Mandela Biopic’s Presidential Soundtrack

24th September 2013

“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”, held its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month. Directed by Justin Chadwick, the film based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name.

The biopic chronicles Mandela’s (played by Idris Elba) early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. The screening ended on a high with an eight-minute standing ovation from an emotional audience coupled with rapturous applause and has since received rave reviews. And there is already an ‘Oscar’ buzz…

Halo Post did the honours on the sound mix for the film, and by all accounts, the deadline was pretty tight. By restoring the mix after a hiatus period and conforming (re-editing) the mix automation to match the new picture cuts, they were able to quickly & efficiently update the mix to the new cut, incorporating sound notes from the director and producers (who were often not in the country). Then securely delivered these update 5.1 mixes to (in the case of last week) New York, for the Director and Producers to review. This process was most critical when some significant updates needed to be made before the film’s premier at the Toronto Film Festival.

Mix technician, Johnathan Rush said, “We had 2 rounds of recuts on LWTF with the second recut having up to 28 cuts per reel. With this recut we needed to conform the automation and have the mix ready for a DCP to be made for the Toronto film festival within 2 days. It was great being able to simply load the EDL we made in conformaliser into Encore and the mix was conformed! With the turnaround being so tight and we had to send the mixes out to New York for Justin Chadwick (Director) and Harvey Weinstein to approve, it was great knowing we had a rock solid desk that would allow us to meet our deadline.”

And the ‘rock solid desk’ of which Johnathan speaks? The DFC Gemini, obviously. But the movie wasn’t the only thing to receive the AMS Neve treatment – the 5.1 sound mix for the trailer was also mixed on the DFC Gemini at GCRS by Raja Sehgal.

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