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IFTA Q&A Series: Chris Burdon on Sound Mixing
02 May 2023 : Luke Shanahan
Chris Burdon
To mark the 20th anniversary of the IFTA awards, we are showcasing Irish talent who are blazing a trail across our industry, working in front of and behind the camera.

Hosted in association with IFTA, this Q&A Series connects with talent who represent a range of disciplines across the Irish film industry. 

We find out what they look out for in the projects they take on, what their approach is to filmmaking and collaboration; what inspires them; and what recent work in the industry they most admire.

Chris Burdon is nominated for Best Sound, for his re-recording mixing The Banshees of Inisherin. Burdon is a re-recording mixer at Warner Bros. De Lane Lea in London. He has worked on a variety of international projects including Children of Men, Captain Phillips, and Wonder Woman. Earlier this year, he won the Academy Award for Best Sound for Top Gun: Maverick.

IFTN: IFTA celebrates 20 years this year. How does this significant milestone reflect the growth and strengthening of the Irish film industry over the past two decades?

CHRIS: “The incredible international success of Irish films in the last year shows clearly that the Irish film industry is thriving.”

IFTN: Tell me about your experience working on this project, and your favourite moment during post-production?

CHRIS: “Working with Martin McDonagh is always a wonderful experience.”

“The joy of mixing his incredible work is that you are constantly interacting with the film like a member of the audience. Laughter, sadness, shock… this means as a mixer you are following Martin’s direction both on film and personally on the mixing stage.”

IFTN: How do you collaborate with directors during the mixing process?

CHRIS: “I try to be as open and communicative as possible with the filmmakers when we are mixing. As re-recording mixers we spend a lot of time taking notes from directors, editors and producers. It is always great to have their trust, which means you can bring your technical and creative influence on the sound whilst still supporting their ‘vision’.”

IFTN: How did you first get into post-production sound professionally, and what have you learned through your experiences that would be of use to aspiring re-recording mixers?

CHRIS: “I was fortunate to join the BBC in 1991 and receive 18 months training in many aspects of post-production sound. This provided an excellent basis to move on through the industry. I have always felt that the most successful mixers are the most personable and enthusiastic. Some hard work early on and the willingness to learn industry-standard equipment can give aspiring re-recording mixers a great start in what can be a long and fulfilling career.”

IFTN: Can you talk about your experience collaborating with sound designers and sound editors on this project to achieve the desired sound?

CHRIS: “Martin McDonagh was very clear from early on in the process that he wanted a very pared back sound mix in terms of additional sound FX. This meant the whole sound editorial team had to be on the same page, supporting this approach to the mix. The emphasis was on dialogue and music. The original dialogue recordings from Simon Willis were technically excellent allowing myself and Simon Chase, the dialogue editor, to create a really wonderful, rich sounding dialogue track.”

IFTN: Is there one thing about your craft that you would like the public to be more aware of?

CHRIS: “It’s always worth reminding the audience that the final sound mix on a film , music , dialogue and effects, isn’t just the sound as recorded on location.”

IFTN: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

CHRIS: “Simply, listen.”

The 20th anniversary of the IFTA Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 7th.





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