A great year for sound editing, mixing, and design.
The 2016 Oscars are coming in hot. Sunday will showcase fierce competition, the pinnacle of Leo’s career and racial tension – #oscarssowhite. This year Leonardo Dicaprio is so desperate for his first Oscar that he was willing to be raped by a bear in The Revenant., Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought all of the nerds out of hiding, and Mad Max reappeared only to be edged out by the most badass chick in post-apocalyptic history, Imperator Furiosa.
So who will win Best Movie and Best Actor? WHO CARES. Let’s talk about the awards that matter, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Let me explain the difference between them and potentially ruin your next movie watching experience.
Editing vs Mixing
The sound editing and sound mixing awards draw a separation in the audio post-production process. The Sound Editing Award pertains to the movie’s added elements like sound effects, Foley, and ADR; whereas, sound mixing is geared toward the overall sound of all of these elements mixed together on the big screen.
In 2015, American Sniper took home the award for Best Sound Editing. It attracted an audience with slow, intense scenes of Chris Kyle using his sniper rifle to gun down over one hundred men and the occasional child. The sound of this rifle played a pivotal character in the story and was told perfectly with sound effects and Foley.
As you hear him handle his gun, cock it, pull the trigger, and fire; the sounds pull you in. Massive reverbs are used to enhance the feeling of distance and the slow motion shots. SPOILER: all of these sounds were added after the fact in post-production. Hard to believe that the original recordings were probably just Bradley Cooper breathing and sweating like a hot mess. This is a great example of proper use of sound editing to help enhance a story and engage the audience.
Whiplash shocked everyone when it beat out Interstellar for Best Sound Mixing last year. This movie featured an obsessed student drummer, Miles Teller, and his monster of a music teacher, JK Simmons. This might surprise you, but almost all of the drumming that Miles Teller does in the movie is FAKE. The sound engineers and video editors did an incredible job syncing up these shots. As the camera moves around the room from wide shot to close up, you feel the piercing hits on the snare drum. You jump in your seat as JK Simmons whips a chair past Miles Tellers’ head. The sound follows each of these shots and helps create the incredible tension felt between student and teacher. Finding that perfect balance of music, sound effects, and dialogue is the beauty of sound mixing.
2016 Oscar Predictions
So which team of sound engineers will take home the prized awards this year? Here are The Sound Jack’s predictions for the winners of Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing for 2016:
Best Sound Editing
Mad Max: Fury Road – Mark Mangini and David White
The Martian – Oliver Tarney
The Revenant – Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
Sicario – Alan Robert Murray
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Matthew Wood and David Acord
Best Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies – Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom
Mad Max: Fury Road – Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
The Martian – Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
The Revenant – Jon taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson
**OSCAR UPDATE: The winners for 2015’s sound awards both went to Mark Mangini and David White of Mad Max: Fury Road for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
The Sound Jack offers sound editing, sound mixing, sound restoration and sound design for all video, film, and podcasts. If you like this article please share it or leave us a comment. For more sound help, check out our other articles on sound editing, sound mixing, sound restoration and sound design.