These days, there’s no better way to keep friends and colleagues in the loop than to blog about life, work or a combo of the two, which is exactly what BAM Studios (Chicago) is doing with its blog, “BAM Studios News.” Sound designer Dave Leffel talks about a few of the recent projects that BAM has blogged about.
First off, Leffel says BAM has been involved in quite a lot of ADR work lately. He notes Baz Luhrmann’s new film “Australia” and a Chevy campaign featuring Ozzie Guillen and Lou Pinella – the Chicago White Sox and Cubs coaches – performing a South Side/North Side rap.
“[Guillen and Pinella] had rapped on a stage with just a basic beat, and [the track was given] to an actual rap artist to redo the track, and he didn’t do anything!” explains Leffel. “So they called us, and [BAM sound designer] Brian Reed was asked to totally do a brand-new composition and compose a rap track in the proper tempo and make the thing work, and they got gangbusters PR on the [spot]. It was all over the place.”
Brian Reed also completed a remix for the recently released documentary “America the Beautiful.” The original mix was done in New York, but for undisclosed reasons the producers needed a few scenes revised about a week before the release date, according to Leffel.
“There were only going to be about three scenes that they wanted to revise,” he says. “We were given the mix, but then we were also given new elements for these three scenes, and they wanted it remixed in one day. It turned out to be almost over 20 scenes in the film that were remixed here, and then it went out on the air. So it was incredibly quick turnaround for us, and even some of the people that do this kind of work were very shocked that we were able to do it that quickly.”
Another documentary project that BAM worked on is called “The Providence Effect», which is about local inner-city private school Providence-St. Mel, which has an unbelievable 100 percent graduation and college acceptance rate amongst its high school seniors – for the past 30 consecutive years! Leffel says that was about an 80-hour project.
On a final and sad note, Leffel says BAM Studios worked with the late comedian Bernie Mac on what presumably his last job. “We recorded him on two occasions for ‘Madagascar 2,’” says Leffel. “He was videotaped here so [the animators] could animate to his facial movements. It was a pretty big session – all the video cameras on him, dual miking and some pretty intense ADR, just with the directors and stuff here.”
Although Leffel didn’t actually work on the job, he says everything for that project went smoothly. “We had to hire an outside video person to run [the video gear], but when you do sound for something like ‘Toy Story,’ like Brian did years ago, any animated stuff [requires the talent to be videotaped as well], so it just gets a little more involved. And it’s pretty fun to do, obviously, with somebody like Bernie Mac.”