The Supervising Sound Editor You’ve Never Heard of Is Quietly Saving Movies

first_imgWe recently spoke with one of the busiest supervising sound engineers in the business about what it takes to build a world using sound.Of all the different elements involved in the production of a film, sound is the unsung hero. A good audio engineer is one of the most valuable assets you can have when making a film. Derek Vanderhorst is a prime example of talent and discipline advancing a career with bigger and bigger projects. He’s worked on cartoons like Rugrats and Oscar powerhouses like No Country for Old Men. His resume is very impressive. (He’s even built his own sound stage, Summit Post.) As both the supervising sound editor and the re-recording mixer on the film Hala, which was just picked up by Apple for distribution, Vanderhorst spoke with us about the film and his career.PremiumBeat: How did you get into the business of being a supervising sound editor?Derek Vanderhorst: I began my career as a foley mixer and decided early on that I wanted to learn about all the aspects of sound editorial. For me, sound design is about the entire soundscape, not just about cutting the cool sounds you hear in films. I’ve been fortunate to have met incredible editors over the years; seeing them assemble teams and build a collaborative spirit is what drew me to supervising and mixing. I also enjoy working closely with all the editorial departments to really craft a cohesive soundscape that suits the project. Learning to edit foley, FX, sound design, backgrounds, dialogue and ADR, and how to mix the films is what has really given me an advantage as a supervising sound editor. PB: How did you approach your work on Hala? I heard you were inspired by one line in the script.DV: Early in the film, Hala has a line that is something to the effect of “It’s the silence that she feared.” This one line sets the entire mood of the film and really inspired me. It allowed me to craft this idea of using empty space to tell the main character’s story and enhance her emotions. The use of sound really let us feel Hala’s loneliness and isolation, particularly through the cacophony of the school hallways, the beautiful exterior sounds and the beat of tension during arguments.Image via Sundance Institute.PB: How was your work on Hala different than projects in the past? DV: I love working with young talented directors like Minhal Baig, who bring such excitement and passion to a project like this. She is a very special director and reminds me of Terrence Malick in her poetic approach to storytelling.  Our job with the sound is simply to support the emotion of the scene, much like you would with music. Sound design for this film allowed us to craft a sonic bed for the emotions to ride, whereas working in a genre like comedy is much more about bringing realism to what you see on screen.Each film is different in that you are working with new material and new people. There are different ways of collaborating. Luckily on Hala, Minhal had a lot of ideas that she had been thinking about since the writing of the script, and she has a wonderful way of verbalizing her ideas. She was incredibly collaborative in the sound process even when she was busy with other elements of finishing the film. She made a lot of time for sound, and it was a very important aspect to her.Image via Sundance Institute.PB: Is there something specific you look for when choosing to work on a film? DV: I love working on studio films, but my real passion is to work with young directors that are pouring their life dreams into their film and really deserve to have the sound taken as seriously as that of a major studio production. I’ve seen too many amazing films struggled to have a proper soundscape due to budget, so when I have time in-between bigger budget films, I look for smaller projects like Hala where I can collaborate with passionate, talented young directors like Minhal.PB: How do you mix a scene with several people talking such as in a round table discussion for broadcast?  