'Greyhound' audio crew explain how it sound-mixed the Apple TV+ drama

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited April 10
The Apple TV+ film "Greyhound" required some lateral thinking from its sound team, with a profile on how the audio mix during a key battle scene revealing the lengths the production went to make it dramatic.




Apple's acquisition of the Tom Hanks naval drama "Greyhound" for the Apple TV+ streaming service was well received by users and critics, with the film depicting the drama of the high-stakes mission. A large part of this was due to its audio mixing, which was a challenge for all involved.

In a profile of rerecording mixer Michael Minkler, supervising sound editor Warren Shaw and sound mixer David Wyman by Variety, the team revealed what went into putting the audience in the middle of the action.

During the third-act climactic scene featuring an attempt by USS Greyhound to avoid torpedoes, Minkler brings up the different elements at play, beyond dramatic music and dialog. "There are sound effects with the engines, the high seas, the explosions coming from both sides," said Minkler.

The audience has to "hear where it ramps up the speed and pulls down," Minkler said of the ship's noises. Sounds of torpedoes were hyper-dramatic, with their movements in the water meant to be heard to give the idea of the warheads heading to the boat.

As research, Minkler and Shaw visited the USS Kidd in Louisiana and talked to veterans about how a captain's orders are given and repeated throughout a crew. This was to get a better understanding of how communications worked in that sort of situation, to increase accuracy.

To give the actors an immersive experience, and to get around not being able to use a boom operator, microphones were placed throughout the ship to capture sound and dialog. "We had a lot of microphones in plain sight, and they were painted the same color as the inside of the ship," explained Shaw.

Playback speakers were also located throughout the vessel, to help the actors "feel the urgency and danger."

"Greyhound" is considered a successful purchase for Apple, as awards season continues. The film has already picked up two nominations for Special Visual Effects and Sound for the British Academy Film Awards, following previous nominations from the Visual Effects Society Awards and the Motion Picture Sound Editors.

The initial release did suffer from sound problems, with an audio-sync issue discovered roughly an hour into the movie in July 2020.

Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, "Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider," and you'll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for "AppleInsider Daily" instead and you'll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you're interested in Apple-centric home automation, say "Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider," and you'll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    takeotakeo Posts: 420member
    I turned it off after 20 minutes. The whole “movie” seemed to be nothing more than a bunch of screaming and an endless aural assault. Making me jump out of my chair every two minutes and constantly having to turn the volume down, then back up, then back down, then up, then down, up, down, up, down (even with compression enabled) is not my idea of fun.
    edited April 10 pulseimages
  • Reply 2 of 12
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 553member
    This movie was my first experience with the spatial audio on my AirPods Pro, and to this day it’s still the best experience I’ve had with it. Although “Calls” comes pretty close. 
    austinbazegregoriusmBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Enjoyed the movie very much. I never even thought about or noticed any sound issues. The movie was very well done. 
    austinbazegregoriusmGeorgeBMacd_2watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    I enjoyed every moment of the film.  Watching on a big screen in a darkened room with good speakers helped me experience all the terror, claustrophobia and tension being at sea, under-defended and under constant sneak attack must have entailed. Sound was excellent, and immersive. I never adjusted the volume once the film was underway--no idea why you would want to or have to do that. A real winner in every way.
    gregoriusmFidonet127d_2watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 459member
    I enjoyed every moment of the film.  Watching on a big screen in a darkened room with good speakers helped me experience all the terror, claustrophobia and tension being at sea, under-defended and under constant sneak attack must have entailed. Sound was excellent, and immersive. I never adjusted the volume once the film was underway--no idea why you would want to or have to do that. A real winner in every way.
    Das Boot.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    riverkoriverko Posts: 120member
    Watching it with my Dolby Atmos sound system was great experience. I understand that some might have issues. Watching it on TV with the built-in stereo speakers only trying to keep up with all those sounds. But that is general issue for any movie with ‘better’ sound - be it DVD, BluRay with Dolby 5.1 and higher…
    GeorgeBMacgregoriusmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,278member
    riverko said:
    Watching it with my Dolby Atmos sound system was great experience. I understand that some might have issues. Watching it on TV with the built-in stereo speakers only trying to keep up with all those sounds. But that is general issue for any movie with ‘better’ sound - be it DVD, BluRay with Dolby 5.1 and higher…

