Culver City, CA (July 275, 2017)—Creating the aural landscape for the new film Baby Driver presented unique challenges for the film’s sound team led by Julian Slater.
Baby Driver, from writer/director Edgar Wright, centers on a young getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort) who suffers from tinnitus, a medical condition that causes him to hear a constant ringing in his ears. He copes with the problem by listening to music at high volume through earbuds. Slater and his crew produced hundreds of customized sound effects and carefully choreographed each one to fit perfectly with the action on screen and the groove flowing into Baby’s ears.
“The whole movie is orchestrated to whatever Baby is listening to at the moment,” said Slater, who acted as sound designer, supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer. He did the sound work at Goldcrest Films in London and was assisted by, among others, sound effects editors Jeremy Price and Martin Cantwell and dialogue/ADR supervisor Dan Morgan.
“Gunfights are in time with the music. Car chases are cut in sync. Police sirens, barking dogs, speeding trains are at tempo. Much of it is pitched and syncopated so that the music and sound design work as one.”
The novel sound concept is introduced in the film’s opening moments. “The first thing you see is the studio logo,” Slater said. “The sound from it transforms into a tinnitus ringing, which in turn becomes the braking sound of a car. It is in the same key as the first music cue (“Bellbottoms” by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion), so it all flows.”
The result is an unusual film soundtrack. “The credit goes to Edgar Wright,” Slater said. “He had been developing this idea for years and he constructed the template that we followed. I’m extremely lucky to work with a filmmaker like Edgar who is committed to projects that are both bold and original.”
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)