Krotos Interview with Skywalker Sound Re-Recording Mixer Lora Hirschberg
Skywalker Sound re-recording mixer Lora Hirschberg has been in audio post-production since the early 90’s, and has won an Academy Award (Best Sound Mixing), as well as a BAFTA (Best Film Sound), both for her work on Christopher Nolan’s Inception.
Lora is credited for over 160 titles across a broad range of genres. Her filmography includes: Captain Marvel, the Jungle Book, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, the Dark Knight, Ice Age, Titanic, Lord of the Rings, and so many more.
To give Ultron his super-villain voice in Avengers – Age of Ultron, Lora enlisted the Krotos Dehumaniser plugin, which she went back to again to help her create alien static futzy transmission sounds in Captain Marvel. While working on the Lion King, she’s also exploring Reformer Pro to help add animalistic tones to the lion dialogue.
Find out more about Lora Hirschberg and hear her advice for those starting out in our full interview below.
Hi Lora, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Is it a busy time for you at the moment? What projects have you been working on recently?
This year I mixed Captain Marvel at Disney and am about to start Lion King at Sony.
We’re curious to find out a bit more about your background. How did you get started out in your field?
I studied music as a youngster and attended undergraduate film school at NYU. After graduating I worked in New York at a few post houses before relocating to San Francisco in 1989. There I started working at Francis Coppola’s Zoetrope Studios and then Skywalker Sound.
You’re using Reformer Pro and Dehumaniser 2 in your set-up, have you been able to incorporate either of them in your recent project work, and if so, how have they contributed to your workflow?
Dehumaniser is an incredible tool for creating unique and varied vocal sound design treatments. From animal to alien effects, it is simple to use and easily tailored. The batch function is a real time-saver for processing an entire performance efficiently. I couldn’t have created the voice of Ultron [Avengers: Age of Ultron] without it! I used a little of Dehumaniser on Captain Marvel to create some cool alien static futzy transmissions. And I will be using Reformer Pro on the Lion King to help add animalistic effects to the lion dialog.
Are there any particular Reformer Pro Libraries that you’ve found most useful?
The black panthers [in the Krotos Bundle 1] have been really cool!
Throughout your career so far, have there been any moments with new technologies emerging that have drastically changed how you work? And how do you see sound design technology evolving in the future?
Obviously cutting on Pro Tools changed our workflow dramatically and also opened up the possibility of cost effective quality sound editing and mixing for low budget and documentary films. I think the fundamentals of how we work have not changed though – listen, interpret, help tell the story, create and support drama – these are the fundamentals of my job. Sound design technology is becoming more personalized and I find that on every job I am evolving my own template and tools and building the workflow that works best for me. One size doesn’t have to fit all anymore!
And finally, do you have any advice to pass on to those starting out in the field?
I think it is important to not give up and also to expect failures and learn from them. Patience and persistence! Listen to lots of movies, especially those that don’t come from the traditional Hollywood sources – some of the best mixes you will hear come from places and cultures very different than the big blockbusters and you will learn a lot when you are surprised by a film.