‘The Martian’ is Twentieth Century Fox’s new film adaptation of the bestselling book by Andy Weir, with screenplay by Drew Goddard. With the sci-fi movie, which stars Matt Damon, dominating UK and North American box offices in its first week in theatres, it is already tipped for Oscar’s success in 2016 – particularly in Sound related categories.
Part of the team behind the movie was composer Harry Gregson-Williams (Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), Prometheus (2012) and Kingdom of Heaven (2005) ), who recorded his score for ‘The Martian’ in Studio One at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, which is equipped with a 72-channel Neve 88RS console.
“I’ve been really fortunate to do 20 or 30 scores here. It is extra special. Abbey Road has a special sound to it. It never ceases to surprise me from when I strike up the first beat here,” remarks Gregson-Williams.
“It may be epic and large in scale, the movie, but at its heart, it’s about one guy’s survival. When writing his theme, I found a more personal sound, something smaller, that would accompany a lot of his monologue, and it would require me to be bubbling around underneath it, and I found little arpeggiated synth sounds which could accompany a piano or something similar — something clear and clean. Eventually, as the movie moves forward and his task becomes grander in scale, so does the music.”
The soundtrack for ‘The Martian’ was edited and re-recorded at AMS Neve DFC-equipped Twickenham Studios, with Paul Massey handling dialog/music and mixer/editor Mark Taylor overseeing sound effects.
“I pre-mixed all the sound effects and Foley virtually in Pro Tools,” Taylor says. “This [approach] gives me ultimate flexibility if something needs to be removed or altered on an elemental level. I then routed the separate buss outputs from Pro Tools into the Neve DFC console as pre-dub inputs. I love what the DFC does EQ- and dynamics-wise; it makes material blend nicely, with some gentle compression and a final EQ shaping on each pre-dub. I also love the console’s overheads pan feature, which I used extensively for the Atmos mix, with all the Hab interiors being sent in varying measure to these overhead loudspeaker channels.”
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