May 30, 2013

A new dimension in sound for Matt Hulse's Dummy Jim

Technicolor rises to the challenge of mixing Dummy Jim for hard of hearing audience

Technicolor rises to the challenge of mixing Dummy Jim for hard of hearing audience.

Technicolor  is proud to have provided sound services for feature film, Dummy Jim, which had its world premiere in competition at Rotterdam’s International Film Festival earlier this year, and has just been nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature at the upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival (19 - 30 June).

Directed and written by Matt Hulse, Dummy Jim is a hybrid of documentary, fiction and animation, freely adapted from the little-known journal 'I Cycled into the Arctic Circle'. First published in 1951, the book was written by a profoundly deaf Scotsman called James Duthie, known to his community in north east Scotland as ‘Dummy Jim’, it recounts a three month 3000 mile solo cycling round trip from Scotland to Norway.

James was killed in a mysterious road accident in 1965 and his story remains largely unknown. Matt Hulse has turned this extraordinary tale into a feature length film, making a conscientious effort to ensure the movie appeals to both deaf and hearing audiences.

Seasoned Technicolor Re-recording mixer Jules Woods was presented with the challenge of mixing 5.1 sound for the feature film and was given an unusual brief to “mix the film for a deaf audience”.

Jules explained: “Matt wanted to express the same emotional experience to his deaf audience that the rich 5.1 soundtrack would convey to his hearing audience. I made quite a bold use of the subwoofer channel to really bring out the emotions.”

“There is a shot during the film where we can see James Duthie attempting to fix his bike, being pounded with heavy winds and rain. By sending the right frequencies of sound to the subwoofer you can actually feel the sound rather than just hear it – the effect this gives is one of being able to feel the wind hitting your chest.”

Technicolor Foley recordist Adam Mendez created an array of tyre sounds using his extensive toolbox of microphones. The Technicolor team worked closely together to make the audience feel as if it were on top of the bike through the many close up shots of James’ tyres rumbling along the road.

For the hearing audience, the film comes with full 5.1 soundtrack and an excellent music score, including several animated scenes that were scored with electronic, synth based music. The composer delivered separated stems for the segments so Jules was able to fill the entire room with the music and make full use of all of the surround channels to completely immerse viewers.

Jules concluded: “It was a fantastic project to work on, I’m really proud that the film was so well received at the premiere. In particular, I’m pleased that the sound design has received such positive feedback from our deaf audience”.

Technicolor Credits
Re-recording mixer: Jules Woods
Foley Recordist: Adam Mendez


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