Behind the Sound Effects in Apple TV+ Original Film ‘Greyhound’
Rerecording mixer Michael Minkler, supervising sound editor Warren Shaw, and sound mixer David Wyman have been nominated for an Oscar for their outstanding work on Tom Hanks’ Greyhound, streaming now on Apple TV+ — reports Variety.
Greyhound takes place during World War II on a U.S. battleship code-named Greyhound in the chill of a North Atlantic winter. The pic follows Captain Ernest Krause (Tom Hanks), whose ship comes under attack by German U-boats as it makes its way through the black pit of the ocean — a stretch of sea not covered by anti-submarine aircraft.
In the film’s climax, the battleship, in close proximity to a U-boat, has to make a sharp turn at 35 knots to evade incoming torpedoes while also defending another ship.
The five-minute sequence, packed with sound effects, dialogue, and music that puts the audience right in the middle of the action, scored the three sound engineers the Oscar nomination.
The sequence is rife with Captain Krause barking commands at his crew, and the delicate harmony between the voices of the captain and the crew with the sounds of the surrounding are what brought the scene to life.
“Music has to be playing to place the action and the suspense”, said the rerecording mixer. “There are the sound effects with the engines, the high seas, the explosions coming from both sides — and it’s a short sequence”.
“Audiences have to hear where it ramps up the speed and pulls down in speed. The bow completely crashes into the water, and [Krause] is making this maneuver at 35 knots”, he added.
Minkler and Warren Shaw spent time aboard the USS Kidd in Louisiana prior to working on the audio for the movie to get a firsthand experience of the audio of life aboard a destroyer, and even talked with veterans to understand everything that happens on deck.
The sound engineers used existing libraries of the sounds of ships at war to weave the audio of the sequence. “We weren’t trying to make a Hollywood gun sound; we were trying to create the accurate sound of those guns”.
The sound of the incoming torpedoes was amplified to reflect the possibility of impending doom, and the sound engineers situated microphones and speakers all around the ship to capture the dialogue and sound (and also amplify it) during filming.
“The reason that sequence works is because it tells the story of fear and triumph”, said sound editor Warren Shaw. “Everything we did had to have that at its center”.
Watching Greyhound with Apple AirPods Pro or AirPods Max and 3D spatial audio brings the movie to life if you don’t have a surround sound system at home.