Do you manually duck the mics that aren’t being used or is there a noise gate that kills a signal when someone isn’t speaking?DV: Scenes with a lot of people talking are very difficult because you want to keep the natural chaos of the conversations but bring the viewer in to specific lines that drive the story. In the editing process, I will try and split all the characters onto different tracks so we can have as much control as possible over the mix. The use of a gate would sound artificial, and I always love the noise of chaos and the natural messiness of a scene, like the one at the dinner table in Hala.Image via Sundance Institute.PB: Describe the role of a re-recording mixer.DV: A re-recording mixer’s job is to take all the elements that have been recorded and edited from production dialogue, ADR, BGs FX, design, music, [and] to foley and mix them to a master 5.1, 7.1, or Atmos mix. You may start with 1000 tracks of audio, and the job of the mixer is to mix the raw audio into a few final tracks that make up what the audience will hear. If a mix isn’t cohesive, it will really have a negative effect on the audience experience because it can bring them out of the film rather than engaging and drawing them into the story on-screen. PB: What are some tactics you use to match re-recorded audio originally shot outside?DV: I’ve actually recorded actors and groups of actors outside to capture the natural reflections of the exterior. When that can’t be done, using a large ADR stage with limited room reflections is our best tool. Luckily, there are many reverbs and delays that have been developed that let us create an exterior environment.PB: Do you master your mixes, or does that typically get sent to another department?DV: Our final Printmaster that we create on the stage is our master mix, so it’s different than music, where many times it will be sent to a mastering house. Nothing should change in the final Printmaster once it leaves my hands.Image via Summit Post.PB: Could you speak to the level of involvement Summit Post takes in the field versus post-production? What are the specific duties for each department?DV: With larger-budget films and directors that I have relationships with, I like to go to the set early on with a protools system and listen to the sound right after it’s been shot so we can make any necessary adjustments to the production recordings before we get too far down the road, which makes for a much smoother process. If we can spot any issues early, we can correct them, as this will always lead to a much better-sounding film. Many times, I am hired after the film has been shot and when they are beginning the picture editing process, so we do our best with what is available.PB: What advice do you have for someone just starting out in the sound department?DV: Be passionate, make every sound have meaning behind it, and go in ready to learn something new each day. Try to stay humble as it is our job to collaborate with the director and picture editor. The director has had a vision for this film long before we start our process, so keep an open mind and really listen to their ideas and vision. Our entire job is based on listening, so if you’re not listening and hearing your director, then you’ve already missed the coolest part of this job!Cover image via Summit Post.Since premiering at Sundance 2019, Hala has been picked up by Apple for distribution!For more interviews with some of the leading industry creatives, check out our past conversations here:The Disaster Artist: Editing a Film about Making a FilmBlending Documentary and Narrative in “The Drug Runner”Tips for Crowdfunding Over $100,00 for Your Documentary ProjectsHow The Coen Brothers Edit Their FilmsInterview with Screenwriter Patricia Resnick on Mad Men and Altmanlast_img read more

We are declaring emergency now A transcript of final cockpit communications

first_imgHALIFAX – The following is a transcript of the final conversations Sept. 2, 1998, involving the crew of ill-fated Swissair Flight 111, air traffic control centres in Moncton, N.B., and Halifax, as well as the crews of two British Airways Speedbird flights and a Virgin Airlines plane in the area at the time of the emergency situation (times in parentheses are p.m. ADT):Swissair 111 (9:58:15.8): Moncton Centre, Swissair one-eleven heavy good, uh, evening level three-three-zero.Moncton controller (9:58:20.4): Swissair one-eleven heavy, Moncton Centre, good evening. Reports of occasional light turbulence at all levels.Swissair 111 (9:58:26.1): Moncton, Swissair.