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Eddy Joseph What's Shooting

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory supervising sound editor Eddy Joseph, who’s based at Soundelux in London, has plenty of experience with the quirks of director Tim Burton. He previously worked on Burton’s hugely successful film Batman. “Tim can be very detail-oriented and it shows in the art direction,” says Joseph, adding that this characteristic enhances the process for sound creation because “there are so many things to look at and consider for sound.”Joseph tends to keep the sound effects on the reductive side, as per Burton’s requirements. “Tim doesn’t like anything to interfere with the storytelling,” he says. “So we are always looking for the one sound that tells the story.”On Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which hits theaters in July, Joseph along with sound designers Steve Boeddeker and Martin Cantwell, met early on with Chris Lebenzon, the film’s picture editor and began to get a flavor for the visual feast. “We saw the fabulous sets and all the machines in the [film’s] ‘inventing room’, so we were able to start supplying some sound effects as early as July,” he remembers.He also recalls a particularly strange meeting with the visual effects team concerning matching the sound of the chocolate lake with the visuals that were being created. Joseph Foley’d a lot of the sounds, which involved finding just the right thickening agent to get the lake to make a slurping sound like liquid chocolate.“Foley has become a key element in audio postproduction and this movie is no exception,” says Joseph. “People think that all we do is replace the footsteps, but more and more of the spot effects and sound design work is created in Foley.” Boeddeker, especially, records a lot of his effects for his films, according to Joseph.The process continues as each reel comes in and the sound effects editors watch a playback, brainstorm and extract the shot tracks, incorporating them in their sound design. “It’s always good to get alternative ideas on sound effects and our Foley team is very inventive,” says Joseph, whose son Alex is one of the team of Foley artists on Charlie.“Foley is such a collaborative effort,” he continues. “We recorded a lot of footsteps in snow at 6 o’clock in the morning at an empty indoor ski slope. The rest were created on the Foley Stage using ingredients I can’t divulge!”According to Joseph, the greatest sound challenges of the film were the machinery sounds in the inventing room and creating the bubbling chocolate sounds to match up with the CGI chocolate river. “The waterfall in the candy room is always present and there is also a huge amount of dialogue exposition, so it’s really difficult [to accomplish this] without drowning the dialogue or making the river and waterfall too ‘white-noisy.’”The consistency of the chocolate river created additional challenges. “It was too easy to just pitch-change water sounds. We had to find a thicker sound that you would believe was chocolate,” he says.Sounds were assembled in Pro Tools, and from there the various members of the sound-effects team “whittled away until we were happy with the result. It was in some ways a luxury to allow three designers to indulge themselves, but the product was worthwhile,” says Joseph.They were mindful as well of what composer Danny Elfman was creating. “It is essential to make sure our effects rhythms will keep time with the music,” he notes.Perhaps one of the most synergistic moments on Charlie is realized when the integration of direction, actor’s movement, sound effects and editing merge. “Tim’s directive for unwrapping the chocolate bars was that it had to sound ‘sexy’,” says Joseph. “I hope it does!”Previous Noms & Wins2005 MPSE Golden Reel nomination – King Arthur2004 BAFTA nomination for Best Sound – Cold Mountain; MPSE Golden Reel nomination – Cold Mountain2002 BAFTA nomination for Best Sound – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone; MPSE Golden Reel nomination – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Enemy At the Gates1997 BAFTA nomination for Best Sound – Evita1992 BAFTA nomination for Best Sound – The Commitments1983 BAFTA win for Best Sound – Pink Floyd: The Wall1979 Emmy nomination (as film editor) – The Television Annual 1978/1979

Written by Kathy Anderson

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