Alfonso Cuarón's space drama Gravity exploded at the box office this weekend, outperforming other releases with its record-breaking October debut of $55.6. The film's visual effects have been the talk of the town, but the sound engineering is the other half of the technical spectacle that is Gravity. SoundWorks Collection sits down with Cuarón and Re-recording Mixer Skip Lievsay to talk about the sound team's realistic approach to creating a rich, dynamic, and dramatic soundscape in the dark vacuum of space. Continue on to check out the video.
There are plenty of films set outside Earth's atmosphere that ignore the fact that sound can't be transmitted in space, but even more avoid this issue by keeping the story inside the ship or space station. The filmmakers of Gravity took on the challenge of putting an individual in space, keeping them there, and trying to build a soundscape around that.
According to Cuarón, the sound was designed with the laws of physics in mind, mentioning that though space is a vacuum, sound can still be transmitted through vibrations via the interaction of elements, instead of through the atmosphere. So, what Lievsay and the sound team did was record sound as with transducer microphones, which record vibrations rather than airborne audio.
The audio was also very particularly designed for surround sound in order to give the audience an immersive experience. Cuarón explains that wherever the sound is coming from on-screen, whether behind the character, off-screen, right up close, the audience will hear it in the same way. For example, if Sandra Bullock's character hears something behind her, the audience will only hear this sound from the speakers behind them. This definitely changes the way the viewer hears, experiences, and reacts to the sound in the film.
For more on the sound design of Gravity, check out SoundWorks Collection's video below:
Big thanks to Michael from SoundWorks Collection for sharing this video with us!
What do you think about the sound in Gravity? If you've seen the film, did the sound engineering give you a more immersive experience? Let us know in the comments.
[via SoundWorks Collection]