Backstage Interview | 86th Academy Awards

Sound Mixing


BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW
CATEGORY: Sound Mixing
INTERVIEW WITH: Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
FILM: "GRAVITY"

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Q.    Could each of you just tell me what winning this Oscar means to you either professionally or personally? 
A.    (Skip Lievsay)  I guess it's sort of an amazing honor that says that you're doing some things right.  And working with some fantastic people. 
A.    (Niv Adiri)  And most of the time if we do our job right, nobody noticed and then it's nice that finally that we got a chance to show off a little bit.  And then contributed to the film and completed the drama of the film. 
(Christopher Benstead)  To me it's that, you know, everything that we've kind of worked for throughout our lives, the fruition of that has come to this point and it's unbelievable.  We're just so grateful. 
A.    (Chris Munro)  It's the Academy.  It's the award for our industry.  It's the top award.  It's what we work for.  And it's fantastic.  

Q.    Congratulations, gentlemen.  Skip, as a double nominee in this category, can you talk about just in terms of collaboration and tools in aesthetics, what was the same and what was different about each of those projects? 
A.    (Skip Lievsay)  Well, I guess you couldn't have two more different films, LLEWYN DAVIS and GRAVITY, I suppose.  They were quite opposite.  They had virtually nothing in common, except they were both made by a fantastic filmmaking team who both ‑‑ in both cases are very possessed by making a dramatic film come to life.  And that they both have in common.  That's the one ‑‑ one of many things they have in common.  And they are actually both kind of musicals in a way.  LLEWYN DAVIS is very much a musical, very directly and GRAVITY is a movie about space that has a lot of music in it.  So, in a way it's sort of a space oddity in that way.

Q.    Could you talk about any of ‑‑ specifically about the international aspect of working together, all different nationalities for this movie? 
A.    (Niv Adiri)  I'm just very proud.  I've been living in the UK for 14 years and the collaboration was, you know, amazing with all those guys, and then yeah, very proud.  And very proud to be the Israeli who, you know, got the Oscar this year.  Thank
you.  

Q.    So, space, no one can hear you scream, but you guys made it really rich and dynamic.  What were some of the unique challenges for you guys in being able to work with that kind of environment? 
A.    (Christopher Benstead)  I think it was trying to keep the attention for an hour and a half when technically we shouldn't be using any sound.  But luckily we were able to do that with a few tricks by using the music a lot as well to create tension for a lot of this film.  It's one of the main voices. 

Q.    Congratulations.  This is probably one of the more unique examples of melding sound and picture together and becoming one.  Can you talk about that? 
A.    (Niv Adiri)  Well, I think from the beginning the idea was to contact ‑‑ to connect with the main character, to connect with Sandra and even recording her dialog, until the mixing.  We were just, you know ‑‑ we had to be with her for the whole journey and contributed drama as much as we could with sound and that was ‑‑ that was the idea. 
A.    (Chris Munro)  I think that's a good point.  You know, we mustn't forget that, you know, there were real performances here from Sandra and George, and they were shot like any conventional film where there's actors had to perform and they had to be, you know, part of their character and perform their character.

A.            (Skip Lievsay)  I would add that it's sort of a three‑parter in that we have straight‑up drama that happens to be taking place in a CG space world.  And we also had the sort of dreary prospect of having no sound because there's no air.  And then we had this fantastic score that did all the heavy lifting and reinforced the action and the drama in a fantastic way. 

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