'The Hobbit,' 'Exodus,' 'Unbroken:' Which Epic Sounds Could Grab Oscar's Attention? http://t.co/0j2peWNv0311:03 AM PST 1/1/2015 by Carolyn Giardina
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 1, 2015
In contrast, the work on Unbroken was about engulfing the viewer in WWII hero Louie Zamperini’s true story and putting them in the locations of the movie, related re-recording mixer Frank Montaño.
For the scene set at the first camp where Zamperini is held captive, the meticulous sound work involved placement of rain—splashing on different surfaces, including metal and a fabric tent, and changing the sounds as the viewer moves with Louie. For the scene during which Zamperini is lost at sea on a raft, Montaño says director Angelina Jolie “really wanted to keep the first part very quiet, and as the raft sequence progressed, we brought in more atmosphere.
“There was also a lot of tradeoff between sound and [Alexandre Desplat’s score],” he continued. “We tried to make every scene blend between music and effects.”
To get the soundscape, as well as the subtleties, the film was made available with both Dolby Atmos and Barco Auro, two immersive sound formats. “The opening sequence really showcases Dolby Atmos (and its overhead speakers),” said Montaño. “The score comes in very angelic, and (re-recording mixer) Jon Taylor was able to bring the music into the theater and then strategically place the vocals into the overheads and then hand off to the large squadron that come rumbling through the theater and over your head.”
While one might not think about the sound in the scene during which Zamperini is forced to hoist a heavy beam over his head, sound was key to conveying the weight to the audience. Montaño related that this was created with Foley and pre-recorded sound FX, which initially sounded heavier than it did in the final mix. The thinking was that it might sound too heavy for “someone in his condition to be able to lift, we lightened it to keep the realism.” He added that the sound editing team also found and recorded B-24s, which was augmented with additional sonic components for the opening scene.