Toronto facility creates
“immersive” soundtrack for Afghan war drama “Hyena Road” debuting at TIFF.

TORONTO— In a significant boost to its services for movie and television
sound, Tattersall Sound and Picture has added Dolby Atmos technology to its
largest mixing stage and completed its first project in the immersive sound
format. Hyena Road, an Afghan war
drama from actor/director Paul Gross (Passchendaele)
will make its world premiere this month at the Toronto International Film
Festival as a Gala Presentation.
Tattersall Sound & Picture provided both sound editorial
and mixing services for the film, which centers on Canadian troops facing
Taliban attacks while struggling to complete a crucial highway link. In
pre-production conversations with Hyena
Road
producers Rhombus Media, it became clear that the film’s action
sequences would benefit from the Atmos format, which uses an array of more than
35 speakers to engulf the audience in an intricate web of sound.
Hyena Road

“We looked into adding Atmos for this
project and decided it was something that we should do,” said company
co-founder and re-recording engineer Lou Solakofski. “Some of the combat
scenes in Kandahar City were perfect for Dolby Atmos. It would allow us to
place sounds on the ceiling, on sidewalls and back walls. We could make missiles
and bullets fly right by your ear.”

Upgrading the company’s largest mixing theater involved
several months of research, engineering and installation, and a considerable
investment in technology, including 32 new speakers. At the end of the process,
Dolby engineers commissioned the studio and gave it official
Atmos-certification, making it one of the first Canadian sound rooms to attain
that status.
While Atmos technology was being fitted into the mix stage,
sound editorial for Hyena Road was
proceeding at an intense clip. Supervising Sound Editor Jane Tattersall and her
crew were charged with creating the sound effects for the film’s high
adrenaline battle scenes. That involved gathering the sounds of the actual
firearms and artillery used by both the Canadian armed forces and Taliban
fighters.
The film also makes considerable use of crowd noises.
Although the film is set in Afghanistan, it was shot in Jordan with Jordanian
Arabs as extras. Their voices had to be replaced with those of native Afghan speakers.
“That required finding a lot of people locally who were Afghan natives and
spoke the Pashtun dialect,” recalled Solakofski. “We used their voices for
crowds of fighters and other people in Kandahar and small villages so that the
sound would be authentic to the location.” Foley sessions were recorded at
Footsteps, Toronto.
Melding all those sounds on the Atmos mix stage helped to
bring the film alive. Solakofski says that the large speaker array creates an
opportunity to build soundtracks that are richer, more nuanced and realistic
that the 5.1 sound that has been standard for motion pictures for several
decades. “As a mixer, you are always looking for a place to put audio in order
to add suspense and help involve the audience,” he says. “That was definitely
true in this case. It’s a bigger canvas to work with.”
Solakofski believes that audiences will appreciate the
difference and that will, in turn, fuel demand for Atmos-certified mixing. “We
see it as a great investment,” he concludes. “More films and television shows
will adopt this format because the end user will demand it.”
About SIM Group:
Backed by Toronto-based investment firm
Granite Partners, the SIM Group is a leading supplier of production equipment,
workflow and post-production solutions, with offices across the US, Canada and
China. Our diverse services can be utilized on any production at any stage. In
Canada, our offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax service grip and lighting
from PS Production Services and can be complemented with SIM Digital
cinematography and playback equipment for any production’s needs.  Bling,
Chainsaw, Pixel Underground, Tattersall Sound and Picture and Post Factory
NY provide an array of services from dailies, to online and offline
editing, to final color/DI and visual effects, to sound editorial and mixing.
Bling’s services, which include a comprehensive workflow solution, are offered
at all offices across the US and Canada, as well as off-site service through
POD (Post on Demand).  Chainsaw’s full-service facility in Hollywood
provides creative editorial and extensive finishing services with some of the
top colorists in the industry. Rounding out the family of
companies are Pixel Underground, a Toronto-based post-production
company, and its associated service, StationEX, which provides physical and
file-based media fulfillment and encoding/distribution
services, Tattersall Sound and Picture, a provider of sound editorial and
mixing for motion pictures and television and Post Factory NY, one of the East
Coast’s top independent post-production facilities. For more information,
visit simgroup.com
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