Dropped into the place where they're mixing Severance on Monday, to hear how the sound mix was coming along. They should be finishing this week, and were doing the sort of last minute "up a bit… down a bit… back up a bit but not quite as much…" that would drive me absolutely batshit insane if I was doing it full time. They've been at this now for 5 days a week, for a couple of months, in a darkened mixing room, tweaking, pulling, pushing, drinking lots of coffee, running the same scene over and over and over again, making tiny adjustments, and I think it's made them all go slightly feral. Chris had blood all over his face, Jason was lying dead in the corner with bite marks on his stomach, one of the sound guys kept smashing his head against the wall, howling "WHY? WHY?", while the other one just masturbated furiously while crying at the same time. I pitied them, but I tried not to get too close, making sure I was between them and the exit the whole time.
I'm exaggerating, but not much. Seriously, I was really fascinated with the process, and was only in there for a few hours, but felt it destroying my sanity even after that short time. I can't even imagine doing it Every. Single. Day. For months. MONTHS. Poor bastards. We'll have to shoot them all when it's finished, it'll be the kindest thing for them.
It was so interesting though - the sound mix is probably 60-70% of the impact of a movie, if not more. It made such a difference - scenes that were fine before were really fucking harsh and intense. The music gave it more of an epic feel, while the sounds layered into it accentuated the violence and atmosphere. There's a really nasty sound where - oh, but I'm giving away the plot, Michael! Anyway, it's all done in the best POSSIBLE taste.
The acting, the visuals, the dialogue, they're all vital, but the sound adds an extra dimension. A bass hum overlaid on a tense, silent scene resonated everywhere, making us all feel the tension. But how much bass? Enough to freak people out, but not so much that the subsonic part induces vomiting and bone damage. The music peaks here, but when do we fade it down? - there's no dialogue, so do we leave the music on full blast, or do we pull it down a bit when we cut to a wide shot? - yeah, let's try that - okay, doesn't feel right, let's try it the first way - okay, now let's bring up the rain sound - bit too much, pull it back a bit - now lets try it with the rain, but fading when we cut to wide - okay, let's try the other way… I was totally geeking out at how much difference these tiny tweaks made. But still. 5 days a week. For months. The horror. The horror. Sound dudes - I salute you. You insane geniuses.