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Behind the Scenes with the Sound Design Team for Ben Affleck's 'Argo'

10.13.12 @ 1:29AM Tags : , ,

We don’t often get to see the sound designers of a major Hollywood film execute their craft, but those are exactly the people SoundWorks Collection features in their videos. Over the summer we shared two of their recent videos, the sound design of Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises, and now they’ve produced a fantastic behind the scenes look at the sound work for Ben Affleck’s new film Argo.

First, here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it:

It’s always impressive to see the sound people go about their duties, because it’s usually one of the most under-appreciated aspects of any film. Great sound design can often enhance the visuals, and even though most people think of epic Hollywood films when they think of good sound design, smaller, more reality-based films can also benefit greatly from the added touch of these talented folks.

The realistic and serious nature of Argo definitely lends itself to being recorded in a live environment, as opposed to in a studio. Part of that choice, though, comes down to the wishes of the creative team and also the subject matter of the film itself. I’ve found in my own work that I like doing additional sound on a real location, just as they’ve done above, because for me it takes a lot less time to make the sound blend in and feel natural. Good sound typically goes unnoticed, but that’s usually the idea — if you don’t notice something in a film, it often means it’s doing its job.

What do you guys think? Have you done anything like the Argo team has done above?

Link: SoundWorks Collection: The Sound of Argo


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  • Ahhhhh. This made my mind smile. I really love behind the scenes videos that go into the process instead of just talking about it. Loved seeing their technique for the siren.

    • Yeah it’s great, it’s the kind of stuff that’s buried deep in DVD/Blu Ray special features, but usually only a minute long or something.

  • Joe, I absolutely love all of these SoundWorks behind the scenes videos. I’ve always been of the notion that sound is just as, if not more, important than video in terms of great filmmaking, and seeing how the pros operate in different situations, whether it be on a foley stage or mimicking real locations, provides such great insight into the creative process of sound design. Please, keep these videos coming. They’re such an awesome resource.

    Also, I can’t recommend Argo highly enough. It’s a damn good story in itself, but it’s executed so well by Affleck and his team that I can’t help but put this as my second favorite film of the year, right behind The Master.

    • Definitely, these are some of my favorite videos. I haven’t seen Argo, but Affleck hasn’t disappointed me yet.

      • You definitely want to see it. It’s a great film w/ great photography and excellent sound. Just saw at Lincoln Center last night and was well worth it.

      • it is a good movie, loved the photography as well. The suspense was kept alive in a smart, good paced way.

        • Well then that’s settled, I’ll have to see it soon. Thanks for the recommendations guys.

  • Thank you for publishing such insightful content. For an avid film fan, and budding film-maker, this sort of I information really helps me appreciate the level of thought and work that goes into making a movie really great. It is such a shame that not all film-makers put as much effort I not thinking how their audience will experience the end result. As a member of a film-society, I get to see some amazing films which are all too often spoiled by poor quality sound. Thanks for showing how it can, and should, be done.

  • I got my start on the technical side of film in Hong Kong during the 80s working with Bill Oliver. Those were still analog days and I spent quite a bit of time getting real sounds in the environment for a shoot. This video is excellent … keep them coming.

  • ARGO was one of the most outstanding films I’ve seen in awhile. Easily the best this year so far.

    I highly, highly recommend seeing it. And this BTS stuff is awesome!

  • Thanks for posting that. I love seeing sound guys go out and make practical sounds. That built horn on top of a Camry is awesome. I haven’t done it in awhile, but making sounds is so much fun and satisfying.

    As for Argo, I’m gonna be one of the few to call this movie bad. Good cinematography that captures the era, and excellent costuming, but little else is redeeming.

    Low drama and weak tension. Shots that are lazy and, at times, corny. The story is NOT well told. Mostly because it’s twisted to make Affleck more hero-y. Now I get that if hero isn’t an American, that American audiences won’t come out in force. But, even the real Tony Mendes says that the film isn’t completely accurate.

    Affleck treats the Canadian involvement so shabbily that he had to change the post-script. (Yes, I’m Canadian.) Which was a band-aid on a broken arm, at best. The fact is that Ambassador Taylor is the single most important player in the incident. And, the movie turns him into nobody that doesn’t nothing more than host dinner parties. It’s more than insulting. He wasn’t even invited to the premiere…… Toronto!!!

    Besides all that, there aspects of the real story that are much more suspenseful than what makes the movie. And, don’t get me started on how the villians of the movie are delivered to us as little more than Iranians.

    Easily, its the most overrated movie of the year.

  • Robbie McArdle on 10.22.12 @ 5:46AM

    I love reading stuff like this before i have started to study Video and Film i have allways loved watching movies like Argo but never realised the work that goes into the sound which is fantastic when you start to notice i think the sound designers get enough credit for their work as the films wouldnt be as good without them.

  • Shane Tilston on 10.22.12 @ 2:01PM

    Thanks for posting this – very cool! While I know the adage, 1/2 of a movie’s experience is the sound, it’s inspiring to see the lengths the team went to, to get the sounds they needed. Though it’s a “big budget Hollywood” movie, the idea of having what are effectively “sound shoots” is something that can translate to smaller budget projects.