Many composers and sound designers do work across multiple industries – games, film, TV, radio, etc. Even though I work solely in the games industry, it’s important to keep up on what’s going on in all of those industries. Innovation on any front can be applied in different media.

With that being said, here is a video from a series called the Soundworks Collection. They give an inside look at Music Production and Sound Design in the film industry. This video focuses on the new Muppets movie, with Jason Segel and Amy Adams, with music by Bret McKenzie:

I love getting an inside look at what other people are doing, especially for something like this with such an amazingly huge scale.

Some notable points for those of you who aren’t going to spend 9 minutes watching it:

– Most of the music is running 230+ simultaneous audio tracks. This is an incredibly huge scale. When you take into account how many actors, voices, the scale of foley and the big band arrangements, it’s no surprise at all!

– The director, James Bobin (who also directed and co-wrote for Flight of the Conchords) made a great statement about audio. To paraphrase, he said it’s like framing a shot. You don’t use it to make the joke, but it’s just there as an observer. I love that! The very best audio work is so good that you don’t even notice it – it’s natural and it’s just another element that makes you feel a part of the experience.

– The Muppets’ voices were arranged in ADR, not live-on-stage. That means most of the voices you hear were recorded after the fact and meticulously lined up during the post-production phase.

– 7.1 audio is still a very new format, and not many movies actually use it. The audio director for this movie was debating whether to go 5.1 or 7.1, and after hearing a 7.1 demo of the opening scene there was no question. I haven’t had the pleasure of working in 7.1 yet, but this makes me very excited to try it!

Bret McKenzie is awesome. You’ll probably remember him as FIGWIT from LOTR, or the beardy guy from Flight of the Conchords.

The Muppets is one of my favourite movies of this year, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you should check it out! It’s stacked full of nostalgia and both old and new jokes. It’s not just for kids, I promise.

The SoundWorks collection is featured at I’m sure I’ll be talking about them again here soon.