(Extensive communications between Moncton Centre and other aircraft. Unintelligible squelch covered by United Flight 920.)Moncton controller (10:14:12.0): United nine-two-zero heavy, Moncton Centre. Good evening, occasional light turbulence reported at all levels. Other aircraft calling, say again.Swissair 111 (10:14:18.0): Swissair one-eleven heavy is declaring Pan Pan Pan. We have, uh, smoke in the cockpit. Uh, request immediate return, uh, to a convenient place, I guess, uh, Boston.Moncton controller (10:14:33.2): Swissair one-eleven, roger . . . turn right proceed . . . uh . . .you say to Boston you want to go.Swissair 111 (10:14:33.2): I guess Boston . . . we need first the weather so, uh, we start a right turn here. Swissair one-one-one heavy.Moncton controller (10:14:45.2): Swissair one-eleven, roger, and a descent to flight level three-one-zero. Is that OK?Swissair 111 (10:14:50.3): Three-one-zero. (Unintelligible words obscured by a noise. Possibly the noise associated with donning oxygen masks.) Three-one-zero . . . one-one heavy.Moncton controller (10:15:03.1): Swissair one-eleven, Centre.Swissair 111 (10:15:06.6): Swissair one-eleven heavy, go ahead.Moncton controller (10:15:08.6): Uh, would you prefer to go into Halifax?Swissair 111 (10:15:11.6): Uh, standby.Virgin 12 (10:15:15.9): Moncton, Virgin twelve will be standing by.Moncton controller (10:15:17.3): Virgin twelve, roger, standby.Swissair 111 (10:15:38.4): Affirmative for Swissair one-eleven heavy. We prefer Halifax from our position.Moncton controller (10:15:43.8): Swissair one-eleven, roger. Proceed direct to Halifax. Descend now to flight level two-niner-zero.Swissair 111 (10:15:48.7): Level two-niner-zero to Halifax, Swissair one-eleven heavy.BAW Speedbird 214 (10:15:58.3): And, uh, Swissair one-eleven heavy, from Speedbird two-one-four, I can give you the Halifax weather if you like.Swissair 111 (10:16:04.1): Swissair one-eleven heavy, we have the, uh, the oxygen mask on. Go ahead with the weather.BAW Speedbird 214 (10:16:10.4): OK, it’s the three hundred zulu weather was one-zero-zero at niner knots, one-five miles, scattered at one-two-zero, broken at two-five-zero, plus seventeen, plus twelve, two-niner-eight-zero, over.Swissair 111 (10:16:29.8): Roger, Swissair one-eleven heavy. We copy the, ah, altimeter is two-niner-eight-zero.Moncton controller (10:16:38.6): Swissair one-eleven, you’re cleared to ten thousand feet and the Hal . . . altimeter is two-nine-eight-zero.Swissair 111 (10:16:41.7): Two-niner-eight zero, ten thousand feet, Swissair one-eleven heavy.Moncton controller (10:16:52.5): And Swissair one-eleven, uh, can you tell me what your fuel on board is and the number of passengers?Swissair 111 (10:16:58.3): Uh, roger, standby for this.BAW Speedbird 1506 (10:17:15.5): Speedbird one-five-zero six is at Tusky listening out.Moncton controller (10:17:19.3): Speedbird one-five-zero-six, roger.Moncton controller (10:18:19.3): Swissair one-eleven, you can contact Moncton Centre now one-one-niner-point-two.Swissair 111 (10:18:24.4): One-one-niner-point-two for the Swissair one-one-one heavy.Moncton controller (10:18:31.0):Roger.Swissair 111 (10:18:34.3): Moncton Centre, good evening. Swissair one-eleven heavy, flight level two-five-four descending flight level two-five-zero on course Halifax. We are flying at the time on track zero-five-zero.Halifax controller (10:18:46.8): Swissair one-eleven, good evening. Descend to three thousand the altimeter is two-nine-seven-nine.Swissair 111 (10:18:51.8): Ah, we would prefer at the time around, uh, eight thousand feet, two-nine-eight-zero, until the cabin is ready for the landing.Halifax controller (10:19:00:9): Swissair one-eleven, uh, you can descend to three, level off at an intermediate altitude if you wish. Just advise.Swissair 111 (10:19:07.2): Roger. At the time we descend to eight thousand feet. We are anytime clear to three thousand. I keep you advised.Halifax controller (10:19:14.5): OK, can I vector you, uh, to set up for runway zero-six at Halifax?Swissair 111 (10:19:19.4): Ah, say again latest wind, please.Halifax controller (10:19:22.1): OK, active runway Halifax zero-six. Should I start you on a vector for six?Swissair 111 (10:19:26.3): Yes, uh, vector for six will be fine. Swissair one-eleven heavy.Halifax controller (10:19:31.0): Swissair one-eleven, roger. Turn left heading of, ah, zero-three-zero.Swissair 111 (10:19:35.1): Left, ah, heading zero-three-zero for the Swissair one-eleven.Halifax controller (10:19:39.5): OK, it’s a back course approach for runway