The Walter Murch Special ends here, a very interesting journey through the articles of one of the most important men in the history of audio and video creation. November will be a great month for the blog… If you were hoping for game audio articles, you’ll love the November Special!
Finally, let’s read a nice round of interviews of Walter Murch selected form several webs:
#1 WALTER MURCH – THE GODFATHER OF MOTION PICTURE SOUND
I noticed a picture in a recent interview of you in a small studio – is that your personal studio?
That was up in the barn and I was editing what you might call a Directors Cut of “Touch of Evil”, which Orson Wells directed forty years ago and any project that I take on, particularly short term projects I can just do them up in the barn, renting whatever happens to be the available and appropriate technology for that particular film. So what I had there was an Avid, which is a film editing machine, which has up to 24 tracks of sound that run along with it, but you can only actively work on 8 at one time. If you get a track the way you want it, you can make it one of the ‘Sleeper’ tracks, sort of ‘demote’ it to playback only, and then move another track up into the active area, so you can play back 24, but you can only actively work on 8 tracks. Everything just ran through a Mackie Mixer which was also feeding audio from CD’s and cassettes and DAT machines, and a DA88 which is an 8-track recorder which uses High 8 video tape.
How do you feel about working with a computer based system versus something like an analog tape machine?
Well, for me it’s fine. There are some people who claim to be able to tell the difference between professional digital equipment and analog equipment. I can’t. The advantages operationally of using digital are so great, I focus on that and not on what I guess might be the “digital” sound of it. “Touch of Evil” was a film that was done in 1958, so there wasn’t a wide range soundtrack to begin with.
Were you taking the existing sound track and mixing it with some sounds that were recorded now, or…?
Well no, we had separate dialog, and music and sound effects from the original magnetic masters, so we loaded those via DA88s into the Avid, onto the Avid’s hard disk, and I was editing them, supressing the music in some cases, lifting the level of the effects in some cases. All of this was following Orson Welles notes. Where we had to make changes, we simply stole (sound) from various places within the film. The goal was to make something that still sounded like it was all done in 1958 with a minimum of disruption of that particular kind of sound.
The English Patient. What process did you follow for mixing that?
I produced a ‘guide’ track on the Avid, and then that was taken and transferred at a higher quality, onto a Sonic Solutions system at Fantasy Records, and then coming out of the Sonic solutions, after it had been cut, we would make transfers either onto 6 track film, or DA88’s
What we just did on “Touch of Evil” because I was working on the finished soundtrack right from the beginning was to take my Avid sessions and re-create it, opening it up through an OMF (Open Media Framework) file and convert it into ProTools, which is another sound editing situation (Digidesign and Protools are both owned by Avid). That was a real timesaver, in the sense that all of my decisions cutting and fading in and fades out and level setting were maintained when the sound track was opened up in the ProTools environment.
So all they had to do was to tweak what I had done and refine it, because the tools that they have in ProTools are much more precise than what I have on the Avid.
On The English Patient all they really had to rebuild everything that I had done from scratch which was a time consuming process.