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Sony Drills Down into Spider-Verse Sound

The audio team on the current animated hit used top equipment, Sony Pictures’ mix facility and a hand drill when working on the film.

Culver City, CA (January 4, 2019)—Sound production for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the hit animated feature film currently in theaters, was completed on the Sony Pictures studio lot in Culver City.

The new film centers on Brooklyn teen Miles Morales who, after being bitten by a radioactive spider, develops super powers. Things become stranger still when a portal to other universes opens and alternate versions of Spider-Man enter his world.

Sound for Film Takes Center Stage

The film, from Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animations, recently received a Golden Globe nomination, a New York Film Critics Circle win for best animated feature and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association win for best animation.

Heading the audio post project were supervising sound editors Geoffrey G. Rubay and Curt Schulkey and re-recording mixers Michael Semanick and Tony Lamberti. The veteran crew also included sound designer John Pospisil; Foley supervisor Alec G. Rubay; sound effects editors Kip Smedley, Andy Sisul, David Werntz, Christopher Aud, Ando Johnson, Benjamin Cook, Mike Reagan and Donald Flick; Foley artists Gary Hecker, Michael Broomberg and Rick Owens; and Foley mixer Randy Singer.

Final mixing was done at the Kim Novak Theater on the Sony Pictures studio lot. Working natively in Dolby Atmos, Lamberti mixed sound effects on an Avid S6 console, while Semanick mixed dialogue and music on a Harrison MPC4D X-Range digital console.

The sound crew used environmental and ambient elements rooted in the real world to make the outsized visuals seem more familiar. “The film has an incredibly fresh and stylized look that is fantastic, and we often follow along with that, but, at times, we play against it,” explains Geoffrey Rubay. “One thing that [co-director] Phil Lord was insistent on was keeping it grounded, so we used realistic sounds to suggest to the audience that what they are seeing is happening in a real place.”

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The film is filled with action scenes. One involves a massive super-collider, located below the streets of Brooklyn, with powerful energy beams that open the portal to the multiverse.

“We used every trick in the book to create the sound of the collider,” says Rubay. “We repurposed recordings of mechanical things, winding things, electrical charges and computer monitors. We made new recordings using microphones that pick up electromagnetic fields and translate them into sound. We used a hand-drill to create the sound of force waves winding up.”

Sony Pictures Entertainment •