New York, NY (December 13, 2019)—For Epix’s crime drama Godfather of Harlem, the show’s sound team at Goldcrest Post, led by and supervising sound editor/re-recording mixer Jacob Ribicoff and re-recording mixer Bob Chefalas, was tasked with bringing city streets and other environments depicted in the show sonically to life.
Written by Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein, and executive produced by Forest Whitaker, Nina Yang Bongiovi, James Acheson, John Ridley and Markuann Smith, Godfather of Harlem is based on the story of real-life crime boss Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson (played by Whitaker) who returns to his former neighborhood after a decade in Alcatraz to find it under the control of the Italian mob.
“It was very important to Chris Brancato that we get 1963 Harlem right,” says Ribicoff. “During initial spotting sessions, we talked about the various neighborhoods portrayed in the show and how to give each one the proper feel. Many neighborhoods were African-American, but among them, there were gradations from rough and poor to relatively wealthy. East Harlem, the Italian neighborhood, had its own signature sound as did Spanish Harlem. We wanted people to feel those distinctions as Bumpy moves through the city.”
The sound team combed through old news footage and other archival material to get a sense for the sounds of real-world city streets, apartment buildings, shops, nightclubs and traffic. Their goal was to replicate those sonic spaces as accurately as possible to draw viewers into Bumpy’s world. “If we were on 125th Street in Harlem, the traffic you’d hear would mostly come from older cars,” Ribicoff notes. “You’d also hear people talking and laughing, and their voices needed to be natural and ethnically correct. When we moved to a wealthier neighborhood, you might hear more trees and birds.”
The Goldcrest Post sound crew also included dialogue editor Branka Mrkic, ADR editor Marlena Grzaslewicz, Foley editor Eric Strausser, Foley mixer George A. Lara and Foley artist Marko Costanzo. Final mixing was performed by Chefalas and Ribicoff in 5.1 in the facility’s newly renovated Studio A.
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