November 22, 2014

Crafting the Intricate and Immersive Sound of 'Interstellar'

The Sound of Interstellar
Interstellar has a lot going for it. Beautiful 70mm cinematography. Stunning visual effects. But what might be the most affecting aspect of the film is the sound.

In another fantastic installment of Michael Coleman's Soundworks Collection, we get an all-access pass to immerse ourselves in the complex, intricate, and subtly naturalistic sounds of Interstellar.

What I find most fascinating about the sound of Interstellar isn't the ingenuity of the foley artists — although we all know those guys are rockstars — or the way the sound was mixed, but instead it's the overall philosophy of the film's sound. An existential science fiction film with a budget the size of Kansas seems like the perfect opportunity to go a bit crazy on the sound front. Had he been so inclined, Nolan could have sent his sound team to the bottom of the ocean to collect sounds in order to create an expressionistic wall of sounds to represent outer space.

Instead, Interstellar's sound is incredibly restrained and naturalistic, and it attempts to create and convey a sense of realism that is relatively rare in science fiction filmmaking. The sound helps to completely immerse the viewers in the film's incredible visual environments, from an unassuming corn field to the depths of space, and ultimately the film is stronger for it.

What do you guys think about the sound of Interstellar? Were there any particular moments in the film where the sound design stuck out to you?     

Your Comment

7 Comments

I was not alone in not being able to understand key pieces of dialogue. After watching this, they stated they only looped up to eight lines. I think this was a big mistake.

November 22, 2014 at 6:17PM

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I saw it only once at an IMAX theater and thought the mix was great. I never missed a thing.

I do believe that the soundtrack did partially break the sound system though (which I think is pretty awesome)

November 25, 2014 at 2:31PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1157

Yeah, it's interesting how they are completely unaware of how bad the sound mix was (and has been received) in terms of dialog. I agree it's got some great audio production in there, but the mix is not one of them.

November 22, 2014 at 6:45PM

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True, they did a great job in all areas, however there are certain details in the sound, such as voices, one particularly caught my attention, voiceover when Murph is higher, it shows clearly the using noise gate and a presence of a "hiss" remarkable; in addition to times when the music is not necessary and compete too much with the dialogue, but that is a problem of mixing. Despite these details did an excellent job in sound.

November 22, 2014 at 7:59PM

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Mateo Baldasare
Filmmaker
233

There is so much in Nolan's 'smug cloud' where somehow shooting on film make his films somehow better because of it. The fact that a film shot with incredibly noisy IMAX cameras had a record low amount of ADR lines seems crazy to me.

November 22, 2014 at 11:05PM, Edited November 22, 11:05PM

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INTERSTELLAR in Five Dimensions: A Trip through the Many Formats of Christopher Nolan’s Epic
http://eatdrinkfilms.com/2014/11/20/interstellar-in-five-dimensions-a-tr...

November 25, 2014 at 1:53AM

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Gary Meyer
Film Festival Director
154

Loved the use of silence in space, even subtle things like the boosters firing silently. But, by far, the sound design during the rocket launch was what stood out to me. King said he wanted it to feel like the ship was on the verge of breaking apart and honestly, it felt like the IMAX theater was about to break apart! I realized many times during this movie I was about to crush my poor wife's hand. :)

I agree with other posters about the unclear dialogue at times and also the score was painfully up in the mix at times. Really liked the organ though and also the dissonant stabs during the docking sequences. Lots of tension and emotion in this movie.

November 25, 2014 at 12:39PM

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Warren Williams
Post Production Supervisor
81