Monday, September 13, 2010

Brian Jun's "Joint Body"

Writer/director Brian Jun made his home last week on Monkeyland's E Stage, where after several weeks of sound editorial, and ADR & foley mixing, he began his final mix on Joint Body.

Director Brian Jun during the final mix
I spotted the bleak drama with Brian sometime in August, and we had some really good discussions about where the film should go sonically. 

Brian, a gifted director, brought out strong and stoic, melodrama-free performances from his actors, and I wanted to make sure the sonic landscape helped mirror the pain and anguish they portrayed.  With most of the locations feeling inherently lonely to begin with (i.e., roadside motels, 24-hour diners, a hollow prison, a rural strip club), it felt right to me that our ambiences and backgrounds conveyed an empty and lonely "Twin-Peaks"-ian feel.

To start with, there was a bit of dodgy production audio (possibly something inherently goofy with the recording equipment and/or production microphones), which presented us with a bit of a challenge.  The trick here would be to cut the dialogue flawlessly and then experiment with ways in which to boost its volume and minimize the noise floor without making it sound overprocessed.  Skip Williams provided us with the edited dialogue, and Ben Whitver served as our ADR mixer.

Trouble on the dialogue front can sometimes be handled with a little help from our sound effects, and adding "layers of loneliness" could not only help mask some of the audio problems, but effectively provide the necessary sonic tone to the piece.
The sound effects team included Steven Avila and Alexander Pugh.  Our foley team comprised of Greg Mauer (mixer) and Tara Blume (artist).  They all did a great job in moving the story forward.

I comped, prepped and organized all the tracks, and added my own pass of sound effects and backgrounds to enhance the tracks the team delivered.

After reviewing all the new material with Brian, I handed the reigns over to veteran re-recording mixer Stanley Kastner who went on to whip it all into mix-ready shape.

Stanley Kastner, re-recording mixer
 Brian and Stanley hit it off just fine, and after a week of making strong creative decisions, the film's mixing was done.  They addressed the dodgy dialogue with a handful of different solutions provided by Waves and Cedar, as well as by sculpting through the various layers of backgrounds (which ranged from moody tones, buzzy lights, blustery winds, and other cacophonous treats) against the dialogue tracks in an effort to create tension and uneasiness.

Many congratulations to Brian on finally finishing Joint Body.  Working on this project was a pleasant experience for me.  I enjoyed sharing with Brian and look forward to seeing what he comes up with next!

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