The Sound of ‘Argo’: Oscar Nominee Erik Aadahl on the Importance of Location Sound

By  · Published on October 13th, 2012

Ben Affleck’s Argo is a good movie, very well-made and well-acted but not really a stand-out picture on any level. It may not seem like it, but that’s a positive response. This is a story that should be told without extraordinary elements, like powerful performances and flashy scenes. Appropriately, it’s a film that doesn’t draw too much attention to itself and just does a job as expertly as it takes to carry us through successfully.

While not exactly a piece of neorealism, there is a certain amount of realism required for a true account like this, and among the understated yet accomplished displays of craftsmanship with Argo (including the production design, costumes and especially the editing) is the sound recording and design work.

In an interview illustrated with behind-the-scenes footage, the film’s sound designer and supervising sound editor, Erik Aadahl (an Oscar nominee this year for Transformers: Dark of the Moon) tells SoundWorks Collection about the strategy of recording crowds, cars and other relevant street noise directly from their on-location (or on-set) sources in order to achieve as realistic a sound design as possible.

It’s a short but interesting video for those of you who’ve seen and were impressed with the technical quality of the movie. Watch it after the break.

SoundWorks Collection: The Sound of ARGO from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.