Jim Schultz (left) and Mike Minkler.
Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, uses Nugen’s Halo Upmix Plug-in to mix 60’s era audio from stereo to 5.1/7.1/Dolby Atmos and back again.
Re-recording mixer Michael Minkler and veteran music editor Jim Schultz used the Nugen technology on well-known original radio broadcasts, songs and scores from the 1960s era in which the film was set.
“Quentin values the authenticity of his material, from the master recording through to the reproduction and re-recording, and how it's used in the film,” said Schultz. “One of the most important things I think we do with Quentin is to stay true to the original source as close as we can and work it into the film in a way that serves the narrative and serves the authenticity of the recording.”
For Tarantino, the immersive nature of the film’s audio starts with the dialogue. “Everything has to be real on the set; he never loops any production dialogue,” said Minkler. “Whether it’s music or dialogue, we must always work from the original source, that’s the one that’s gold and you can’t change it.
"For this film, he had to lighten up on that quite a bit because there was so much music involved – at last count, we used 107 drops of music. Jim spent a tremendous amount of time using the original source, but then Quentin gave us the flexibility to experiment with newer vinyl, digital and broadcast recordings, with the caveat that it had to be the exact pitch and time as his original to ensure there was no disjointed audio.”
Halo proved extremely helpful in creating an exact pitch to the originals. “Some of these sources were mono or two-track stereo; nothing was five-channel or higher,” said Minkler. “We’re living in a 7.1 world now, so Once Upon a Time in Hollywood had to fill up the room, but only to the level that fits and sustains the flow of the film.
"Sometimes we stayed within three or five channels and other times we’d go up to seven channels or Atmos. In some cases, however we had to upmix to 7.1 from a mono source, which is a little trickier but with Nugen's Halo Upmix, we were able do it successfully.”
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