Re-Recording Mixers
David E. Fluhr CAS and Ben Wilkins finish the soundtrack for star-studded
tribute to cult classic.

BURBANK—Originally released in 1975, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has become
one of the most enduringly popular movie musicals of all time, a staple of late
night cinemas worldwide. A celebratory reimagining of the tale of Dr.
Frank-N-Furter and his friends for Fox Television pairs original star Tim Curry
(this time as the narrator) with an otherwise all-new cast in a rousing tribute
to its predecessor that also offers plenty of fresh twists.

The soundtrack for The
Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again!
was mixed on Stage
E at Roundabout Entertainment in Burbank (now home to Southlake Audio Services).
Veteran Re-Recording Mixers David E. Fluhr CAS and Ben Wilkins worked with
Director Kenny Ortega, Picture Editor Don Brochu and Supervising Sound Editor
Tom de Gorter of Atomic Sound, and were attended by Producer Lou Adler and
soundtrack recordings producer Cisco Adlerto. They delivered an exhilarating
soundscape featuring more than 20 electrifying musical numbers. “The new show
honors and keeps the spirit of the original but it has new actors, new
performances and a whole new energy,” says Fluhr, whose previous musical
collaborations with Ortega include last year’s hit Descendants. “There were challenges, but it was fun…a lot of fun.”
Among the challenges was an accelerated delivery schedule.
Knowing that time on the mix stage would be at a premium, Fluhr and Wilkins
coordinated with the music and sound editorial 
teams to ensure elements were delivered in a form that would allow them
to work efficiently and creatively. “We worked out a strategy with the music
department for how they would stem out the songs,” Fluhr recalls. “I needed
enough separations for a 5.1 mix, but not so many that it became unmanageable.”
Fluhr adds that many of the musical numbers were pre-mixed
by Recording Engineer Shane Stoner. “We did a lot of planning before we hit the
stage,” Fluhr says. “The music department came through and delivered everything
that we asked for, and it paid off creatively. Music is the most subjective
stuff we deal with. Someone may like one thing while someone else wants it done
a different way. You need to have flexibility built in to make changes…and do
it fast. We had that.”
So central was the music that blending in dialogue and
effects required considerable finesse. “The songs are so big and well known
that it was tough to find places to play anything else,” notes Wilkins. “And
because the show is so iconic, any missteps would be spotted immediately. Our
credo was first to do no harm, don’t crowd anything important musically or

The show’s signature song serves as a case in point. “Time Warp has everything,” notes Fluhr.
“It starts out with solos and ends with a chorus and every instrument playing.
But there is also a lot of choreography and that can’t be silent. Ben did
excellent work in feathering Foley dance steps into the song. Otherwise, we
would have had people dancing on air.”
The Rocky Horror
Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again!
was one of the most complex
musical productions ever finished at Roundabout. Engineer Teddy Salas modified
Stage E’s workflow to address the complexity of the mix, adding extra faders to
the Icon D-Control Digital Console to allow Fluhr to work with the large
number of music tracks efficiently.
In the end, though, the sheer quantity of sound alone is not
what resulted in a great soundtrack. “Obviously, you have to hear the dialogue,
you have to hear the words,” Fluhr concludes. “The dialogue and the songs drive
this movie. They bring a lot of energy, but they can very easily overwhelm other
sound elements. Tom de Gorter and his editorial team from Atomic Sound did a
great job in providing us with a whole template of sound effects that relate to
things your see, but our job as mixers is to filter through that. Mixing isn’t
about playing everything. It’s about making choices and simplifying things so
that what you do play actually counts.”
About Roundabout
Roundabout Entertainment is a full-service post production
facility serving all sectors of the entertainment industry. It features the
latest technology for editorial finishing, color correction, sound editorial,
sound mixing, restoration and more, and a staff of more than 80 post production
operators who are among the best and most dedicated in the industry. The
facility’s technical infrastructure includes secure servers and a 40GB,
fiber-base LAN network.
Founded in 1992, Roundabout remains a youthful, growing
company with a startup mentality. Its mission is to solve problems and produce
great work. It is committed to remaining at the forefront of technology and
building mutually fruitful, long-term relationships with it clients.
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