The New York Times has published an article featuring Ren Klyce, who shares how was his approach on mixing an important scene of “The Social Network”.
As part of our continuing quest to help you win your Oscar pool – and again, not at all as part of an end-of-season notebook dump – the Bagger returns to the hard-to-predict sound design category.
When we spoke with Ren Klyce, an Oscar-nominated sound guy behind “The Social Network” we asked about a scene that has been drawing an unusual amount of attention for its mix; even The New Yorker commented on it.
The scene is a pivotal moment in which Justin Timberlake, as Sean Parker, and Jesse Eisenberg, as Mark Zuckerberg, are talking in a loud club, and – in perhaps the movie’s gravest departure from reality – you can nonetheless hear everything they’re saying.
“That was a very difficult scene for us to mix and create,” Mr. Klyce told us.
(Warning: audio nerding ahead.)
“When we mix films, we know as part of our job, that we have to make sure that no matter what happens, that we have to have the audience hear everything that’ s being said,” he explained. “There’s nothing worse than missing a word in a film and being frustrated by that, particularly if it’s very important to the plot or what’s happening in the scene. So when we first mixed the scene, we did what one would expect. We had the music very loud at the beginning before people spoke, and as the camera cranes across the room, we pulled the music down to hear the dialogue. We had the music playing very low under the dialogue and it worked and it was fine.”
Mr. Klyce and his colleagues – David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten – invited the movie’s director, David Fincher, in to see their work.
“We called him in and he was very unhappy with the scene,” Mr. Klyce said. “He said it doesn’t feel realistic to me, it doesn’t feel like I’m in a club; I just feel like I’m watching a movie.”
This meant: back to the drawing board.
Henrik Nåmark says
This is the second time I read about that particular scene. I’ve thought about it ever since the first time and kept bugging my non audio geek lfriends when we watched the movie.
Yesterday I saw “Up in the air” with George Clooney. At one point they crash a tech party. I couldn’t help but notice how that was solved. Even though they were about 30 feet from the speakers with nothing in between there was no treble. The music felt like it was loud for sure but it was a bit strange, like they were outside or something. I guess it works but the way they did it in “The Social Network” is quite something.