Guided by an Oscar-winner, examine the skills and real-world protocols involved in designing, recording, mixing and editing sound for film and video
NOTE: This class will be held in a live, online format using the Zoom Platform.
Class meets M/W/F 10am-3pm EDT
Quite often sound is the most under-appreciated aspect of filmmaking even though photography and sound are the two most important tools in cinematic storytelling. This is a workshop for those who want to explore the technical knowledge and set procedures required of professional sound recordists and mixers in a wide range of field productions. It will be equally attentive to craft and theory.
Led by Oscar-Winning Production Sound Mixer Mark Ulano, the workshop covers the preparation, necessary equipment, processes and techniques for recording and mixing sound in the field. Students learn to appreciate the protocols common to all TV and movies, the importance of inter-departmental communication and cooperation, the correct use and function of equipment, and the physical and sonic challenges of working on location.
Mark will draw on case studies from his 25 years of work with Quentin Tarantino (Hateful 8, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained) and from his work on films like Titanic and Iron Man.
We’ll explore work flow, how to serve the project and the needs of the director, interpreting the script for sound, logistical and technical prep, location scouts, linking with other departments, researching the cast and special needs, the dynamics of interaction with the sound crew as well as the post-production sound team, new technologies, and much more. Additionally, we will examine how to develop your own sound aesthetic and how to work with various microphones, digital recorders, as well as booms and support equipment to create a ‘sound environment’ for a variety of film and video productions.
In one session we will visit a Directing Master Class with director Allen Coulter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire) and a Cinematography Master Class with Jonathan Freeman A.S.C. (Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire) happening the same week so that students can observe a director and cinematographer planning a scene. In our own follow-up session we will react to their planning of that scene and the implications of those decisions for the sound team.
We will also examine the varied situations a sound mixer encounters working in the field, from car shots, camera cars, noisy environments, wireless miking, overhead booming, and working with children, to the Covid-19 production world (safety vs. sanity). Other topics include staying on mic, dynamic miking situations, multiple booms, multiple cameras, planting technique, set-up decisions, blocking, lighting and lenses, on-set protocol, etiquette, the Boom Operator/Camera Operator relationship, live music on the set, playback, and sync issues. The class will also consider career path and strategies, building a resume, and the benefits of audio societies and union membership.
Exercises will support your exploration of preparation and how to develop an ear for sound and how to listen to it in a very specific way.
You’ll leave the week having explored a philosophy of approach that places creative filmmaking above technique – one that blends technical craft as foundational to creative intent. You’ll have new insight in how to handle technical challenges and creative problem solving, and everything that is required of the complete professional production sound recordist/mixer.
Instructor: Mark Ulano, C.A.S.
An Oscar-winning production sound mixer, Mark Ulano has been recording sound for film professionally since 1976. His work on TITANIC won him an Academy Award for Sound Mixing as well as the Cinema Audio Society Award for Best Sound mixing for a Feature Film. He was also Oscar-nominated for ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, and AD ASTRA. His other credits include THE HATEFUL EIGHT, DJANGO UNCHAINED, KILL BILL VOLS. I & 2, JACKIE BROWN, IRON MAN, IRON MAN 2, COWBOYS & ALIENS, THE MASTER, WEDDING CRASHERS and over one hundred other films. He has had a 25 year collaboration with Quentin Tarantino. Mr. Ulano has served five terms as president of IATSE Local 695 (the film sound union) and also served five terms on the executive committee of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Sound Branch. He has sat ten terms as a board member for the Cinema Audio Society and served as president of that organization for two terms. He is also in the final stages of completing a comprehensive text on the work of Production Sound Mixing. He has authored over 50 articles, interviews and reviews related to Production Sound Mixing. He has frequently been a guest speaker at sound symposiums internationally, including The Directors Guild of America, the Rycote World Sound Symposium, The Norwegian Bjoksjo Sound Symposium, The Beijing Film Academy, Digital Video Expo, AES and Cinema Audio Society. He has also directed documentaries including I LOVE WHAT I DO and JULIANNA: A PORTRAIT.