Technicolor Sound Teams Up With Michael Bay For 13 Hours

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February 01, 2016
Technicolor Sound is “boots on the ground” for Michael Bay’s true-story action-drama 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.
Technicolor Sound is “boots on the ground” for Michael Bay’s true-story action-drama 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

For the soundscape of  Michael Bay’s film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Technicolor sound mixers Greg P. Russell and Jeff Haboush, along with Gary Summers created a well-balanced sound mix that delivers a visceral, clear experience in a film with a large amount of sound information (drone communications, headsets, and intense combat).

Q: What was Michael Bay’s creative approach to working with you on this project?

RUSSELL: This is a boots on the ground kind of movie. We wanted to drop the audience right into this horrible and tragic situation, to experience what these guys went through.

HABOUSH: Michael wanted the score to be scary. There are sequences where the guys don’t know what’s around the next corner. We needed an eerie, subliminal, and textured score, and I think Lorne Balfe (composer) really achieved that.

According to Russell, who has worked with Michael Bay for 20 years, the director pushed the team towards the limit, and trusted them to deliver an impactful track.

Q: Were there any unique challenges on the project?

RUSSELL: [The unique challenge] was maintaining intelligibility of all of the chaos that’s going on, which should serve the experience and the heroics of these guys. There are three waves of attacks on the CIA outpost. We wanted to create some variation by mixing the material in different ways.

HABOUSH: We created different sound perspectives for each of the film’s battle sequences. There are moments in the movie where we go very stylized with all of the sound effects allowing the music to drive the sequence and be more much lyrical or impressionistic.

Russell,  Haboush, and Summers worked alongside mix technician Drew Webster, sound designer Tim Walston, and supervising sound editors Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn to create a cinematic and immersive sound experience for the audience. Throughout the process, the sound team was able to work with Bay in a comfortable, creative environment at the Technicolor at Paramount facility.

Q: How would you sum up the experience on 13 Hours?

RUSSELL: Our primary purpose is to create a cinematic experience and to help a director tell their story in a profound way using sound. In the case of 13 Hours, Michael Bay was very happy with the services our team provided.