Authentic and Surreal: Sounds of Lincoln & Skyfall

Two of most well-received major releases this year, Lincoln and Skyfall are not only being applauded for creating visually arresting stories, but also creative soundscapes. Lincoln’s sound designer, Ben Burtt worked tirelessly to capture authentic sounds such as old doors opening and shutting to further transition the audience to another time and place. Fitting with the lived-in quality adapted by Kaminski’s lens and Day-Lewis’ immersion into the titular character, the sounds are understated but ever-present.

You might expect a detailed sonic world from Burtt and Spielberg, but Skyfall’s sound stands out precisely because of how different it is from other action movies. As the sound designers emphasize, Sam Mendes surprised everyone by professing that added sounds are just as important as those that are left out. The result is a textured aural base that allows for dynamic pacing in support of the picture. Thinking about sound placement is something that the cacophonous mash-up of Transformers movies could learn something from.

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