    Yeh, my home theater system predates Atmos -- but it's still pretty good.  And, it adds enormously to films like Greyhound where the sound is an integral part of the picture.   With a high end system you don't just hear the explosion, you feel the explosion.  Lord of the RIngs is another where the sound really contributes to the movie -- deep, full throated sound that you can feel in your chest.
    ...  It's one of the things missing from even stereo HomePods -- they have great sound but they can't push enough air for you to feel the sound.

    Frankly, I've become used to great sound -- so the sound in Greyhound seemed about normal to me -- until an earlier ai article pointed it out.  Then I realized how much the sound contributed to the film. And, how much the film would have suffered without it.

    I can only offer my pity to those watching these films using TV speakers.   it's half of the fun.
    And, it's a bit of shame this movie did not open in theaters -- not because of the big screen but because of their superior sound systems.
    Fidonet127watto_cobraglennhjony0
  • Reply 8 of 12
    riverko said:
    Watching it with my Dolby Atmos sound system was great experience. I understand that some might have issues. Watching it on TV with the built-in stereo speakers only trying to keep up with all those sounds. But that is general issue for any movie with ‘better’ sound - be it DVD, BluRay with Dolby 5.1 and higher…

    Yeh, my home theater system predates Atmos -- but it's still pretty good.  And, it adds enormously to films like Greyhound where the sound is an integral part of the picture.   With a high end system you don't just hear the explosion, you feel the explosion.  Lord of the RIngs is another where the sound really contributes to the movie -- deep, full throated sound that you can feel in your chest.
    ...  It's one of the things missing from even stereo HomePods -- they have great sound but they can't push enough air for you to feel the sound.

    Frankly, I've become used to great sound -- so the sound in Greyhound seemed about normal to me -- until an earlier ai article pointed it out.  Then I realized how much the sound contributed to the film. And, how much the film would have suffered without it.

    I can only offer my pity to those watching these films using TV speakers.   it's half of the fun.
    And, it's a bit of shame this movie did not open in theaters -- not because of the big screen but because of their superior sound systems.
    And yet the Dolby Atmos adds so much more to a film like this that I found it a real treat when I upgraded my 5.1 system to even a low end Denon receiver with the sound format.  
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,990member
    Japhey said:
    This movie was my first experience with the spatial audio on my AirPods Pro, and to this day it’s still the best experience I’ve had with it. Although “Calls” comes pretty close. 
    I was curious if anybody was using AirPods Max, and how that might compare to AirPods Pro. I'm really jonesin' to give the APP a try.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,433member
    takeo said:
    I turned it off after 20 minutes. The whole “movie” seemed to be nothing more than a bunch of screaming and an endless aural assault. Making me jump out of my chair every two minutes and constantly having to turn the volume down, then back up, then back down, then up, then down, up, down, up, down (even with compression enabled) is not my idea of fun.
    No accounting for taste I guess.  I thought it was exceptional and immersive.  I find that a good movie transports me into the setting.  This did that.  It was non stop tension with just enough resolution to be ready for the next battle or crisis.  The performances were great, the effects were great, etc.   
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 11 of 12
    That movie was a dud, one of Tom Hanks rare misses. I didn’t appreciate how they changed some of the U-boat captain’s dialogue from the commercials. Made it less creepy. 
  • Reply 12 of 12
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,278member
    That movie was a dud, one of Tom Hanks rare misses. I didn’t appreciate how they changed some of the U-boat captain’s dialogue from the commercials. Made it less creepy. 

    I would say that it was one of his best -- except that he's had so many, it would be hard to choose.
    Fidonet127glennhjony0
Sign In or Register to comment.