And the winner is…

And the winner is…

It’s the Oscars on Sunday and I’m as keen as the next person to see if Gary Oldman continues his award-winning streak, Christopher Nolan triumphs over Guillermo del Toro as Best Director and the organisers manage to read out the right winner for Best Film.  But from a professional point of view, it’s probably the sound categories that interest me most.


Sound Editing and Sound Mixing are extremely important elements of any film or short video.  Sound mixers record and adjust the levels of different sound elements, while editors assemble those elements, from dialogue to sound effects to sounds they create themselves for the production.


These elements of sound design contribute hugely to the overall impact of a film.  The front runners in both categories are Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049 – and in each case the sound works both obviously and subtly to immerse us in war or dystopia.


Next time you watch your favourite film, drama or even trailer, it’s worth listening out for the approach to transition effects, expected sounds, background noises and additional impactful sounds.  Good productions will pay a great deal of attention (and often money!) to making sure these are spot on.  That said, sound design is often more notable by its absence.


Which brings me to corporate video; where sound design can often be completely overlooked – making the finished video a jarring experience.  Bad audio is often harder to tolerate and process than bad pictures.   But at Blueberry Pictures we always allow time for a proper final mix, where we level everything out for optimum effect and to determine ‘how’ we hear the sound design. Here is a simple example of what I mean.


The first pass of this clip is the Blueberry Pictures 2018 showreel with no sound design, just music and dialogue. The second pass is the finished clip, with all the extra little sound cues added. At the end, you can see the timeline which highlights just how many additional SFX were added (17 for the 25 second clip).  Have a listen to the difference.  And if you’d like us to work the Blueberry Pictures magic on a video for your company then do get in touch.


As for the Oscars, any of the films nominated would be a worthy winner; although I’d probably back Dunkirk on this occasion as war films traditionally do well in sound awards.