May 25, 2017

Technicolor Creates the Otherworldly Sonics of American Gods

The sound team at Technicolor created a distinct soundscape for old gods fading, new gods rising – and the ultimate battle between the two.

  • The book-to-screen adaptation of American Gods captures much of the author’s intent through sound.
  • Creating dreamlike worlds requires a different experience with sounds than projects grounded in reality.

The critically-acclaimed series American Gods, based on the award-winning novel by Neil Gaiman, presented the creators with a very specific need when moving from page to screen. How do you differentiate the old gods of myth – fading but fighting to remain relevant – with the shiny new gods of the media-driven digital age – such as Technical Boy, god of the Internet?

One way is through the highly imaginative and skillful use of sound – and that’s what the showrunners who created the series, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, were after when they engaged Technicolor for the show’s otherworldly soundscape. The show – which has a dreamlike reality enhanced by sound – was mixed in 7.1 at Technicolor at Paramount by Re-recording Mixer Joe DeAngelis with sounds provided by Supervising Sound Editor and Sound Designer Brad North and Sound Designer David Werntz.

As the battle between the old gods and the new gods escalates, North explains the sonic distinctions:

“The old gods had a bigger, low-end, natural sort of [presence], where some of the newer gods had more of a process feel. For example, when Mr. World moves and hits himself, little pieces of him come off and orbit around. So we did some randomizing, and stuttering, so that it matched what you saw.”

The show is filled with exclusive sounds from the personal library of Werntz, who has been recording sounds for the past 20 years. “The sound [is not always] grounded in reality,” he said. “There is a scene on top of a building in downtown Chicago [that] sounds like a mystical forest up there.”

“We wanted to cocoon the audience as much as we could with the sound, either the music or the effects, or a combination of both,” added DeAngelis.

Check out the mystical world of American Gods in the official trailer from STARZ.



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