound. So sound on the early CDs seemed to ‘drop out’ between tracks. Soon engineers added low levels of ambient, background sound to fill these voids just as the charcoal smears did for the drawings.
It’s April, and you’d be a fool if you didn’t check out this past month’s freshly released sound libraries. From quiet forests, ocean sounds, and country ambience, to war-torn future soundscapes and the introduction of a new company to the sound design community, plus a BIG contest announcement, Designing Sound’s monthly round up has you covered.
Guest Contribution by Michael Theiler of Kpow Audio
We always knew The Banner Saga was going to be something special. First contact with the guys behind it was so positive and just easy. Our meetings and emails hit all the rights notes creatively so much so we just knew it was going to be an exhilarating ride. We weren’t wrong. Working on a project with such rich creativity and depth behind it, paired with the encouragement and trust the team showed, buoyed us, and heightened our commitment to the project.
There were a few key areas we concentrated on when it came to the sound design of The Banner Saga. We wanted to pay particular attention to the ambiences of the locations in the game – to make them real and evocative and never distract the player from the game. We wanted to make sure the banner, which is always with you but changes in length depending on how the player is progressing, had gravitas and importance without overwhelming the player. Likewise for the scenes where travelling by cart is depicted, the cart sounds were incredibly important as they were the sounds of the population traversing vast distances, fleeing from a dark force. We needed the fighting sounds to be gritty and real, and for their special abilities to have a different sound to them. We wanted the fighters to feel like they were pulling their strength and concentration for their actions from an internal well of ancient power. Finally we wanted the UI to not draw too much attention to itself, to feel solid and real but distinct from the other in-game sounds.