The creators of ‘Free Solo’, who won the Oscar for Best Documentary in Academy Awards, chose Loudness Films for sound effects to work, due to the “wonderful talent” they discovered in Portugal, director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.
“The audio is as important as the incredible picture we had, that’s what we believe in,” she said in the backstage interviews with the Oscars winners.
Loudness Films, based in Lisbon, was responsible for the foley work of the documentary, which creates the sounds impossible to capture on the film, through the foley mixer Joana Niza Braga and foley artist Nuno Bento.
According to Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, the choice came because of the sound editing supervisor, Deborah Wallach, with whom the director has worked on the past six films. It was she who “found this wonderful talent in Portugal“, said the filmmaker.
In Free Solo, Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi accompany American climber Alex Honnold on the 900-foot-high climb of the El Capitan granite wall in California without any ropes or guards.
“It’s with the sound that was transported there,” Vasarhelyi said. “We understood that and we also had a great production mixer that got a microphone on Alex.”
The filmmaker spoke of the difficulties of capturing sound in such a risky situation with little equipment and its importance for the final result, underlining the impact of recording “the way Alexa breathes” and “the sound of the most discreet movements.”
In the wings of the ceremony, co-director Jimmy Chin mentioned the risky nature of filming and said he could not see the climber during the climb.
“We carried the weight of the whole production to be perfect because if we made some mistake it could have been catastrophic,” the director shared.
Evan Hayes, who co-produced the documentary, added that Alex Honnold “deserves a lot of credit” for the film and for winning the Academy awards.
‘Free Solo’ was produced by National Geographic and premiered in September 2018.