Even Fellow Directors Complain to Nolan About his Sound

Have you ever wondered why you can't hear some things in a Nolan movie? You are not the only one.

Christopher Nolan worked on his sound design for a while. I feel like the conversation has really increased with the release of Interstellar, which had snippets of conversation drowned out by the music and the roar of the engines.

Nolan has already defended these decisions in interviews, but now also in print.

Tom Shone's new book The Nolan Variations reveals a side of Nolan we never expected. He's actually surprised at moviegoers and their conservative views on sound.

"We have a lot of complaints," said Nolan of Interstellar's sound design. “I actually got calls from other filmmakers who said, 'I just saw your film and the dialogue is inaudible. & # 39; Some people thought the music might be too loud, but the truth was it was sort of a whole enchilada like the one we had chosen to mix it up with. "

I wonder who called him?

I'm all for honest criticism, but I can't imagine letting him know these details. Maybe they just thought it was being misprojected.

Even so, Nolan admits that he uses sounds outside the norm.

"It was a very, very radical mix," said the director. “I was a little shocked to see how conservative people are when it comes to sound. Since you can make a movie that looks like anything you can record on your iPhone, no one will complain. But when you mix the sound in a certain way, or use certain subfrequencies, people hug. "

Nolan added, "There's a wonderful sense of scalability" that can come from experimenting with sound design and "a wonderful sense of physicality to sound that we've pushed further on Interstellar than I think anyone ever will did. "

"A lot of it was the music that Hans [Zimmer] had that organ in, and he used the absolute lowest note that your chest would literally drop," Nolan said. “There are certain low-end frequencies that the software automatically filters out. He's taken off all of these controls, so there are all of these underfrequencies there. And we did the same thing on the dub stage. It's pretty fascinating Sound mix. If you see it in a projected IMAX theater in particular, it's quite remarkable. "

I think this continues Nolan's tradition that people should see his work in the theaters. I think the main problem is that there is nothing you can do to make things clearer if you want to revisit it at home … unless you can afford Dolby Digital Surround Sound.

I saw Tenet at the drive-in and I'll admit I think I lost a lot of the movie because I lost a lot of my Ford Focus speakers.

Let us know what you think of Nolan's sound in the comments!


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