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Making Waves: behind a fascinating documentary about movie sound (from The Guardian)

Jim Feeley

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An interview with the director in today's edition of The Guardian:


Making Waves: behind a fascinating documentary about movie sound

Professor and director Midge Costin talks about her ear-opening new film that aims to remind audiences just how much work goes into cinematic sound


Midge Costin has had it with people forgetting the difference between sound editing and sound mixing every time the Oscars roll around. Once and for all: “Sound mixing brings all the elements together, all the various recorded tracks, and synthesizes them into one soundscape. Editing covers voice, music, effects, ADR – how do they sound?” So, that should be the end of that.


Of course, the professor and audio-biz legend had more on her mind than settling cocktail party disputes when she set out to create her new documentary Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound. Her career’s emphasis on education gave her the idea to condense a semester’s worth of introductory material into one compact package, breaking down the essentials of her craft for an audience of laypeople. She introduces and defines key terms – foley work, automated dialogue replacement, mono v stereo v surround sound – in order to render visible labor that generally goes unseen and unnoticed when done well.


“I went to film school, and I hated sound,” Costin tells the Guardian by phone. “It scared me, I had panic attacks doing it, so I wanted to be a picture editor when I graduated. I was doing my thesis, and a friend called me up to tell me that none of their union guys would touch 16mm sound. I fell into it by mistake, because I needed the money. I took the sound job, and then went, ‘Oh, crap. I’m responsible for tone and mood.’ I had a conversion, once I realized that sound wasn’t just technical. It adds so much to the story.”


Rest of the article:





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It played festivals, had some other screenings, and is now doing a limited theatrical release (at least here in the US). Not available for streaming yet; perhaps they delayed that?


Not sure about Europe, but this is probably a good place to find out the latest on their release schedule:



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  • 3 weeks later...

I cound't wait, first thing I did right after I arrived home was watching it.


It's a really awesome documentary. I love how the story is told and how it can connect with you even emotionally. It's a pity that sound work is so invisible compared to camera/cinematography work that grabs so much more attention in the form of books and documentaries. Yet it is so powerful. 


Now wish me luck, I am going to try to convince my 18 year old nephew to watch it.He is studying 3D design and it seems he would like to work on video games. 

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