zero-six. The localizer frequency one-zero-niner-decimal-niner. You’ve got thirty miles to fly to the threshold.Swissair 111 (10:19:53.3): Uh, we need more than thirty miles. Please, ah, say me again the frequency of the back beam.Halifax controller (10:19:59.5): Swissair one-eleven, roger. You can turn left heading three-six-zero to lose some altitude, the frequency is one-zero-niner-decimal-niner for the localizer. It’s a back course approach.Swissair 111 (10:20:09.5): One-zero-niner-point-niner, roger. And we are turning left to heading, ah, north. Swissair one-eleven heavy.Halifax controller (10:21:23.1): Swissair one-eleven, when you have time could I have the number of souls on board and your fuel onboard please for emergency services.Swissair 111 (10:21:30.1): Roger. At the time, uh, fuel on board is, uh, two-three-zero tonnes. We must, uh, dump some fuel. May we do that in this area during descent? (Note: Two three zero tonnes represents the current gross weight of the aircraft, not the amount of fuel on board.)Halifax controller (10:21:40.9): Uh, OK, I am going to take you . . . Are you able to take a turn back to the south or do you want to stay closer to the airport?Swissair 111 (10:21:47.0): Uh, standby short, standby short.Swissair 111 (10:21:59.1): OK, we are able for a left or right turn towards the south to dump.Halifax controller (10:22:04.2): Swissair one-eleven, uh roger, uh turn to the ah, left, heading of, ah, two-zero-zero degrees and advise time when you are ready to dump. It will be about ten miles before you are off the coast. You are still within about twenty-five miles of the airport.Swissair 111 (10:22:20.3): Roger, we are turning left and, ah, in that case we’re descending at the time only to ten thousand feet to dump the fuel.Halifax controller (10:22:29.6): OK, maintain one-zero-thousand. I’ll advise you when you are over the water and it will be very shortly.Swissair 111 (10:22:34.4): Roger.Swissair 111 (10:22:36.2): (Du bisch i dr) emergency checklist (fur) air conditioning smoke? (Translation: You are in the emergency checklist for air conditioning smoke?)Halifax controller (10:22:42.9): Uh, Swissair one-eleven, say again please.Swissair 111 (10:22:45.3): Ah, sorry, it was not for you. Swissair one-eleven was asking internally. It was my fault, sorry about.Halifax controller (10:22:50.8): OK.Halifax controller (10:23:33.1): Swissair one-eleven continue left heading one-eight-zero. You’ll be off the coast in about, ah, fifteen miles.Swissair 111 (10:23:39.2): Roger, heading left one-eight-zero. Swissair one-eleven and maintaining at ten thousand feet.Halifax controller (10:23:46.3): Roger.Halifax controller (10:23:55.7): You will, ah, be staying within about, ah, thirty-five, forty miles of the airport if you have to get to the airport in a hurry.Swissair 111 (10:24.03.9): OK, that’s fine for us. Please tell me when we can start, ah, to dump the fuel.Halifax controller (10:24:08.8): OK.Swissair 111 (10:24:28.1): (Background phone). Ah, Swissair one-eleven. At the time we must fly, ah, manually. Are we cleared to fly between, ah, ten thou . . . eleven thousand and niner thousand feet? (Sound of autopilot disconnect warbler).Halifax controller (10:24:28.1): Swissair one-eleven, you can block between, ah, five thousand and twelve thousand if you wish.Swissair 111 (10:24:45.1): Swissair one-eleven heavy is declaring emergency; (10:24:46.4 second voice overlap) Roger, we are between, uh, twelve and five thousand feet. We are declaring emergency now at, ah time, ah, zero-one-two-four. (Possible intercom sound toward end of transmission).Halifax controller (10:24:56.0): Roger.Swissair 111 (10:24:56.5): Eleven heavy, we starting dump now, we have to land immediate.Halifax controller (10:25:00.7): Swissair one-eleven, just a couple of miles, I’ll be right with you.Swissair 111 (10:25:04.1): Roger. (Sound – probable autopilot disconnect warbler).Swissair 111 (10:25:05.4): And we are declaring emergency now, Swissair one-eleven.Halifax controller (10:25:08.6): Copy that.Halifax controller (10:25:19.2): Swissair one-eleven, you are cleared to, ah, commence your fuel dump on that track and advise me, ah, when the dump is complete.Halifax controller (10:25:43.0): Swissair one-eleven, check you’re cleared to start the fuel dump.Swissair 111 (10:25:49.3): (Unrecognizable noise, followed by silence)last_img read more