Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Movie Equivalent of Lettering

Looks like sound mixer Kevin O'Connell, along with Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin, is up for an Oscar for his work on Transformers. This marks O'Connell's 20th nomination, although he has yet to take home a statue. Something tells me this is his year, though. And that something is the noise that Transformers make when they transform.

This noise is, technically, an 8hz pulse repeated five times, with a pitch that can be represented as the absolute value of a sine wave, and the onomatopoeia of which is best written as "Chonk-Chonk-Chonk-Chonk-Chonk." And simply put, using it in a feature film is the most important thing a sound mixer can do to ensure winning the Academy Award for sound mixing. Except in 1986, when that plan didn't work for The Transformers: The Movie.

It should work this time, though.

Sound mixing is the type of production work that an audience will generally not notice unless something is wrong with it. For instance, during one of the four screenings of Transformers that I attended last July during opening week, the audio for the film was "hot," a word that David told me at the time means "entirely too loud." I agreed, and went on to suffer what I was sure was permanent hearing loss for the next few days. And though the hot sound certainly wasn't O'Connell's fault, I mention it because it made me focus on how good the sound mixing was the next time I saw the film.

Another quick way to get sound mixing noticed, and without having to screw anything up, is to set up some unique audio cues in places where the audience thinks they know what they are going to hear. Transformers does this immediately by mixing in some robosounds over the Dreamworks and Paramount logos. It was also a good idea to follow that up with some Peter Cullen narration, because the post-production work done to create that resonant Optimus voice is also a great way to ensure winning the Academy Award for sound mixing. Again, except in 1986.

Right now, O'Connell's next gig is a movie called Space Chimps, but the forthcoming Oscar win is sure to allow him cherry carte pick of the litter blanche for any future jobs. So it seems likely that he'll end up mixing sound for Dazzler: The Movie.

You'll notice in the above picture that I did not "sass up" the lettering in these panels. This is because I do not own the "Monologous" font, which is the font based off of Tom Orzechowski's handwritten lettering, of Uncanny X-Men and Spawn fame, and I just couldn't take the inconsistency between it and the "Web Letterer" font. This is an important distinction to make, as lettering is often referred to by me as the comic book equivalent of sound mixing, and I'm in a very professional mood about such things today.

So, anyway, in panel 2, first caption, that should read, "So she sings!"

Then, in panel 3, first caption, it should read, "...and also their wieners."

Man, if I had that font, it would be game over for melodrama in my back issues of X-Men.

1 comment:

  1. You should add me on, then we can scrob.