/News 27.01.21


Soundfirm completed the grade, mix and VFX on the film adaptation of Jane Harper’s The Dry which helped Director Robert Connolly see his vision come to life.

The first conversation Robert and Soundfirm’s Sound Designer/Re-recording Mixer Chris Goodes had regarding sound for The Dry was to aurally distinguish the past and present: the past sequences are visually lush and green; the present is arid and burnt. They workshopped the past having lots of bird life, frogs and water, while the present would feature desolate winds, no birdlife and crunchy, dry footsteps.  

As the cut progressed, they did some temp audience mixes. This kept the creative dialogue open, providing a strong collaborative feel and ensuring that they were well prepared when they got to the final mix.

“Everyone from the production really enjoyed the process, and Robert really liked being able to walk between grade, VFX and the mix.”

Chris Goodes, Sound Designer/Re-recording Mixer, Soundfirm

As with all features, story threads were embellished or removed throughout the editing process. A particular theme was deleted many revisions before the final lock, but at the time of the final mix the removed theme coincidentally became a hot topic in the media. Robert came up with a simple and effective solution to re-insert it using two VFX shots and line of dialogue, all without changing the picture edit. Goodes explained that “inserting shots onto the picture timeline in the mix room enables us to drop-in shots without waiting for grade/online to supply us new reels. Creative decisions could be made faster as Robert was able to see the finished picture and sound almost instantly.”  

Eric Bana and Keir O’Donnell on the hunt for clues. Photo: Ben King

For the VFX, it was really important to maximise the effectiveness of each shot with Soundfirm’s goal to support the story as a whole. Getting involved early on allowed Soundfirm to guide Robert’s decisions so that he could allocate VFX time to exactly where he needed it.

“Working with the VFX team at Soundfirm allowed me to collaborate directly day-to-day on the critical elements of the film right up until delivery, with stunning results and in the hands-on creative way, that I enjoy.”

Robert Connolly, Director, The Dry

One of the shots Soundfirm’s VFX Supervisor Leath Mattner is most proud of is the hallway shot in the opening sequence: “As a father and husband, it packs a lot of punch and as an establishing shot for the film, it does a remarkable job at setting the tone and scale, and the work Soundfirm did on this particular shot really enhances that. It was a complex shot to complete and has a lot of layers which the audience will hopefully never notice.”

“It was a pleasure to work with Rob Connolly on The Dry. He had a very clear vision of what he wanted to achieve, was always open to our creative suggestions. Having him in the building for the whole post process meant that we could seek creative approval instantly.”

Leath Mattner, VFX Supervisor, Soundfirm
Eric Bana and Miranda Tapsell, The Dry. Photo: Ben King

“Working with Soundfirm on The Dry was a career post-production highlight! The commitment and support from the Soundfirm team in all aspects of post-production was phenomenal, from the management of rushes through to the final sound mix and delivery. “

Robert Connolly, Director

Made Up Stories’ Bruna Papandrea (The Undoing, Big Little Lies, Gone Girl), Jodi Matterson (Little Monsters) and Steve Hutensky (The Nightingale) produced The Dry, with Bana and Connolly serving as executive producers.

Made Up Stories has a very long history with Soundfirm built up over many years and many projects with Producer Jodi Matterson saying “very few people in Australia have the experience and expertise that Soundfirm’s founder, Roger Savage brings.   We love working with Roger and the world-class team he has assembled at Soundfirm both on the sound and picture side.   We look forward to many more exciting creative partnerships with them in the future.”

Soundfirm were able to quickly turn around a DCP to screen the final mix and grade to the producers and creative team. This meant they could judge the final mix against the final pictures in 4k. The Dry was also mixed in Dolby Atmos, a format that Robert was delighted to explore, with its unparalleled ability to immerse the audience, giving a much more dynamic experience compared to the standard 5.1 version.

Director Connolly is a huge Soundfirm fan adding “with their work driven at all times by technical and creative expertise at the highest level, I’m looking forward to working at Soundfirm again on my latest film.”

Find out more about: