FEATURE: FINAL CUT
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these and that gave us a massive pallette of genuine sounds from Turingâ€™s time. â€œSo we constructed an initial version of the Bombe machine primarily using our Bletchley recordings and a little bit of stuďŹ€ from the Computer Museum, and sent it over to Billy and Morten to lay into the cut and get an original round of feedback. â€œThey felt we needed to bring a sense of scale to the machine and suggested a heart-like element be incorporated into the rhythm, implying a life force, which tied into Mortenâ€™s desire for the machine to become a character in its own right. After a number of failed attempts we found our answer in some old clunky elevator server recordings, which had a wonderful natural reverberant acoustic, suggesting the sound was originating from deep within the machine, so this additionally served to provide us with the sense of scale we were looking for. â€œWe also began to pick out and enhance the visual detail of the rotars as they whirr and click on close-up. Some of the recordings of the machines were running at diďŹ€erent rhythms but we were able to ďŹ t them to work with the visuals, and they could be tailored to ďŹ t the metronome of what the machine was doing. â€œWe also used handheld cranked movie cameras, telephone relays, clockwork sounds, old sewing machines â€“ they all
provided a palette of high-frequency ticks and ratchets. And then ďŹ nally we used the contact mics that weâ€™d used on the machine at Bletchley, which added another bass element to it, and again helped enhance the scale.â€? Walpole has been involved with several award-winning movies in the past, including Les MisĂŠrables, so heâ€™s used to these tricky jobs, but trying to recreate the sound of a hugely complex device for a sound-passionate perfectionist like Tyldum canâ€™t have been easy. â€œEverything in sound follows the same pattern â€“ you build it up from the bottom, but it was diďŹƒcult to tailor it because Morten wasnâ€™t entirely sure what he had in his head, but he did know what didnâ€™t work, and so we sent out four versions before it felt like we were on the right path.â€? â€œHe loves sound and encouraged us to experiment, which was liberating. He knew what he liked and that didnâ€™t change throughout the process,â€? recalls Walpole. Hilliker adds: â€œWe never felt inhibited in the way we approached the mix or the
with them the sort of accents you would associate with wartime England and it just felt so natural. I think that was a huge thing when it came to bringing Bletchley to life in a fashion where you just didnâ€™t question it.â€? Hilliker notes: â€œAs well as the ďŹ lm being ďŹ rmly grounded in reality there are moments when we follow the thoughts of Alan into diďŹ€erent times and spaces. Itâ€™s often the subtraction of sound that helps. When Alanâ€™s world is falling apart and heâ€™s completely alienated from his colleagues
were over here,â€? reveals Walpole. â€œThere was more of a conscious eďŹ€ort on both of our parts to ensure we were consistently on the same page. I was doing a lot of uploading and Skyping and discussing what was and wasnâ€™t working.â€? This regular back-and-forth will certainly have helped with the development of the movieâ€™s sound, which could see the Anglo-American partnership justiďŹ ably rewarded when the 2015 BAFTA winners are announced on 8 February.
On location with Morten Tyldum
sound design. He was so open to ideas.â€? While re-recording mixer Martin Jensen handled the FX in the mix, Hilliker took care of the dialogue and music, and there was plenty of good material for him to get stuck into as well, which he was able to combine with Alexandre Desplatâ€™s music to excellent eďŹ€ect. â€œWe were given some of the most solid dialogue Iâ€™ve ever had and from my perspective that was complemented by Alexandreâ€™s score, which was recorded at Abbey Road and has the most beautiful sound to it,â€? enthuses Hilliker.
Due to its strategic importance, Bletchley Park would have been a hive of activity in the 1940s, which gave the sound crew another opportunity to experiment with various sound ideas. â€œThroughout the exterior-shot Bletchley scenes there are soldiers walking around constantly and bikes coming and going, so the challenge for us was keeping this sense of active oďŹ€screen life on the base throughout the often dialogue-driven interior scenes,â€? states Walpole. The teamâ€™s choice of participants for the loop group recording process allowed them to add further accuracy to the soundtrack too. â€œIn addition to shooting traditional studio-based loop group we contacted a local college in Highgate, got a group of sixth form drama students and took them to Waterloo Park, along with Forbes Noonan, to record the students for some exterior crowd,â€? says Walpole. â€œWe took a list of topics with us and got them to perform wild tracks. They also brought
L-R: Stuart Hilliker and Lee Walpole
the mix subjectively reinforces the despair he is feeling.â€? â€œThat was another thing for Morten â€“ what is happening when this genius is thinking and how do we tell the story of whatâ€™s going on inside his head? One of our key ways of internalising it was drifting the world away and making it very subjective, almost like a reverby, underwater space,â€? explains Walpole.
Going back to Boom Postâ€™s relationship with their colleagues over in the US, did the distance between them geographically create much of a problem? â€œIt was interesting with them being in Los Angeles and us being here but we quickly settled into a workďŹ‚ow and the nice thing about that was I was probably getting more feedback than I would if they
Walpole and Hilliker were understandably delighted when they got the good news in January â€“ itâ€™s also been nominated for an MPSE Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing, Dialogue and ADR in an English Language Feature, as well as an AMPS nomination for Excellence in Sound in a Feature Film â€“ but the pair seem more pleased with the standard of what theyâ€™ve produced than the fact that they could be adding to their prize collection later this month, as Hilliker concludes. â€œItâ€™s a soundtrack weâ€™re certainly very proud of. Usually when it all goes through there will have been something that you werenâ€™t quite able to ďŹ x, but this one doesnâ€™t have any of that. When we had test screenings I hit Play and never wanted to press Stop.â€? www.boompost.co.uk