Academy Awards underline AMS Neve's pre-eminence

25th March 2011

There’d have been no Best Song award for Toy Story 3 without it. There’d have been no music for Natalie Portman’s Black Swan to dance to. Alice In Wonderlandwould have stayed wondering.

The Social Network couldn’t have won its Oscar for Original Score. Inception couldn’t have won Best Sound – and certainly couldn’t have convinced in the same way. And The King’s Speech couldn’t even have been written, let alone picked up its Academy Award for Best Film.

Sound isn’t just necessary for movies. It’s crucial – and ever more complex. Whether it’s helping to set a historical scene, displaying inner emotions, making the audience believe in animated characters or making dreams appear real, getting the sound right is essential.

Take the Parisian café scene in Inception. There’s the rattle of a coffee cup as Leonardo DiCaprio explains to Ellen Page that she’s in the middle of a dream, while the virtual world around them starts to break down. But that’s only the part of it. There are the deep rumbles of collapsing buildings, explosions and heavy objects colliding, the sharp crack of breaking glass… and all of that builds under the dialogue, which is already overlaid onto background music and street café atmospheres.

Pause for a moment to consider the vision, expertise and meticulous craftsmanship of the sound crews who build the separate layers of these soundtracks – and the surpassing skill of the re-recording mixers who marry up all the elements into a coherent, utterly convincing mix.

Now think about the technology required to deal with that information in six or more channels of surround sound – the workflow expertise and processing power that goes into a console which can handle hundreds of inputs, hundreds of paths and hundreds upon hundreds of automation instructions.

Overwhelmingly, the studios, engineers and mixers who produce Oscar winning scores and soundtracks rely on AMS Neve consoles – the Neve 88RS with SP2 scoring panel for the score, and the AMS Neve DFC (itself an Academy Award winner) for the final dub – to deliver the power and sonic quality to match the director’s vision. And how do we define overwhelmingly?

Try this: 80% of the 2011 Academy Award for feature films went to titles produced using the AMS Neve DFC or the Neve 88RS – or both. And along with congratulating all those involved in making Alice In WonderlandBlack Swan,Inception, The King’s Speech, The Social Network and Toy Story 3 – which between them won 16 Oscars – we’d like to congratulate (and thank) the facilities which had the foresight to install AMS Neve consoles, and the engineers who are lucky enough to work on them.

Well done to Abbey RoadAIR LyndhurstBoom PostDisneySkywalkerSony’s Barbra Streisand Scoring Stage and Warner’s Eastwood Scoring Stage. And particularly well done to Richard King (Sound Editing), and Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick (pictured) – and not forgetting the AMS Neve DFC at Warner Bros Post – on winning the 2011 Academy Award for Sound Mixing for their work on Inception. Sometimes dreams do come true in real life.