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When filmmakers talk about building the world of a movie, it is often in terms of its visual components – production design, special effects and cinematography – but necessarily not sound. But for a science fiction film set in the future, sound editors can’t rely on sound libraries or modern day sound effects; instead, they have to imagine and construct sounds based on how the world has changed, and in the case of “Blade Runner 2049,” how the dystopia Ridley Scott created in 1982 has evolved.
Most movies don’t really start dealing with sound design until post-production, but because of the demands and scope of the “Blade Runner 2049” soundscape, director Denis Villeneuve was able to put into practice an idea he had considered for a long time — bringing on sound designer Theo Green at the beginning of production, and supervising sound editor Mark Mangini just weeks later. Both men are currently nominated for Oscars for Best Sound Editing; it’s Mangini’s fifth nomination, and Green’s first.
Sound - Design - Editing - Villeneuve - Interview
“Usually, you start the sound design almost when the editing is finished,” said Villeneuve in an interview with IndieWire. “So to start on the sound for a year full time, designing sounds for each aspect of the movie and sculpting those beautiful ambiences – that are like music sometimes – it became part of the DNA of the film that my editor Joe Walker and I can edit to.”
“Blade Runner 2049”
Warner - Bros
One of the guiding principles Villeneuve gave Green early on was that the dystopia of Los Angeles in 2049 had multiple levels. The world became quieter as viewers moved above the ground of the city and into the air, until the soundscape reached an almost zen-like calm. “It’s a socio-economic leveling, on the bottom people are struggling and the top levels this is where...
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