Avid’s “The Sound of Stranger Things” Panel a Big Hit at Mix Presents Sound for Film

By in Audio Post, Pro Mixing

Hello again everyone! Just going to put this one out there quickly

Some very “Stranger Things” were happening in the audio community at MIX Presents Sound for Film, a conference and exhibition at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, CA on September 17. Avid was a sponsor and major participant, hosting an interactive panel called “The Sound of Stranger Things,” which featured six members of the sound team from the popular Netflix series.

I had the pleasure of being the moderator of this panel of which over 100 people attended, held in the facility’s Cary Grant Theatre. The speakers included sound designer Craig Henighan, supervising sound editor Brad North, music editor David Klotz, and sound FX editor Jordan Wilby. Due to scheduling, two others, re-recording mixers Joe Barnett and Adam Jenkins, joined via Skype.

The discussion focused on how the soundtrack for Stranger Things was created. The panelists described their workflows—in which Pro Tools and the S6 console played a major role—and the best part was that we played clips from the show to demonstrate specific sounds as actual characters in the show and sound-design/editorial/mixing techniques.

The audience was awesome and so into this panel, asking tons of questions throughout the panel, which ran over 90 minutes.

Here are some excerpts from the time with the Stranger Audio Crew.

“I was on [the project] pretty early…they gave me sequences, I cut them, bounced them down to stereo, gave them some individual elements if they needed, and then they dropped them in the Avid. So they were living with these tracks really, really early on…A lot of what you hear, after Joe and Adam mixed it, didn’t really change that much in terms of content.”

—Craig Henighan on his involvement with series creators, the Duffer Brothers

“We had to define our spaces – the real world (Hawkins) and then the upside down. We had to make each environment be incredibly distinct, but we also had to be able to find how the two worlds impinge upon each other…Technically, we used everything in our toolbox: delays, reverbs, space – a little bit of everything.”

—Joe Barnett on the challenge of doing a series like Stranger Things

“With the music, the Duffer Brothers knew what they wanted. They’d heard the demos, and technically didn’t know what separation we had, but they knew what they liked and wanted to hear it…As always, there’s a dance with sound and music and that separation helped us (and Joe) mix the music against everything else.”

—David Klotz on the use of music in the show

“There was a lot of integration of sound design moving into music, so scenes flowed together, even with a lot of disparate elements…we can get away with anything in a world we’re creating.”

—Adam Jenkins on the mix

In addition to hosting the panel, Avid offered demos of the S6 and S3 studio consoles throughout the day and gave away a Pro Tools | Dock and copy of Pro Tools 12.6 | HD to two lucky winners.

For more highlights from other MIX presents Sound for Film panels, check out this exclusive collection of audio podcasts from Soundworks Collection.

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I'm just a simple man obsessed with audio and trying to make my way across the universe. My background is in recording, engineering and mixing. I simply love good audio whether it be a piece of film, TV or music. Keep listening!